Last weekend, Chad and I spent a long weekend in Florida, without the girls. When talking to people, it seems like there is a very clear cut opinion about vacations without your kids. I’ll be the first to admit: before I had kids, I totally judged people who vacationed without their kids. Now that I have kids, I totally get it!
While we do take long weekend vacations and overnights alone occasionally, we have always made taking a family vacation a priority every year. Some years it’s an elaborate vacation, but sometimes it’s something simple. For us, this is the balance that makes taking kid-free vacations “ok” in our book. Here are some things you will realize when taking a kid-free vacation:
1. You will still think of your kids (almost) every second of every day in some capacity.
I am definitely an anxious traveler, so your thoughts might not be as dramatic as mine, but until the last plane lands safely at our destination, I stress about the plane crashing and leaving our kids parent-less. Extreme? Yes! Realistic? Barely. True for me? Absolutely! Once we land and are out and about, I constantly think, “Oh, man! The girls would LOVE to see this!” and “We’ve got to bring the girls back here some day!” I’m constantly wondering if the person watching them “gets” what they are saying. I’m wondering if they are doing things the same way I do them (knowing that they aren’t, but mostly wondering how the children are reacting to a different way).
2. You will appreciate FaceTime more than you probably ever thought possible.
Thank goodness for modern-day technology! As soon as we got up in the morning, we FaceTimed the girls. Sometimes they were having too much fun with whoever they were with to even talk to us. Oddly, that was very comforting. I also loved seeing their sweet faces in their jammies just before bed every night. They love to kiss and hug us on the phone. Have you ever gotten a FaceTime kiss or hug from your little one? It’s pretty sweet and very awkward if you happen to be in public during this phone call, because obviously you have to reciprocate.
3. You will feel like yourself again.
Maybe I’m the only one, but I have a couple “non-mom” outfits reserved for kid-free vacations and dates. They are usually paired with my “fancy make-up” as Ella calls it. They are a little bit sexier, and a lot less practical. These outfits definitely aren’t for wrestling a toddler into a car seat or changing a major blowout. What are they for? They are solely to make you feel like YOU again. It’s pretty liberating to not feel like just “mom” for just a short amount of time.
4. You will appreciate your relationship with your spouse and remember what it was like before kids.
Our every day life is less than relaxing. By the time we get home from school and work, it’s a race to fix dinner, clean up after dinner, get some snuggles and play time in, take baths, and start the bedtime routine. If I’m being totally honest, most of our relationship involves divvying up the daily chores and kid responsibilities. When going on a kid-free vacation, you get to snuggle your spouse without one of your cute kids between you. You can sleep in and lay around in bed until you decide to get up. (Normally we are woken up by Callie screaming, “Yogurt! Can I get some yogurt now?”) You can get caught up in conversation at dinner instead racing to beat the toddler’s internal ticking time bomb. You can take the long way home or walk through the streets of a new town with no time restraints, again getting caught up in conversation.
5. You can plan a day without planning around naps.
I’ve never been a very strict-schedule mom, but I do know that not having a nap makes a supposedly fun day not actually fun for anyone. When we plan a day at the beach or are exploring a new city, we always think about when we will head back for naps. We know better than to push it. In a year or two, this will no longer be an issue; but for the last five years of our lives, this has been how we roll.
6. You will realize that, despite all these amazing feelings, you miss them.
You realize that you really do truly love those tiny humans who call you “MOM” with every being in your heart. You realize that God made you their mom intentionally and that home with them is exactly where you should be. You aren’t ready to go home to get to your own bed, you’re ready to go home to kiss their sweet lips. Even though you walk in the door at 1 AM, you want to wake them up to see the excitement in their face, to feel their arms wrap around you, and to hear their little voices tell you, “I love you, Mommy! I missed you so much!”
I really do enjoy (almost) every second of being a mom. I would be lying if I told you that the daily grind, arguments, and responsibilities didn’t get to me sometimes. I know I’m not the only mom who feels this way. I know there are moms with less resources than I have and more responsibilities. If you have the opportunity to have a kid-free mini vacation, or even a night, try it. I would definitely recommend staying close and making it short at first. As much as I look forward to our time together, I still cry every time I drop off the girls. I promise you will come back refreshed and ready to take on the world!
Until next time…
“By making our spouses and sometimes ourselves a priority, we teach our children how to respect others and themselves.”