There is a piece of advice I receive over and over - even from people who don’t have children - about how important it is for my husband and I to get away as a couple. Many people have been advising us since our youngest was only days old, that we just need to go on vacation alone, just the two of us, without our kids.
Yet here we are, six years into our parenting journey, and we have never taken a trip without our kids. Perhaps even more surprising is that we don’t have any plans to take a trip sans kiddies in the near future.
This is not because I don’t care about my marriage. It’s not because I don’t like travelling. It’s not even because I have no one to leave with our kids.
I don’t want to travel without my kids, because I like travelling with my kids.
I crave vacation time, because it's time for us to reconnect as a family. These are days where I can enjoy a lazy breakfast chatting with my six year-old about what he’s learning in school. No rushing, no schedule. It’s a necessity for my family.
Vacations are our fun time. We make some of our best memories when we travel together. From weekends in Ottawa playing in the snow to kicking sand on the beaches of Cuba to nights overlooking the great Niagara Falls - we do it all with our kids in tow.
When we travel together we learn about each other, we laugh together, and yes; sometimes we argue with each other. Our kids get the chance to see different places, meet different people, and learn a little about the world.
The fact that we don’t travel alone doesn’t mean we don’t give our marriage much needed attention. It means that we have a limited amount of time and resources for travelling so we choose to do it as a family rather than alone. We enjoy date nights and evenings out with friends while our kids happily enjoy time with their grandparents. Our best moments together happen to be evenings spent lounging on the couch, feet in lap, chatting about everything big and small. We don’t need fancy, we don’t need grand gestures, we are happy just being together.
We are a family with two working parents, and our everyday life is rushed and hectic. The time we have to spend together as a family seems to become more important with each passing year. With such limited free time, why would I want to spend it away from my kids?
I completely understand why many couples choose to reserve some of their vacation time to be alone, and I know it can be a great way to recharge your relationship. The biggest lesson I have learned as a parent is not to judge other's parenting decisions. Sometimes I feel as though we are the only couple in the world who don't travel alone but we are just not interested. Maybe one day, but not today.
Our kids are growing faster than I would like and I know that one day soon, in the blink of an eye, the time will come when my husband and I will be able to travel alone again. When that time comes we will happily hop on a plane without a stroller, diapers, and extra bags! Until then, I will continue to research family-friendly resorts, the best pizza joint in each new town we visit, and will probably spend my days sliding down waterslides rather than napping by the pool. But until then, I promise you, I love every second of it.