I love my kids more than just about anything, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I absolutely hate taking them on vacation. Personally, I don't think a vacation with kids is really a "vacation." Instead it's just mom working as hard as she always does, but in a different location. Going on a kid-free vacation, though? Now that's some well-deserved time off. In fact, I think every couple should go on a kid-free vacation if they get the chance. After all, us hard-working parents deserve it.
When I travel with my children I feel nothing but stress, but when I travel with my husband — and only my husband — I feel relaxed. We get to eat at restaurants without a kid’s menu, we don't have to worry about sticking to a very strict routine for the betterment of our children, and we don't have to find ways to constantly entertain our children. We also get to drink wine, have sex without interruption, and sleep as much or as little as we want to. In other words, a kid-free vacation is like traveling back in time to my 20s, and I'm all for enjoying a little reprieve from mom-life.
Sure, at first I felt a little guilty when I left my kids with their grandparents so my husband and I could go on vacation. But it didn't take me very long to get over it. These kid-free getaways gave my partner and I are an opportunity to re-connect, and our kids deserve healthy, happy parents. Hell, my partner and I deserve to be healthy and happy, too.
I know we are privileged to have child care and the means to get away. I am lucky, in more ways than one. I want to capitalize on that luck, though, because as hard as it was to leave our kids behind, and as much as we miss them, a kid-free vacation is worth the time, money, and effort. Here's why:
Hotel sex is the best sex. There are no interruptions from children who can’t sleep, no baby monitors going off, no cats scratching at the door, and no inhibitions. Going on vacation without our kids did magical things for my sex life.
Personally, I find it difficult to relax at home. I am always waiting for the next crisis, argument, injury, rejected meal, bedtime battle, or poop-filled diaper. Mom life is not glamorous, my friends, and rarely if ever includes a bubble bath or breakfast in bed.
Spending time away from our children allows my partner and I to truly take a load off. We can enjoy some silence, some pampering, and, yes, even a bubble bath.
Of all the things I gave up when I became a mother — like money, time, energy, autonomy, and privacy — I miss sleep the most. When we went on a kid-free vacation, though, my partner and I got to go to bed early and sleep in late. It was amazing.
Spending Time With Each Other
When you're a parent it's easy to become dependent on a seemingly endless routine of waking up kids, getting them to school, working, chasing toddlers, making meals, and managing bedtime. And rarely does that routine leave a lot of time for alone time with your partner, having conversations about things not kid-related, dreaming about the future, and memorizing each other's smiles. A child-free vacation meant quality time together away from our hectic lives. It was magical.
Eating Adult Food
I can't tell you how nice it was to eat a nice meal at a restaurant without our kids complaining, crying, or throwing food on the floor. We could eat where, when, and what we wanted, and we didn't have to worry about food allergies or toddler tantrums. We even skipped going out and ordered in because, well, we could. We were on vacation.
Going On Adventures
I love to travel. Before I had kids I lived in three countries and traveled as much as I could. Traveling with kids is expensive, though, and usually it's exhausting and, well, not really worth it. I loved the ability to get in the car and drive to see what my partner and I could find, and without have to worry about schedules, nap time, or finding places with a changing table in the bathroom.
Time For Self-Care
Going on vacation with my husband meant I could focus on him, yes, but it also meant I had time for self-care. It's easier to recognize your needs when you're away from the daily grind. It turns out my needs involve pedicures, sitting in hot tubs, lipstick, and wine.
You Can Put Each Other First
A child-free vacation isn't always perfect, though. I mean, of course we experienced a few stressors, an argument or two, and some bumps in the road. But it was nice to be able to prioritize ourselves and our relationship for a change, and without the kids we were able to talk out any problems quickly, efficiently, and in our "adult voices."
Not Having To Navigate An Airport With Kids
I don't even want to think about what navigating an airport with five kids would be like. I hope I never find out. Traveling with my partner was no big deal, though. It was actually even a little fun to fly, and I say this as a person who hates airports.
Not Having To Keep A Set Schedule
Our kids thrive on a routine, so when we go on vacation everything goes to hell. We ultimately end up with over-tired, cranky kids, and no one has a good time. After a decade of living to fulfill our kids' needs, being able to do things spontaneously felt so good.
Staying Up Late
One of my least favorite things about staying in a hotel with my kids is having to go to sleep early — or play on my phone in the dark — after the kids go to sleep. When we went on vacation without our kids my partner and I could stay up as late as we wanted. It almost made me remember what it was like to travel in my 20s before I had kids.
Time To Re-Connect
Most of all, going on vacation with each other — and without our kids — gave us a unique opportunity to re-connect. I learned new things about my partner, and he learned new things about me. It was like falling in love with him all over again. We enjoyed the experience so much, in fact, that we are considering doing it again next year.