My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a mini getaway sans kids last weekend. We had four carefree days and three blissfully uninterrupted nights at a mountain resort in Montana. Going into the trip I just hoped to have some time to connect with my husband and get a breather from the kids but I actually ended up coming home with that and more. (And no I’m not talking about the shopping).
It always surprises me when I hear of parents that never leave their children. Their kids are school-aged or older and they’ve never gotten away even for a night with their spouse. Some may even call me selfish or a bad mom for the amount of time I DO spend apart from my children, but for me, my little getaways are more than just a little rendezvous to pretend I’m young and child free. These little vacations are a necessity for my sanity as well as for the health of my husband and children! 🙂 I know many parents feel the guilt factor of leaving their kids. It definitely doesn’t help when the little ones are scream crying for you not to go. But I know in my heart it’s going to be better for me AND for my kids if I do, and I think it makes me a better mom.
As stated in my last blog post, the week before I left on my little vacay was a tough one for me. Sometimes as a parent, it’s hard to see the big picture when you’re stuck with the same mundane tasks week after week. But go on a little vacation and you’ll come back with a fresh outlook and new appreciation for those little rug rats that drive you up the wall.
My husband and I spent our four day getaway pretty much just doing what we wanted. During the days we would explore and the evenings we would eat (and EAT) and then head to the giant outdoor extremely hot, hot tub where we would drink wine straight out of the single serving plastic bottles they came in and then laugh about how classy we were. We hiked, shopped, chatted, laughed, and just had a good time reconnecting as a couple instead of just discussing the every day details of what needed to be done for/with the kids. Did we miss the kids? Of course we did! But if you don’t keep up that connection as a couple, what will there be to talk about when the kids are grown up and moved out?
I also had the opportunity to spend some alone time while we were there. My husband skis, and I definitely do not. I’m a super big wimp and am too afraid of falling to actually even let myself go faster than a snail’s pace. Although I love the idea of skiing with my husband, I decided years ago that since I will never actually reach his level of skiing and I don’t particularly enjoy it, it will be more fun for him to go by himself or with friends and more fun for me to just hit the spa. So that’s what I did! He left in the morning for skiing and I leisurely got up, went to the gym and had a great run, had a nice long soak in the hot tub and then went for a hot stone massage. ahhhhhhhhhhh. Now having all this alone time really gave me a chance to actually THINK. No interruptions, no, “Mommy, I’m hungry”, no “Mommy, he hit me!!!”, no “Mommy, I have to go poooooooooooooo”. Just me and my thoughts. Of course my thoughts did turn to my kids and how much I missed them and how adorable they are, and how they really are fantastic kids. And the one that I couldn’t get past was how fast they really are growing up and that I need to enjoy them NOW! Yes, they can be frustrating, yes, the tasks can be mundane, yes, sometimes I’m sleep deprived, but I kinda knew it came with the territory when I signed up for this, right? And by focusing on the negative is it going to make these tasks any easier? Probably not, it’s just going to make me start resenting my job as a mom and that is the last thing that I want to happen. I don’t want to miss one second I have with my kids by focusing on the “hardship” of parenthood instead of focusing on the joy that they bring, the love that they give and just the amazing little people that they are.
Before we left for vacation I also had my panties in a twist about a few other issues going on in our lives. I felt as though my needs/wants were being pushed aside without a thought and was slightly aggravated by the situation. Well during my alone time I also had time to stew over that whole scenario. And then in anger I decided to look at it from the other person’s perspective, because really…what were they thinking? And you know what? I was kind of surprised with what I saw. It’s amazing how your perspective can change very quickly once you take a look at it from someone else’s. That was a tough one for me, but I knew there would have to be some changes on my part when I got home.
This is why I find it so important to get away. When you are in the middle of the busyness of everyday life it’s hard to even get a chance to go pee by yourself let alone get enough quiet time to actually get that break you need to clear your head, refresh, recharge and get ready to take on the next challenges that are thrown at you. But everyone needs a break sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad mom. It makes you human. And guess what? My kids had so much fun with their Auntie, Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa that they definitely didn’t feel it was a hardship to be left behind. They had their own little mini vacay away from Mommy’s rules. They got extra treats, stayed up late and got to go on little dates with some of their favorite people. So there is no reason to feel guilty about that. And when they came back they had a happier, more refreshed mommy who was ready to give them extra cuddles and kisses and give them the attention they really deserve.
Now I realize that my husband and I are extra fortunate to have a few different relatives that are willing to watch our little monkeys while we take off for these little getaways and that is not the case for everyone. But even if you can get a babysitter for one night, or a few hours every other week. Or perhaps consider doing a swap with one of your friends! You watch their kids for the weekend and they take your kids for another weekend. However you work it, I just find it very important to get away.
I came home with a spring in my step, a deeper love for my husband and an even stronger marriage, a new outlook on life as a mom, a greater appreciation for my children and a fresh perspective on family in general. Don’t you think that finding a way to have some time to yourself is worth all that? I sure do!