Getting a Night Away: Why Parents Should Try To Make It Happen
Before I had kids – I knew just the kind of parent I was going to be.
My husband and I were going to be those parents who fly off to Italy for a long weekend. Or maybe Paris. Yes, we would be drinking wine and nibbling croissants on lovely cobblestone streets. And then we would return refreshed and reenergized, with little European trinkets for our adorable children.
And that’s totally how it worked out!
Okay. Not really. In fact, not at all.
Getting away is just a little more complicated than I ever imagined. First, the money. Because I really don’t want to say to my kids someday – “Sorry we don’t have any money to pay for college! But let me show you the photos again of mommy and daddy’s trip to Europe!”
Then the logistics of childcare. In fact planning the childcare can take longer than the length of the actual trip. And finally the – I’m just not the same person I was before I had kids and it’s hard to think about being an ocean away from my children.
So no romantic overseas getaway.
But I still believe it’s incredibly vital to go somewhere. Whatever that means within one’s budget and life. Parenthood is this 7-day-a-week job so if I do the math correctly that’s exactly zero days off. Unless you commit to making it happen.
We recently did. My husband and I spent a night alone in Miami. We sprinkled our 5 children with relatives in nearby Boca Raton (and yes, we are extremely lucky to have relatives nearby) and we went away for a night.
And at first it’s crazy weird because it’s so quiet and no one is talking nonstop to you or spilling applesauce everywhere or begging you for an Instagram account. You can do whatever you want and suddenly you don’t know what to do.
But then you think of something. We could go for a walk (without needing to bring snacks, a diaper bag or anything really). We could have a cocktail. Or take a nap. Or go shopping. Or watch a movie. OR ANYTHING WE WANT. And you can’t fold laundry. Because you left it at home. That might be the very best part. And it all feels pretty glorious.
And suddenly my husband and I realize we don’t have much to argue about when we aren’t tired and stressed. And I think, “Hey, I like you. You’re fun. I’m fun. I forgot this what we were like.”
Is a night away the answer to all life’s stress? No. Not at all. In fact, only an hour after we picked up our kids, we were in a grocery store. My husband looked like his brain might explode as our 2 year old either threw or tried to rip open every item in the cart. And a little bit later, we were staring down heaps of laundry. And arguing about something. What was it? Oh, I’m too tired now to remember.
But still – a night away is a mini break. The key for us is keeping it close to home so it’s affordable and we don’t waste our precious time on travel. And it’s a reminder, that yes, deep inside two exhausted, stretched-very-thin parents are two people who can actually be fun. It creates goodwill between us which can make one just a little bit more patient when someone loses the car keys. Again. And it helps remind us why we fell in love in the first place and decided to set forth on this crazy, chaotic adventure.
And yes, the cobblestone streets of Europe are still waiting. Someday. I’m absolutely sure of it.