My son is now six years old and my daughter is four years old. I have only left them overnight for one weekend last summer and they stayed at home with their father, so it wasn’t much of a big deal. I don’t think my husband has ever been away from the children overnight. He took our son camping one night last summer while I stayed at home with our daughter, but that has been it.
As our tenth wedding anniversary approached, I found myself wondering if we should plan a weekend away from our children.
Initially, my husband was a bit of a hard sell. So far, all of our anniversaries have simply involved dinner at a nice restaurant. Those anniversaries have all been very nice, but I felt like we should do something special for our tenth anniversary. When I suggested going on a small trip without the children, my husband wondered if we should just take one of our usual weekend road trips and bring the kids along with us. While I love my kids and enjoy showing them new places, none of those trips end up being peaceful and relaxing for me. I always end up having to pack what seems like half the house and then the kids don’t sleep well, which means that the adults don’t sleep well either. In the end, I explained all these things to my husband and he came around to the idea of going off for a weekend on our own.
Before we could even begin planning our trip, we had to decide who would watch our children while we were gone.
Luckily, my husband’s parents live nearby. Also luckily, they took very little convincing to take in their grandchildren for a long weekend. My kids have stayed with their grandparents while my husband and I have been off doing other things, so everyone involved was already comfortable spending time with each other. When I brought up the possibility of having the children stay with their grandparents for a weekend, the kids both seemed excited. In the end, my in-laws ended up splitting time between my house and theirs. I did end up having to help clean my kids’ bedrooms so that it was possible for people to actually walk safely through them, but I didn’t end up having to pack anything for the kids. That definitely started our weekend off on the right foot!
Once we got to our destination, I really didn’t worry too much about the kids. We did call home around bedtime to see how things were going and it turned out that our children were happily turning beds into forts and having a grand time. There were absolutely no tears. Since the children were perfectly happy, I lost any guilt that I felt over leaving them for the weekend. Instead, I was able to wander around town with my husband before picking out a nice restaurant for dinner. I really enjoyed the quiet conversation without childish interruptions. Also, I never had to stop and look at any kids’ menus before choosing a restaurant.
Dining out was much less stressful without two children in tow!
My favorite part of the trip was leisurely walking around old neighborhoods and looking at all the historic houses. It was nice to hold hands with my husband for a change. Walking around grand neighborhoods was something that we really used to enjoy in our lives prior to having children. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed that. While we also enjoy walking around with our children, each trip usually involves multiple complaints, such as “I’m hungry,” “I’m tired,” or “I need to pee.” It felt very liberating to simply be a wife for a while instead of a mother and a wife at the same time.
At the end of our weekend away, I was glad to be reunited with my children. I had missed them. I wish I could say that my time of rest and relaxation away from the children gave me more patience with them when I returned, but that wasn’t the case. Their squabbles are still as annoying as they ever were and I’m still tired of mediating all day long. There were also little annoyances involved with returning from our trip, such as a messy brown streak all over my bathroom door which I really hope wasn’t poop and my son’s medication coming up missing when we went to give it to him the next morning. Despite all those headaches, I’m glad that my husband and I took a weekend away from our kids. It gave us a chance to reconnect as a couple and showed us that we are still as much in love as the day ten years ago when we got married.