Vacationing with children can be joyous, great for bonding and creating memories, but it's never truly relaxing. It's exhausting. The week preceding an out-of-town trip is torture, trying to cram packing, rescheduling and extra work, into your daily routine. The vacation itself centers around kid-friendly activities, some of which inevitably involve long lines, crankiness and all out spaz fits.
You come back looking forward to the work week where you find rest. For me? My office is at home....that is for another blog.
It is natural to have bad feelings when you leave your kid(s) for a break, feelings like: Guilt. Fear. Loneliness. If you work and leave your children to do so during the week, it's harder to justify leaving them when you want to relax, as well. A separation by choice — not one caused by the necessity of work — seems selfish. Some parents might think, "How could I enjoy a vacation when I would spend most of my time worrying about them?"
In the six years of marriage before children, we loved traveling together and did so often. Apparently, we were once able to entertain ourselves without the kids. Maybe we needed to rediscover this skill. Tracy and I read different books on parenting and experts say adult-only travel is crucial for grown-up bonding. In the endless errands and task-driven activities of daily life, it's too easy to neglect our most intimate relationship. Once in a while, parents need a time-out to reconnect. Allegedly, we will be happier when we return, rested and recharged. Perhaps, being more relaxed makes us more open to remembering what made our relationship feel complete even before we became parents. It's healthy for children to see parents prioritize their marriage, as well.
Once this idea of a childless vacation took hold, you begin to dreaming about that upcoming trip:
1. We will not eat in a restaurant that serves chicken nugget.
2. I can read my Kindle without James taking away Emma's toy causing an over dramatic meltdown.
3. Tracy and I can high five each other when we pass by another couple who's kids are going crazy in the mall.
4. If it is a "for us" vacation/trip we will not buy anything for the kids.
5. SLEEPING IN!
I know so far this all sounds cold, but our children have taken many trips with us to several cities most of which have child-friendly attractions. But why do kids always set our travel agendas so often? We deserve a turn.
So next week Tracy and I are going to Minneapolis for a half of week get away. I also surprised Tracy two weeks ago that in December of 2011 we are going on our second cruise with Royal Caribbean. In between there will be a trip to Cornerstone Festival where I am a seminar speaker.
Tracy and I know these trips take some juggling of schedules to make this happen. Typically husbands are more hip the idea of a childless vacation but I think both spouses understand the importance of these trips.
James and Emma honestly don't mind in the least that we go. When we go on vacation, it means the kids can spend a few days with their grandparents, who love them and likewise. When visiting family and playing with their Nama and Papa and occasionally aunt and uncle, they barely notice we are gone.
If you are a smart phone user like I am...you instantly have a great connection for those times you do miss your kids while you are away. Skype makes an app for your smart phone or you can download the program to your computer for free! This is a great way to say goodnight to your kids. You can see them and if whoever they are staying with has a computer with web-cam, they can see you as well! If you don't have a computer then a simple phone call to say "goodnight" is a great way to end the day (end the day for them...for you it is just getting started *wink*).
Long story short, I have discovered that when I leave my kids for a weekend or a week, when I see them again my love is so much stronger then it was before and my love was already strong. So where are you going on vacation?