If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m in love with my family. I am all about spending as much time as possible with them. So it might sound a little strange when I say that you should take a vacation without kids every year.
Obviously, I love the idea of an annual family vacation (family cruise vacations just happen to be my favorite). But I think it’s also really important that you take a mini-vacation without your kids. Every year.
It doesn’t have to be something expensive or fancy, or really far away. Although it certainly can be! It just needs to be a little extended trip that gives you enough time and space to be a couple again, without the fear you’ll be called back to the kids at any moment.
Date night is great, but it isn’t enough.
Date nights are important for a relationship, but they aren’t really enough. A couple hours at a movie, dinner, or apple picking are great. They’re nice little breaks from the day-to-day chaos of life and allow you to reconnect as a couple. But you have to go back to life pretty quickly, so they don’t really allow you to fully relax and let your guard down.
No matter how relaxed you are or how much you’re enjoying yourself, you know that you could get a call at any minute. And your mind can’t help but wander to things like, “Are they eating dinner well?” and “Will they go to sleep okay for the babysitter?”
On a vacation, you get to be a little more removed from normal life. Chances are you’ve left the kids with someone you really know and trust, like a grandparent, as opposed to a babysitter. So you’ll feel much more secure.
You’re also aware that if you’re a little further away, you won’t be called for something little because you can’t come home right away anyway. That’s not necessarily the case when you’re having dinner just down the road.
It doesn’t have to be anything super special. Even just going to another town and staying in a hotel for a night and taking the day for yourselves is enough. Kind of like an extended date night. You won’t be away from the kids for so long that all you do is think about them. But it’s long enough, and far enough, that you can really relax.
The benefits of taking a vacation without kids.
Oh where to start! There are so many benefits to taking a vacation without the kids. Here are my top 5 reasons.
1. You. Get. To. SLEEP. Without guilt.
Kids wake up at the crack of dawn. In my case, 2 hours before the crack of dawn. I’m a night owl by nature, but having my son has sure changed my nature. Now, sleeping in until 8am at home makes me anxious. On the rare, rare, RARE occasion that it happens, I feel guilty. Like I’ve lost too much daytime.
Seriously? The sun rose like an hour before that. I lost nothing. But I’m so used to getting 10 things done before the sun is even up that 8am just makes me feel lazy. I can’t help but think of all the things I could’ve been doing.
But when I’m at a hotel? That feeling goes away. Not only do I get to sleep until 8, or NINE EVEN, but I don’t feel guilty one bit. That, my friends, is lovely.
2. Eat whatever you want for multiple days.
Okay, so I don’t actually mean eat whatever you want. What I really mean is, decide together the adult food you want to eat. You know, that stuff you can never eat at home because the kids will refuse to eat it.
My son is actually pretty good about eating all kinds of different foods, including those not typically enjoyed by 4 year olds. Even he can be really fussy sometimes. It’s so nice to pick whatever you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, without having to worry about the picky tastes of children.
3. Engage in more in depth conversation with your spouse.
A date night is great for conversation. A long weekend, however, allows you to converse about so many more topics. You also have the added benefit of being able to discuss them as long as you want. There are no interruptions since you don’t have to pause the conversation to put kids to bed or feed them or bathe them.
It really enhances the connection between you and your partner to be able to just keep talking. The way you used to before you limited your conversations to a few hours on date night. Or being interrupted every 5 minutes by a kid asking, “What’d you say?” from the backseat of the car.
4. Enjoy an adult only, not kid friendly activity.
When you go on vacation with your family, you’re limited to doing family things. For the most part, I’m all for that. When you go on a vacation without kids, however, you can do activities you normally can’t with them.
Our favorite mini vacation is to go to our favorite casino a few hours away. We stay the night, enjoy some other stuff in town, and spend some time playing slots. What non-kid friendly activity do you miss? Do that on your vacation!
5. Enjoy a slower, less chaotic pace.
No matter what kind of family vacation you take, it’s always one speed. That speed is chaos. Someone is always hungry. Someone is always tired and cranky. There is always a need to find a restroom RIGHT NOW.
When you take a vacation without kids, you are free to drop the chaos. There are only two of you. That simplifies things right there. Only two tummies to be hungry and two brains to be cranky and tired.
You also both have fully functioning bladder control, so urgency in that regard becomes a non-issue.
You also don’t have to worry about anyone saying their bored. My son is only 4 and if I figure out who taught him the word “bored” I’m going to kick them. Kids seem to be able to be bored anywhere.
Are you convinced you need to take a vacation without kids?
A vacation without your kids is lovely. But a great added bonus I didn’t even list is that by the time you have to go back to them, you’re so ready to.
Being without the kids for a couple days isn’t just great for you and your relationship with your spouse. It’s also really great for your relationship with your kids. No matter how much they normally drive you crazy and make you need that break, you can’t wait to get back to them when the trip is over.
If you’re up for it, turn it into a full on week long vacation instead of a weekend getaway. As long as you still vacation with them too, your kids will be okay for one week.
Find a couple of days, just two or three, and plan a getaway with your spouse. Enlist grandparents to watch them for a weekend. You’ll return refreshed, revived, and ready to be the best parent, and spouse, you can be.