Playing, reading, singing, and laughing with your children are some of the most important things to do in raising healthy young children. Leaving them behind with adoring grandparents and going off to spend one-on-one time with your husband is equally important. Yes, it definitely helps build the relationship between the kids and grandparents. But, more importantly, it gives you a break! Parenting, especially if you homeschool and/or stay at home, is a rare career where government does not require breaks in the workday or days off. No smoke breaks here! (Frequently you don’t even get bathroom breaks!) To maintain sanity, and consistently be the kind of mom you want to be to your kids, you must absolutely get away from them sometimes!
Probably the most important reason to get away, though, is to reconnect with that man you love so much that you committed to journey through the rest of life with him. In a blink of an eye, those sweet and aggravating little children with the big grins will be taller than you and walking out of your house, onto a college campus. After 18-30 years of focusing on being a mom and constantly investing in the children, if you haven’t made regular efforts to have time alone with your husband, you’ll suddenly realize you’re living with a stranger. People change and grow a lot in 2-3 decades. And you want to make sure you change and grow TOGETHER.
And that’s why The Brain and I sailed away to the Bahamas last week. It was glorious!!
It was a complete spur-of-the-moment thing. We had barely seen each other for a couple of weeks due to long hours for him at the office. I was a bit on edge (my family may suggest deleting the “a bit” part) from doing the “single parent” thing. (Single parents, I REALLY don’t know how you do it!!!) On Wednesday, The Brain called and said, “I just want to see if I’m crazy…” I prepared myself for what he might throw out at me. He told me about learning of a last-minute deal that would score us a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas for about $500. I guess we’re both crazy, because an hour later (after I got confirmation from grandparents), we were signed up for the cruise. Five days later, we were in Florida boarding a ship.
The cruise was a complete dream and we loved spending so much time together. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was that every time I was about to tell him some situation I encountered or funny thing I heard someone say, I had to stop myself; he had been there with me! I love that!
Now, obviously, going off on a cruise is not a possibility every time we’re wanting to spend time alone. But there are so many other ways to “get away from it all.”
One of my friends told me that some nights (once or twice a week), after the kids go to bed, they put aside everything else and play board games together. Other friends swap babysitting with friends, and go out on the town. We usually hire a babysitter and go out to dinner, then take a walk along the river or sit on a bridge over the river to people watch, talk, and watch the sun set over the water. Some neighbors and I have talked about taking turns watching each other’s kids at night, just so we can go out and take evening walks through the neighborhood without our kids.
One or two night getaways are great as well. A previous babysitter of ours was a young, single teacher. We worked out a price with her and went to a local hotel for just one night. Even that one night away was so refreshing for us! An idea that I’ve always wanted to do is stay at a friend’s house in another area while they’re out-of-town. You get a getaway in a different locale without having to pay for a hotel or cabin rental!
(This is part of the famous Atlantis resort in Nassau. See those windows over the arch? That’s a ten-bedroom suite that costs $25,000 a night, with a minimum of four nights!!! It’s called the Michael Jackson suite because he was the first one to stay in it. I can assure you that anytime The Brain and I head off, we will NOT be staying there!!)
And, of course, long trips away are especially restful and rejuvenating. When The Brain turned 40, I arranged a ski trip for the two of us. He absolutely loves skiing; I tried it for the first time on that trip and didn’t enjoy it in the least. So in the mornings, he would ski and I would sit in this gorgeous lodge watching the constant snowfall and working on my scrapbook. Then in the afternoons, we would do things together: snow shoeing, dog sledding, strolling (as much as you can stroll through a foot of snow) through the adorable little town of Lake Placid, NY… It was a perfect vacation, even though we were each doing our own favorite hobbies during the mornings.
In the book Red Hot Monogamy, authors Bill and Pam Farrel suggest spending 10-20 minutes talking to each other alone each day, having a weekly date night of at least 4 hours, having a monthly “day away” of 8-12 uninterrupted hours, and a quarterly escape for at least 48 hours.
Other than the talking, that’s more than we can manage at this point in our lives, but we keep that goal in mind to spend as much time as we can manage just the two of us, strengthening our relationship on a regular basis.
(P.S. On our $500 cruise, The Brain won $250 worth of spa products! And, yes, $250 only got us FIVE products. That would be why we don’t buy products from spas!)