I certainly wouldn’t say that my husband and I “traveled the world” before we had kids, but we definitely enjoyed some nice, stress-free getaways. Our worries were limited to who might take in our mail, and once we got our dogs, who would watch them. Fast forward a few years, and the idea of packing up and leaving seemed virtually impossible. We had a baby and 2 dogs, and the thought of leaving our firstborn (both dog and baby) was just absurd. As our daily grind became more chaotic, and with the consistent addition of more children and dogs, it became easy to see how life was moving full steam ahead, and we were clinging on for the ride.
When our oldest was 13 months old, we decided to take a quick overnight trip. Looking back now, I cannot believe I filled a 3-ring binder with NINE different tabs on how to run the show for less than 24 hours. No wonder my father-in-law wrote sarcastic comments in the margins! I remember backing out of the driveway with tears in my eyes, wondering how I could possibly enjoy this trip. After about an hour of companionable silence, my husband and I actually had a conversation. Nothing philosophical or even that intelligent, but we talked and we finally hit a reset button that brought us back to who we were before our crazy lives took over. We came home to a perfectly happy baby and well-fed pups, and that started a tradition of taking time at least once a year to head for the hills.
It doesn’t escape me how lucky we are to have family members who are
willing and able to care for our crew. It certainly makes leaving much easier (for us, not them). I have heard no less than 50 times from my own mom that she successfully (?) raised three children and to leave her alone to do it her way.
One of our main obstacles in leaving (whether it be for an hour, or 6 days) is our middle child. Her separation anxiety makes for a ROUGH few days leading up to departure. While we know that her worries are out of her control, the guilt we feel often leaves us questioning our decision to get away. I have to constantly remind myself that she’s being left with a grandparent, that her sisters and dogs are with her, and that she WILL be okay (despite what she tells us). And guess what? She has always been more than fine – her anticipation is always worse than the actual event. As hard as it is for her, I’ll admit that I also feel extremely anxious leaving; missing my babies, burdening our parents with all that comes accompanies daily life with 3 girls and 3 dogs, and knowing that I can’t kiss their little faces at night before bed. Similar to our middle child, once we’re away and I’ve gotten settled, I can take a deep breath and know that all will be fine upon our return.
Whether it’s 1 night at a local inn, or 5 nights in the Caribbean, try to make time to escape and connect with who you are as a person and as a significant other. You will come home refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle the next 364 days of lunacy!