I am surprised by the people who think it isn’t right for parents to leave their kids behind with their grandparents while their parents go on a vacation together. People are of the belief that once you have kids, you shouldn’t do anything away from your children, or at least don’t do anything big without them. But is that right?
We just went away on a 1 week vacation to Panama. It felt awkward for me to be away from my kids as we do pretty much everything with them, but we felt we needed some alone time as a couple. We had so much life change that has happened in our family in the last 2-5 years that we needed to take a timeout, create a vision for our family and then re-enter reality again. Because we knew we were going on a vacation without our kids, we wanted to make sure we did something that they wouldn’t necessarily want to do. A boring vacation for kids. That meant Disneyland was out, but that’s ok because we took them for a day at Disney this Summer (try affording more days with 6 kids) and we didn’t want to be around large crowds anyways.
On our trip we visited historical sites, went kayaking and hiking in the rainforest. Had we taken our children, then would have been whining about being bored or that the mosquitos were biting them. Rather than expose them to what they would perceive to be torture-like conditions, we let Grandma and Grandpa do what they do best with their Grandkids and the boys had a great time with them. The boys had fun spending quality time with their Grandparents and we had good quality connection time.
For us, we hadn’t been away without our kids on trips that weren’t work related for 12 years. This was our first child-free vacation where there wasn’t another agenda of fitting in free time between meetings. Anniversary weekends away were typically once every 5 years and that meant dropping the kids off with family late on a Friday evening and picking them up by noon on Sunday. One day to ourselves and it always felt rushed.
We need to take better care of ourselves as parents and if it means getting away with each other once in a while, then do it. As long as you also plan family trips, then why should people criticize you for spending time with your spouse? Make sure it’s balanced and that your kids are well cared for. You will be a better parent if you take care yourself and your other half.