Last winter when it was -20°F and we were suffering from cabin fever, Steve and I booked a trip to Mexico. Sans kids. I had mixed feelings. I was excited to have something (warm!) to look forward to, but I couldn’t help feeling a little anxious about how it was all going to play out. Disrupting a family’s routine is no joke. Who will watch the kids? Who will get the boys on and off the bus? Who will supervise homework? Who will feed and check in on Cheetah? Who will make sure Mabrey gets to gymnastics and Everett gets to his tennis lesson? And, crap!, I need a passport! The logistics alone had my mind reeling.
Everett’s accident happened a few weeks before we were scheduled fly out. That only compounded my anxiety. How could I possibly leave my kids after something like that? The timing was all wrong. But Steve was quick to point out that Everett was fine. His wounds were healing and he would be back to school. Plus, the vacation was already paid in full, non-refundable. My bonus mom was practically shooing me off to Mexico, stepping in to take care of the kids. “Go! Have fun!”
The day before we left was insane. It was almost enough to make me want to call off the entire thing. Typed schedules, lists, laundry, packed bags and backpacks, a birthday present for Layne’s best friend, drop-offs, goodbyes, lots of hugs and “Oh! One more thing…” And that was before I even started packing for myself.
But you know what? It was all worth it. In fact, it turns out the timing was perfect. It was just what we needed, although it took me a day or two to completely relax. At home, I don’t sit down until after the kids are in bed for the night. Lounging doesn’t come naturally. But by the end of the week I had it mastered. (Piña coladas helped.) And guess what? The kids were fine. They even missed me which doesn’t happen all that often since I quit my day job.
For so long, I’ve felt that vacations without kids aren’t worth the hassle / chaotic preparation / expense. I’ve even considered them a sign of weakness. Shame on me! I’m slowly realizing that’s just the mom guilt talking. It’s
okay necessary to take a break – whether it’s an hour or a week. Sometimes I need to step out of my everyday roles as chauffeur, parent, booger wiper, toilet cleaner, etc. to be just me with the guy I married. I don’t want to be one of those couples who don’t know each other when their nest empties. So I’ve started thinking of these chunks of time alone as investments. They’re investments in our sanity, our relationship, our family, our future. And we’re vowing to make them happen more often. Looking at things from this perspective really diminishes the guilt for me.
What about you? How do you view adults-only vacations? Luxuries? Necessities? Investments? Do you vacation without kids?
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking