For six days, I watched the sun rise and set in a peaceful bliss, surrounded by the smell of the ocean, the site of beautiful palm trees, and the greetings from various local animals.
There was no one calling my name or asking me to make them something to eat, just so that they can refuse it. There was no one pulling on my shirt or crying in my ears because they couldn’t find a toy that was sitting directly in front of their face. There was no complaining, or whining, or worry.
Best of all, there was zero anxiety.
You see, we took a trip without our child, and we didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.
I sat with a group of 40-year-olds in paradise, sipping on cocktails and eating whatever and whenever we wanted. We traveled around, engaging in touristy activities and didn’t once stop to worry that someone may try to pet a pelican or swim with a shark.
Leaving the wildling behind with his more-than-capable Nana was something we needed to do. But it doesn’t make us bad parents. In fact, we are better parents for it.
Taking trips without your kids doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. It doesn’t mean that you’re sick of them, or that you want to rid yourself of them.
It means you need a break. It means that you’ve been so consumed with the responsibilities of everyday life, that you’re treating yourself to a rare getaway. Let’s face it, when you vacation with kids, you’re still on the clock. We wanted to be off the clock. We needed to be off the clock. And thankfully, we are privileged to be able to do it.
I know there are people out there who think the concept of traveling without your kids is ridiculous, but I also know tons of parents who would jump at the opportunity the moment it presented itself.
Taking a trip with your partner gives you the opportunity to reconnect, whether you feel unconnected or not. Better yet, it gives you some time for YOU. So much time is spent worrying and being anxious, so the idea of allowing ourselves to relish in the now, instead of planning for the future, is a gift. It’s like pressing pause on real-life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that we don’t want to vacation with our mini. I can’t wait for the day to come when I take my little guy to an ocean, where he can taste the salt in the air while searching for glamorous treasures to bring home. I look forward to showing him the world that lives outside of his. But while we are going to vacation with the little man, we are also not going to give up on our own sans-child travels for as long as we have that opportunity.
Spending some quality time with your partner is important. The trip can be as short as a few days away at a bed and breakfast, or as long as a trip overseas. Either way, the time away from all adult and parenting responsibilities is something I feel everyone should take advantage of if they can.
Life moves fast and we often forget – or are unable – to jump off the track and give ourselves a moment to breath. We get so lost in the rush of every day life that we put ourselves and our relationships on the back burner.
We took a week vacation away from reality, and we did our best to enjoy every last minute of it. We are not bad parents because we rushed out the door sans kids. We are human.
This story originally appeared on The Antsy Butterfly