Let's face it: You love your children more than anything, but sometimes, finding time to be alone with your partner is more than a little challenging. Between the surplus of sports practices, crazy meal preparations, demands at work, and the thousand other things that get in the way, parents hardly get any time to themselves. So, how can you find the time?
Well, you can start by taking a step away from the family life and doing some parents-only travel. Now before you start protesting that it isn't practical or that you'd feel incredibly guilty about abandoning your kids for a weekend, let's look at some of the reasons parents should be planning a few vacations sans children.
It Reminds You to Put Your Spouse First
My dad used to always tell me that the best way for him to be a good father was to love my mother wholeheartedly. As a child, I rolled my eyes and scoffed. Isn't devoting yourself to your children the best way to be a good parent? Surprisingly, not always. Research has shown that putting your spouse before your children is actually a healthy way to facilitate a happy family life. Parents give up so much to care for their children, but attention to their marriage is one thing that should never be shirked. In his book To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First (2010), author David Code states that “as we break our backs for our kids, our marriage and self-fulfillment go out the window while our kids become more demanding and dissatisfied.” Other psychologists agree that parents don't dedicate enough time to themselves or their partners.
There is nothing wrong with taking the time to work on your marriage away from the kids. It doesn't mean you're being negligent or selfish. In fact, it's just the opposite: You're working to keep an important relationship in your children's lives running smoothly and happily.
You Don't Just Get "Us Time," You Get "Me Time"
Like David Code was pointing out, part of building a strong relationship with your partner involves setting time aside for yourself. By taking a few days for the two of you to relax, you'll actually recharge your own batteries. No one will be screaming at you to fix the Xbox remote or complaining that they need help with their homework. Not only will your marriage feel rejuvenated, but so will you.
Your Kids Might Even Have Fun While You're Gone
If you're thinking that your poor children will be sitting around moping the entire time you're gone, then you might want to think again. Many kids actually have a blast while their parents are out of town. Think a G-rated version of Risky Business. Sometimes, they need a break from your parenting and busy schedule, too. As long as you're able to find a competent but fun babysitter, then your kids will probably be fine, even if they're a little tearful at the beginning. Plus, you'll probably promise to bring them back a few souvenirs, and every kid loves the sweet anticipation of a new toy.
It Prevents You From Becoming a Helicopter Parent
Believe it or not, parents can actually care a little too much about their children. If you find yourself paying close attention to every detail of your child's life, especially when they're older, then you might actually be hindering them from finding independence. Margaret Nelson, author of Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, points out that when parents are too involved in their children's lives, their own relationships begin to suffer. So, take a breath, and leave your kids in the capable hands of another adult for a day or two. Your children will learn to be a little more self-reliant, and you'll learn that you've raised them to be okay without your constant supervision after all.
If you're a BubbleLife parent, do you and your partner go on vacations without the kids every now and then? Share any comments or advice you have in the comments below!