To vacation with or without the children?
This is a question I pondered when I had my own children. I do believe my upbringing played a role in my decisions. Growing up, I had five siblings and, every year during the summer, we would travel. My summer memories were full of adventure and wonder. Some summers we would explore the deep south. Other summers we explored the beauty of the east coast. I even had the privilege, a few times, to travel abroad. But one thing my parents always did while I was growing up was take their own separate vacations. They would choose all the exotic, fun places for themselves.
As I got older, I knew that travel would continue to be an intricate part of my life. But I wondered, is it really important to travel as a couple separate from the children? I remember our first trip away from our children. We were traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah. To this day it is still one of our absolute favorite places. I felt so much anxiety as I worried about my kids. To be honest, I even resented my husband because he seemed so carefree. Can you relate? Here are three reasons you might want to consider leaving the children behind.
First, it allows a break from parenting. Especially as a mom, I find myself making most of the decisions. This brings about so much worry and stress. Have you ever been on vacation with your children and felt like you needed to recoup vacation afterwards? By taking a vacation away from your little ones you minimize some of the decision overload. It is a time to actually relax.
Second, they need a break from you also. Even at young ages, it is important for children to begin to learn independence. Breaking out of their predictable routine forces them to grow. A new appreciation for one another is also likely to form. It allows them an opportunity to adapt under another adult’s supervision. It is vital, of course, to be fully secure in the care that will be provided, otherwise that just adds an entire new layer of stress.
Finally, it allows an opportunity to connect with our partners on a different level. It can be easy to fall into the identity of our everyday roles. While date nights are crucial, they are simply not always enough. Being away from the children allows an opportunity to slip back to an identity that is not governed by parental boundaries. It also creates a space to focus on the relationship.
No matter what you decide, there are two things that are certain. The first thing is that if you do not fill your tank, you will have nothing to give to others. It is important to set the pattern of self-care as a model for your children. Second, identity can be lost if it is stuck in routine. This can have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. So, prioritize that time together. I am curious: when was the last time you took a vacation without the children?