Remember the time not so long ago when you and your partner tossed a few things in a bag and hit the road?
Ahh, yes, that was the sweet, easy, breezy time before your family packing list included a car seat, stroller, portable crib, stuffed animals, toys, crayons, books, and, finally, ridiculous amounts of emergency snacks to help ward off boredom and bouts of extreme crankiness.
Oh my, how travel has changed.
I am here to tell you that while travelling with kids offers plenty of playful perks, I believe it’s also important for couples to ditch the half-pints and sometimes just go on their own (this only after you’ve arranged responsible childcare, obviously).
My husband and I are avid globetrotters. We’ve done some of our jet-setting together and some of it apart. His journeys have taken him motorcycling throughout South America, and mine have led me backpacking in various areas of Africa twice. Nowadays, however, I just want a quiet place to rest my head.
For me, getting away without our son is a well-deserved reprieve from endless toddler demands. Perhaps you are familiar with this, it goes something like this—I want, I want, I want, I want.
Recently, for the first time since our son was born two years ago, we left our beloved child in the care of his grandparents for two nights and three days.
We decided not to venture too far, you know . . . just in case, and settled on Quebec City.
During the weeks leading up to our departure, we waffled.
“Maybe we should bring him?” my husband said.
“Leaving him feels entirely unnatural,” I said.
“Whose idiotic idea was this anyway?” I asked.
“Yours,” my husband said.
Despite our reservations, we forged ahead with our plans. I’d be lying if I said our fears diminished the instant we took flight. They did not. And yet, we still managed to have a good time (and, bonus, travel light).
Would I do it again? Heck, yeah.
1. Finally, you can eat wherever you want. Kid-friendly restos? Screw ‘em. You are adults and you get to pick the joint. Enjoy a leisurely lunch. Stretch out dinner. Heck, stay for dessert! You don’t have to shove meals down your throat as though you’re in a grotesque eating competition, or request the bill all panicky because your brood is getting cranky and loud and irrational. This time is for you, so chill. Eat like kings and queens and actually taste your food between bites.
2. Drink whatever you want. Finally, you can share a bottle of wine (or two or three if you have the gusto) and not fret about it. You can actually get tipsy without thinking, "Oh my god, I can’t have more than one glass because I am a responsible parent and what if something happens to junior ?" You’re on vacation and your offspring isn’t. Drink up!
3. So now that you’ve indulged in a decadent meal and added on a few layers of boozy primer, guess what? You can actually stay up late for a change and get, err, reacquainted. Have you forgotten what it’s like to have sex at night because you’re typically crushed by 8 p.m.? Welcome back the night, my friends, and put vacation sex back on the agenda.
4. You probably forget what it feels like to sleep in. Having kids forces you to be an early riser and it sucks. Truth is, you probably couldn’t sleep in now even if you tried. Instead, flop around in bed for a nice long while. Watch TV, snuggle beneath the sheets, brew a couple of cups of crappy hotel coffee, and answer to nobody.
5. Talk. Laugh. Breathe. This time together gives you a break from constantly being in knee-jerk reaction mode, responding to your little one’s demands, and allows you to focus on one another. Talk about subjects that wouldn’t make the PG cut and exist relatively schedule free. Soak it up, for the instant you walk back through that front door, your quiet time will be zapped into oblivion. Yes, it likely won't take long before that old familiar feeling of exhaustion returns, so it's a good thing you're supercharged and ready to go!
Searching for the perfect destination? Check out these 10 Top Canadian Tourist Hotspots to Add to Your Bucket List.
Giving in and taking the kids? Try one of these 14 Great Canadian Family Escapes.