Good parents leave their children behind.
How does that sit with you?
Whether it be for a night, a long weekend, or for an entire week, good parents leave their children behind. They do it regularly. They do it with confidence. Good parents leave their children behind knowing that everything will be okay while they are gone, and even better when they get back. Good parents work to find a way, and make it happen.
Or at least they try their very best.
These getaways don’t have to be extravagant. I was pretty dang lucky when I first realized how important this whole “no kids” time was. After living thousands of miles from family for years, we moved and were only 15 minutes from the nearest grandma. My husband and I had OVERNIGHT date nights about once a month! INCREDIBLE!
Life has changed a little since then, but these things still happen. They can happen for you too. Maybe you can send the kids out to friends’ houses and just go out for a nice dinner and stay in bed late the next morning. (Notice that means the kids are away from you overnight…a key piece of the plan.) Head out to a nearby B&B or off season vacation spot for the weekend. Plan a big trip and stay away for a week! Any of these are are going to do so much for you.
Are you all looking at me like I’m crazy now? I know there are probably at least 26 reasons as to why this will not work for you -and some of them are good. We have struggled with schedules, finances, and childcare too and we figured it out. There are always challenges when making a plan. Even if it seems impossible, even if you are terrified to be away, you really should try.
You should try because you and your partner will remember why it is you even started on this crazy journey. With hectic schedules, mixed up meal times, and the general chaos that comes with a family, it can be easy to lose sight of what it is you actually LIKE about your significant other. What made you two set out to take on the world together? How did you talk to each other before kids were there to interrupt every other word? What did you do when there was no one to put to bed, to remind of homework, and no toys to put away? What made you fall in love? Having time, REAL time, to get back to some of these feelings can be a powerful thing. Sure, it’s something you should work on in your everyday life, but man, it’s hard to really take time for all that. If you have at least 24 hours away from your kids, that time becomes a reality.
Besides, one day, that’s going to be your “normal” again.
Moms, if you can get away, you will realize that life can happen without you. This can be a tough lesson, and an important one. No, it won’t happen just like you do it. Yes, things will be different.
And that’s okay.
That was the absolute hardest thing for me. The first time I left our oldest son, I left three handwritten pages (front and back) of directions. He was 9 months old, and we were only going to be gone for 6 hours. The more I left him, the more I realized my directions were ridiculous. Recently my husband and I were in Vegas for almost a week, and I left a few scraps of paper with notes here and there. Your kids will be okay while you’re gone. They won’t miss you nearly as much as you will miss them. Whoever you leave in charge will do just fine.
Time away can teach you so much. So often as mothers we get lost in the routines of care giving and motherhood. As fulfilling and wonderful as they are, they are not ALL of you. If you make this time happen, you will remember who YOU are. You will remember that you are not just a mom. Time away from your children will be rejuvenating and it will remind you that you are a woman, a friend, and a wife. You will remember that sometimes, putting yourself first is the most important thing. You will realize that you deserve it.
You will remember that you can read. You can read real books; books with lots of words, and no pictures.
I know I make it sound so easy here. “Just call up a bestie or the grandparents and ask for a little alone time. Pack your bag. Hit the road.” I know it’s not that easy. The mommy guilt alone is enough to stop you in your tracks! I agonized over the first time I left my oldest son. Even years later, when we took our first big trip without the kids, I had to work hard to relax and get out of the house. There is nothing to feel guilty about. You can still make time for family adventures, in fact, I highly recommend that you do! Those trips just serve a much different purpose.
Trust me. I understand the challenges. I also understand the rewards. I might have to work hard to mellow out before our trips, but I’ll tell you one thing, when I take that mommy hat off, it feels so damn good.