Picture this: You’re touring a new city and watching years of history come alive in front of you. You’re walking the streets and going to sites that were built by people you have always admired. Your schedule is tight, yet, you have been able to see everything you wanted so far without any interruptions.
For all my people that aren’t into history… picture this: A sunny beach, a cold drink, and your favorite book in your hand. Take a moment to let it all sink In. Can you hear the waves hitting the shore?
Now let’s come back to reality! Does your vacation sound like this when you travel as a family with the children? If it does, then girlfriend- count your blessings because you’re among the few if any.
Let’s just come right out and say it… Vacationing with children is work and often has us parents wanting a vacation from our vacation. LOL!! Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE going on vacation with my family, I love spending time with them, creating special memories and teaching them about new places. I love seeing their faces brighten up as they pack for their getaway or talk about all the things they will do while we are away. I am a firm believer that as parents the most significant gift we can give our children is our love and time. However, from one parent to another, I’ll be the first to tell you that as important as family vacations are, it’s even more important to take vacations without your children. Yes, I said it… vacation without your children!
I have to admit; I am a big fan of ‘Me Time’ and vacationing fits right in that category. I’m sure plenty of moms are thinking “what the heck… no way will I leave my babies,” and I used to say the same thing until I experienced my first trip away and saw what it did for my marriage and my sanity.
I remember that first trip as though it was yesterday, Isabella was a little over two years old and went everywhere with me. I took pride in showing her the world and different cultures. So when Bini brought up the idea of going away for a weekend to a ski resort I nearly lost my mind. I kept feeling guilty about leaving her with my aunt, even though my aunt was beyond happy to have her. I was worried about her schedule, her sleeping time being interrupted, would they sing to her the way she liked her Tigrinya songs played, would they change her diaper on time? Mind you, my aunt owns a daycare center and took care of Bella during the day for me. So you can see why she was annoyed with me when I wrote down EVERYTHING and gave her a 6-page document on what to do and not do with Bella.
Off we went to go skiing with Bini, but my heart was with Bella.I felt guilty for leaving her, so I kept calling to check and finally, Bella told me “Mommy, I’m playing… talk later... bye”. I could feel my heart breaking because she didn’t need me. I think that’s what we all feel, the guilt of leaving them because we feel as though they need us 24/7, but guess what… Bella was perfectly fine without me for a few days. PERFECTLY FINE! She had a great time and came home excited about her next adventure with Aunty Christine (my aunt that watched her for me), my cousins and their dogs.
During that weekend while Bella was running around with dogs, her father and I were spending quality time together and making memories of our own. It was so refreshing to be with him and be a couple first instead of mom and dad. That weekend gave us a chance to see ourselves for who we are instead of merely Bella’s parents. We laughed together, attempted to go skiing and nearly broke our backs, talked about the future and what we both want, spent time doing absolutely nothing (I LOVED THAT), and got intimate without the interruption of a 2-year-old calling for her parents. It was amazing, and we both came home feeling re-charged and ready to take on anything that came our way together.
Have you ever realized that we all become parents and somehow forgot that we are a couple too, even worse we forget our own lives exist passed parenthood? That’s not fair to us, our spouse, or even our children.Taking a vacation without your children gives you that time to re-charge and get your ME- TIME in order.
Here is the most important thing I want you to take from this post. Parenthood doesn’t work if you don’t work! If you aren’t in the right mindset, your family isn’t going to be either.
We all love our children like CRAZY, but we also loved our spouses and ourselves first and should never forget that. Loving yourself doesn’t make you selfish by the way, it makes you real! Never feel like you are abandoning your family by vacationing without them because you are doing the total opposite. You’re focusing on you so that you can be a better person for them. YOU DESERVE IT TOO!
Lastly, if you think it will be easier to leave the children and go on vacation when they are older, you are widely mistaken. If your kids are younger, trust me, go now while their schedules are simple. My kids are 11, 7and almost 2 and it was harder organizing everything for my older ones than it was for Novena (my youngest). There is drop off and pick up from school, plus their daily activities, homework and helping them study for exams. It only gets harder and harder as they get older.
It’s been nine years since we took that first weekend trip away with Bini and we loved it so much that we try our best to plan a getaway trip yearly now. You would think I would feel at ease nowadays whenever I leave the kids and go away, but just like a new mother leaving her infant for the first time, I still get nervous and think of EVERYTHING that could happen while I am away (I’m telling you guys, I am still a working progress). I always provide my family with a detailed list of everything they need to be familiar with when it comes to the children (which they already know) and I call home three times a day, but it seems to be more for my sanity than theirs. I think I’ll probably always be that mom that wants her babies to want her, which is fine for now.
The moral of the story is that, even though I get nervous and worried about leaving them, I still do it to spend time with my husband, my sister, my best friends or even to be alone, because I need it, we all do. We need that time for ourselves and fear or guilt should not be something that ever holds us back.
I hope this post helps you or someone you know. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Leave me your comments below on how you feel about vacationing with or without your kids.