Brian and I love to travel and I think it has helped our marriage a ton. Here are my top 10 reasons to vacation without the kids. Yes, without the kids.
I think I am writing this post tonight because it is winter and I am dreaming of a trip to the beach. I think it is these dreary Pennsylvania days and nights. This lack of sun in my life makes me dream of warm sand and cocktails by the beach! Or, maybe it's because I keep on looking at photo books full of beach pictures and I want to go back.
When our 7 year-old, Madilyn, was younger, my hubby, Brian, and I NEVER left her with anyone for more than a few hours. We were new parents and totally paranoid that something could go terribly wrong - like Madilyn would never sleep without us or not eat or something. Things are totally different with Juliana, our 4 year-old. We are more relaxed and, I'll admit it, more desperate for adult time! So, we go away. We actually do it pretty often and I think our marriage is strong because of it.
Granted, we have two sets of grandparents that are ready and willing to babysit. I know, we are SO blessed. I don't take that for granted. If we didn't have free babysitters, I am sure trips away would not happen as often. Parents and in-laws, thank you. Thank you SO much.
Here are my top 10 reasons to vacation without the kids:
1. Grandparents love your kids like their own. Nope, they love them even more. Brian and I are so blessed to have two sets of parents that line up to take our kids out of our hair for a few hours or even for a few days. They all really want to be involved in our girls' lives. We have learned to welcome the help when we need it. I used to think that I should do it all, even when family and friends were offering help. Nope, not anymore. I say 'Sure!" now whenever I can. We now know that the girls will be just fine if we go away. They will be able to do different things - like use markers in the living room and eat cookies before bed.
2. You and your hubby get to have real conversations - real time together. No one is spilling their milk all over the floor or putting sticky fingers on your sliding glass doors. No one is crying in public. Well, no one that you have to deal with! You and your hubby get to go out to dinner and talk without interruption. You get the opportunity to focus on your relationship, laugh and just have fun together. You remember why you got married in the first place. At home, when the kids are fighting, there are 4 loads of laundry dumped on the couch needing to be folded and the dog just threw up on the carpet, needless to say, it can be difficult to be romantic. Getting away gives you the opportunity to enjoy one another.
3. You get the opportunity to miss your kids. As a work at home mama, I am with my kiddos ALOT. Don't get me wrong, I love it and it is the path that my hubby and I chose. However, I never really get the chance to really miss them - to remember their smells, their hugs, their sweet voices. Being away from them lets me miss them and I think it makes me appreciate them even more. When I get home, I get to see them run to me with huge smiles on their faces!
4. You become you again - for a few days - and it feels darn good. You sleep in. You wake up when you want to. You use the bathroom by yourself. You go to the gym. You read a book for fun! You wear clothes other than sweats with stains on them. You get to wear grown-up clothes and high heels and you only have to pack for yourself - your hubby can pack his own stuff, right? I love it when Brian and I go away for a long weekend and I pack light (I love to use my Vera Bradley duffle bag). It is so liberating to not have to pack diapers! I love to fill my bag with my neck pillow and my travel blanket, a few magazines and trail mix and relax. If we are flying, one of our favorite gadgets is a handheld luggage scale which allows you to weight your bags before you even get to the airport. This prevents those embarrassing moments of having to open your bags in front of the ticket line while taking out your toiletries and bras! (Yes, I have been there). Brian also swears by his Bose noise canceling headphones when we fly. I usually nap! If it is in the budget, Brian and I will schedule a couple's massage wherever we go. We will eat at cheaper restaurants to get that massage in!
5. You get the chance to see them running to you saying, "Mommy, I missed you!" The best part about leaving? Coming home. I also miss my kitchen and I miss cooking. I know, I am crazy.
6. Your kids get the chance to spend time with others. I think it is always good for my girls to be around grandparents for a few days without Brian and I. The kids need to have their own relationships and memories with them.
7. You get to experience new places and step away from the monotonous routine. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of a routine when you are doing the same thing day in and day out. I think that one of the biggest challenges being a stay at home mama is feeling like I am not learning new things. When I used to work outside of the home, I would have to learn new things at work all the time. Getting away lends to learning new things, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. I love that.
8. Sleep. Sleep. More sleep. Sleep makes everything better, right? Enough said.
9. You don't have to clean. For me, this is huge. Now, when we get home, there is probably going to be 20 loads of laundry that needs to be done, but who cares. It's worth it. For a week, I don't have to do anyone's laundry, I don't have to wash dishes, and I don't have to bathe kiddos. For a few days, this is complete heaven. I actually miss doing these things by the end of the trip and look forward to doing them when we get home.
10. Your kids get to see you make your marriage a priority. This is huge for Brian and I. We want our girls to see that we put each other first - even above them. Don't get me wrong, we LOVE our kids. However, if we don't work on our marriage, our household would totally change. Plus, we want our girls to see a healthy relationship so someday, when they date (I think I just had a heart attack!), they will know a healthy relationship.
So, make this year the year you take a vacation without your kids.
Will you miss them? Of course.
Will they miss you? Sure, but they will be more than fine.
Do it for your marriage. Do it for yourself. You deserve it.
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