I know some couples who have been married for 20 years and never have had a weekend without the kids since they were born. I wouldn’t recommend this. Married couples need nights out, and even nights away to recharge the romantic batteries. Whether it’s a motel down the road, or a trip a thousand miles away, try to make at least one trip away each year. Obviously, this is impossible in some situations where reliable childcare is not available or affordable for such a long time away. If, however, you have family around, take advantage of their generosity, and overcome your guilt, even if for just 24 hours.
Here are some rules to make that getaway easier for you, and for the kids:
- Go to a place without kids. You want to be around any kids who will make you feel guilty for leaving yours behind. It will be hard to enjoy yourself if you’re both comparing other rugrats to your beautiful, intelligent, and well-mannered kids back home.
- Do not call home, ET. Make sure everyone is aware that you will not be calling in, if this is a 24-hour trip. Likewise, no one should call you unless it’s truly an emergency.
- Go in the middle of the week. Yes that sounds counter-intuitive, but if you go midweek, you’ll score three advantages. You might get a cheaper room (if not a business hotel), the kids will be focussed on school, an you’ll benefit from that illicit feeling that you’re cheating the system and playing hookey. This last might add more spice to your adventure away.
- Plan events you can enjoy together. That doesn’t mean suffering if she wants to tour a flower garden, but it likely means you golfing alone all afternoon is out. The idea is to spend time together, not to take a mini-vacation away from her and the kids.
- Drive if you can. Pulling away in a car makes the trip start right away, versus after a long day hassle with the airport. If you can limit your destination to just 1-2 hours away, you’ll be able to maximize the feeling putting distance and minimize the stress of too much travel.
- Give the kids a big gift. And, do let them watch TV and movies while you’re gone. You’re getting away to be pampered; why not let them enjoy themselves too. A little gift left to be opened after you leave will also help ease the pain of separation, or at least distract them a bit.
While it’s hard to cram in a full year of life before kids in a weekend, it sure is fun to try.