Do you and Spouse need time away from kids?


So YES, there are days, that I’ve got to get out of the house. If I hear one more “mommy tell brother…”

I was talking with a friend the other day. I was pretty amped about finding a cool lakeside hotel not too spendy… that I thought DH and I could take the kids too on our 15th wedding anniversary.

She’s super nice… I have no complaints about her… but her suggestion…“REALLY? Can’t you leave the kids with the grandparents or something… you two go alone…”…

And I thought… Well, yeah, one of them would def. come and stay with the kids… But I just don’t want to…

We hardly EVER get to vacation… I love taking my kids. Even though it would be easier to go without. I wouldn’t have to keep an eagle eye on them… Plus, and this is anxiety related, I would have a terrible time being any distance from them, incase there was an emergency. I’m a bit of a worry wort…

Mostly just curious what others do… I know what I’m going to do… Maybe I’m weird??? LOL!

The most we have done is one night away at a hotel not too far. The hotel had a restaurant, so we had dinner…then breakfast in the morning.

We haven’t even had a date for 2 years. Tomorrow will be our first date, four hours at a wedding brunch! We have a baby sitting team (my mom, my sister)

But for a vacation…we go as a family.

Our sons are nearly 20 and 17. We’ve been away from them overnight quite a few times, once they were 7 & 5 and FIL could manage - he used to take them to his house and we had our own house alone for a while (very fun!). When we visit hubby’s mother, she would keep the boys for a few days at a time while we went somewhere by ourselves (happened 3 x in about 8 years). The weirdest thing happened when we returned the first time…when we came back, the boys were watching TV and turned around and for just an instant, their eyes showed no recognition of us…maybe it was the TV’s spell but it freaked me out royally…


So in almost 20 years of having children, we haven’t done a whole lot without them. They grow up so fast anyway, pretty soon we will be empty nesters. Enjoy your children and make wonderful memories with them that will last THEIR whole lives.

Our oldest is 12. The kids have had some long weekends at the grandparents, but when it comes to “real” vacations (us, a plane ride/ or long car trip), we just prefer to take the kids with us. Week end getaways can recharge us, and some times we want to do things that just aren’t that interesting to kids, but for the most part we (and the dh and I have discussed this) like to do things with our children.

We’re not anti-couple outings, but the way we figure it, we only have a short period of time when the kids are all “ours”. Soon enough, our oldest will probably be away at college, and our youngest isn’t that far behind…we’ll have plenty of alone time.

Ok, maybe this lady was just acting without thinking but to be honest, I always found someone who contradicts someone else’s plans a bit annoying. If you clearly stated you have decided to bring the kids, just because it may not be her preferences is no reason for her to try to change your plans.

I don’t have kids, but I really think it is a personal matter for each couple to work out whether they bring their kids along or not. I am sure there are times when you and your husband have enough trouble accomodating 2 opinions, you don’t really need a third one in the way


We get time away from the kids occasionally, but we certainly don’t need time away from the kids. I always enjoy having the kids around more than not having them around. I couldn’t imagine the idea of a vacation without them. I’ve had friends and family members ask me, “Don’t you just want to go off some time and do xxxx or nnnn without the kids?” I can’t think of a time when the answer wasn’t no.

Yes, I think that couples need time away from the children.

Taking care of children is fun and fulfilling and joyous.

But it’s also hard, never-ending, exhausting work. And we need breaks from work to restore our bodies, minds, and souls. In the case of couples, we need time to re-ignite the flame of romance, which is often sublimated in the daily-ness of being on call for childcare 24/7.

We take time off from our “work” work–we only work a finite number of hours a day and then we clock out. We have weekends and holidays off. We have a week or two off for vacation.

So why shouldn’t we take some time off from our children?

This isn’t a “modern” idea. In the Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder describes a time when Almanzo’s parents took a week for a vacation away from their children (the oldest children, who were teens at the time, were left in charge of the farm). Even back then, parents understand the need for some down time away from children.

My husband and I regularly went out on dates while we were raising children, even when they were still nursing as babies. They could last a few hours without a feeding.

I don’t know what I would have done without those dates. It was hard to be constantly on call, and the time away restored me and gave me energy.

I agree that we are only with our children for a short time, but we are with our spouses forever (hopefully). We really need to be careful to fan that flame and make sure that it never goes out.

Here are the lyrics to an awesome song by Wayne Watson:

There are watercolour ponies on my refrigerator door
And the shape of something, I don’t really recognize
Brushed with careful little fingers and put proudly on display
A reminder to us all of how time flies

Seems an endless mound of laundry and a stairway laced with toys
Gives a blow by blow reminder of the war
That we fight for their well-being for their greater understanding
To impart a holy reverence for the Lord

But baby, what will we do when it comes back to me and you
They look a little less like little boys every day
Oh, the pleasure of watchin’ the children growin’ is mixed with a bitter cup
Of knowin’ the watercolour ponies will one day ride away

And the vision can get so narrow, as you view through your tiny world
And little victories can go by with no applause
But in the greater evaluation as they fly from your nest of love
May they mount up with wings as eagles for His cause

Still I wonder baby, what will we do when it comes back to me and you
We’ll look a little less like little boys every day
Oh, the pleasure of watchin’ the children growin’ is mixed with a bitter cup
Of knowin’ the watercolour ponies will one day, one day ride away

I boldfaced two of the lines in this song. My husband and I really took this song to heart (even though we had girls, not boys!) We realized that it was important for us to work on our marriage and make sure that after our girls grew up, we would still be in love and more importantly, friends with each other. We saw couples who raised their children and then discovered that they no longer knew each other or cared about each other. They had put all their time and energy into childrearing and forgot about marriage-rearing. We didn’t want that to happen to us.

Now that our children ARE grown up, we can honestly say that we feel that we did the right thing. Our children did not suffer for being left with a babysitter for a few hours a week, or with grandma for an overnight. In fact, I believe this time helped them to mature and become independent. The time that my husband and I spent nurturing our marriage was time well-spent.

I think that sometimes young couples believe that they can never grow apart. They have so much fun raising their children that they think that the childrearing is helping their marriage to grow stronger. I am frankly skeptical about this. I think that couples who claim that they don’t need time away are kidding themselves. (literally “kid” ding themselves)

Adults are adults, and they need adult conversation that is uninterrupted by children or teens. They need romantic time where they can stare into each other’s eyes and remember why they fell in love. They need physical time together when they can be intimate–this is not appropriate in front of children. They need resting time together, where they can just lie back and enjoy being with each other alone, with no cares.

I think that it’s wise for young couples to listen to and heed the words of older couples (like us) and take care of their marriage. The BEST thing that a couple can do for their children is not breastfeeding or staying debt-free or providing healthy meals or saving for college. The BEST thing that Mom and Dad can do for their children is to stay in love and remain HAPPILY married until death parts them.

Do not sacrifice a marriage for the sake of children–the children will suffer more from this then they will from a few hours of separation from parents.

yes it is essential for the health of your marriage and family, and for quality parenting, that you put your spouse first, that you make regular dates w/o the kids, and that you sometimes take at least full days or weekends, if not longer vacations w/o the kids. That means you have to get used to leaving them with grandparents and other trusted relatives or friends even when they are infants. For one practical reason there may come a time in emergency where you have to leave them–hospitalization for instance–and if you have not prepared them to be comfortable with sitters you put them in a very cruel situation. For another, they lack something essential in emotional development if they never learn, “sometimes mommies leave for a little while, but mommies always come back.” Most our reluctance to leave our infants and small children is based on our own emotional needs, not theirs.

The importance of placing top priority on your relationship, including quality time alone, with your spouse cannot be overstated. It is in the bible, all family even the children must be subordinate to your spouse. You have to find time for intimacy–emotional, intellectual, psychological, spiritual-- outside actual sex, and you have to find time for communication on a higher level than the essentials of logistics of daily life. Fail in this and when they leave the nest you will find what our generation has, the real meaning of “empty nest.” (if your marriage lasts that long).

There have been many times when DH and I took a weekend off by ourselves and ended up missing DS and talking about him almost the whole weekend!

However, through the years, we have discovered that we DO need some time away for just the two of us… we work long hours and spend most of our weekends together as a family, and rarely do DH and I get away for even dinner together. But there are some times when it’s been a benefit to let DS stay with his cousins and grandparents for an evening or a couple of days while we spend time together.

DS is now 17 and his thoughts and conversations are about nothing but classic cars (he’s going to study automotive technology at the nearby university in the fall). Sure, we can talk about classic cars at the dinner table… but going out to dinner at a nice restaurant, I’d like to talk about other things as well. And if DH and I would like to take a day or two to visit nearby wineries, we certainly can’t take DS along… even though minors are allowed, he’d be bored out of his mind!

DH and I have developed interests as a couple that our son would not find interesting at all and I think it wouldn’t be fair to make him tag along. Even family camping trips (whether just the three of us or DH’s extended family) have to include a lot of “kid” activities, because, while we adults may be content to just lounge around the campground for four days and visit, the kids would be ricocheting off the trees from boredom!

We have tried to align our “couple only” weekend with DS’s out-of-town visits to a friend’s or grandparents’ home, so that he’s getting a fun weekend as well.

Bottom line, when we reunite, we all say the same thing and mean it with all our hearts: “We had a great time, but WE MISSED YOU!!!”

When ours were babies we didn’t leave them. Once they were older, we traded babysitting w/ a couple who had kids the same age. We got out once each month; it was great. :wink:

Until we did it, we didn’t realize how much we needed it.

We’re grandparents now, and with 2 incomes we can go away and enjoy ourselves in a way we couldn’t before. But I treasure the memories of those cheap date nights!

With six kids we don’t go on vacations with out the kids. Basically because it’s just too much for either set of grandparents. If one of them offers to watch them so we can get a night away, we take it without hesitation!!

We try to do date nights maybe once a month, only because paying a babysitter for all of our kids doubles the cost of going out.

I’m all for going w/o the kids. Once we found a really cheap deal for a cruise and we paid my mom to fly over to watch at that time only one. That was totally worth it!!

I guess it comes down to, if someone offers… we’re gone:D

We have done weekends away, and date nights. My daughter also goes to preschool 2 mornings a week to give me some time to run errands and go to Bible Study.

My husband worked the 100 Year Boyscout Jamboree when our daughter was about 10 months old, and my mom and I took a girls only trip to DC the end of this past August (Kudos to anyone who can guess why:)).

We plan on a long weekend away for our anniversary this December, and I am going with my Mom and sister on a cruise next spring to celebrate my sister’s college graduation from a very difficult and prestigious college.

Time to be an adult and a couple is essential for my husband and I’s sanity.

Depends on the couple I guess…my parents loved bringing all five of us everywhere (grandma often comes too). I was a teenager when my parents took their first vacation alone. To my knowledge they’ve only taken two week-long vacations and perhaps one or two long weekends.

They even took us along for the 25th anniversary getaway cruise. They really didn’t have to do (we were all old enough to understand the idea of parents wanting some time off) that but they wanted all of us there to celebrate.

That was their preference though and their marriage doesn’t seem to have suffered a bit because of it.

But none of that means that I think getting away occasionally is a bad thing or that couples who take vacations by themselves are worse parents. Not at all. If you need to get away in order to keep your sanity then please take breaks!

I think my husband and I may need to take a long weekend now and then. We have a few mutual interests that, while they can be family friendly, are not little child friendly. And we have no promising than our child will grow up with the same interests. All I hope is that he/she likes Disney World because my family loooves to go to Disney World (even the men). :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey everyone… thanks for the input…

DH and do get out… we just don’t leave town without our kiddos in tow.

Awesome ideas by all…

My parents took weekend hikes often. I can’t remember HOW often. But they did. My brother’s still tell tales of cousin’s houses…it was a vacation for everyone. And of course, we did plenty as a family.

The four of us are in our mid-20’s…two are married, one single, one dating. We all very much have our own lives. Besides the big Christmas holiday party, we all have one main weekelong vacation…aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc, once a year.

My parents are in their mid/late 50’s. They are still hiking and have some decently notable accomplishments as far as where they’ve gone and what they’ve done.

The biggest accomplishment is 29 years of marriage.

Years go by fast. I’m sure that the first time I leave any future children I’ll be nutty. I am sure that they will grow up too fast. But as much as they’ll be my children forever, my husband is going to be by my side FOREVER. Neglecting that relationship would only harm the future.

The “best” family I know has 4 and one more comming. They not only do couple’s weekends, they also each take a retreat by themselves once a year. I see them strong and good…and it offers daddy bonding/mommy bonding time.

We go out on almost-weekly date nights… and my older boys spend the night at grammy’s almost weekly - we still pick up my 2yo DD… although for our 10th anniversary we went to a swank hotel for one night and she kept all 3 kids…

This summer we plan to get away for a 2-night get-away to Savannah, GA (about 5hrs away)… we won an auction at a fundraiser event for a nice B&B… so it was a good deal and I’m sure we could use the time to reconnect before our next baby is born in November. We have both sets of Grandparents in town, so they’ll share having the kids overnight the 2 nights… it’ll be a good experience for everyone, I’m sure. We fully trust our parents and think having a strong relationship between grandkids/grandparents is essential…

I think that sometimes, some young couples with little ones think that they have made a “discovery” that it’s possible to stay close as a couple even when the children are constantly with them and they never, ever use a sitter or even leave their children with grandparents. These couples think that they are wiser than all of us who are much older and more experienced in marriage and child-rearing.

I think that these couples have been influenced by certain teachings out in the stratosphere that make it seem that if a mother leaves her child alone for even a few minutes, the child will have damage done to his/her little brain. Here’s what I think of those “teachings”: :pshaw:

I would once again remind young couples with little ones to listen to and heed older couples, specifically older couples who are still in love with each other after many years, and who have done a good job raising their children.

I’m half of one of those couples, and here’s what I would like younger couples to know:

  1. A couple should make it a priority to find some time each week to be alone with each other, totally away from their children and totally free of the responsibilities of child-care. Even if they don’t want to leave their children, they should do it for the sake of their marriage. They will find that, like exercise, it feels good once they actually do it. And it’s good for them AND for their children.

  2. Children, even little nursing babies, will not be harmed if they are away from parents for an hour or two.

  3. Mommy (and/or Daddy) will not be harmed by being away from their children for a few hours!

  4. The substitute caregiver for children does not have to be a grandparent or other loving relative. Teenaged babysitters can be awesome. Or do a child-swap with another couple with young children–this is also awesome!

  5. The time that a couple spends alone together will make them better parents.

When our girls were 19 months old took them with us to SE Asia. Looking back I honestly don’t know how we survived that trip, between the fact that both my husband and I were there to get some work done and land travel with a couple of toddlers automatically turned the simplest of itineraries into an ordeal. When their pediatrician, who’d taken her children back forth to Indonesia when they were young, told us that small doses of antihistamines would make those 16±hour flights that much more bearable, I remember thinking there was no way I would ever, ever drug my precious babies. And less than two hours out of Chicago, I remember being incredibly thankful we’d packed Sudafed.

At any rate we survived. But we decided that we’re waiting until the girls are teenagers before we plan any more international trips as a family.

Couples do need some time together apart from the children. We went through a near 5 year stretch without “date night” because of our son’s health issues. His seizures were beyond the care of most nurses - let alone an evening baby sitter. My mom helped when she could but was too far away and we didn’t trust my wife’s parents to watch him (her mom was convinced he had allergies and couldn’t be trusted to give him his medications).

My wife does like the current routine we have. On Saturday morning I take our two sons out for breakfast so she can sleep in without interruption. The boys and I have breakfast at a small diner and we talk about their week while eating something “manly” (the food I shouldn’t be eating). Then we take care of things they would rather do with their dad - like go to the barber, shop for school cloths or stop by the farm supply store for things we might need.

Before E became such a huge part of our lives my wife and were very social and were out a couple times a month. Now even eating out once a month seems like an extravagance.

We just got away from going out but when ever we travel the car radio stays off and we discuss everything an anything usually with the boys watching a video in the back of the minivan.

I am sitting here with tears running down my cheeks from reading the lyrics to that song…your post is very wise…I am right there now…My husband has always invested more time and energy (love) into his work than his family so I was left with raising our sons, which I loved, but it was a lonely job at times. Now we are on the verge of being empty-nesters and I have nowhere to go for intimacy…I can’t be Mommy any more and being his wife really won’t meet my emotional needs. So where do we go from here…anyone’s guess…it doesn’t help that he’s marginally Catholic and when the kids are gone, he probably won’t even go to Mass with me any more (he faked it for their sake). We don’t share a whole lot of interests and I gave up a lot of myself while the kids were growing up.

Anyway it’s pretty much of a mess but I wanted to say I agree that keeping the marriage strong over the years is hugely important because the kid years are just a season of life and then they are gone. My husband and I just flounder these days. He seems to want me to focus my attention back on him now but I can’t seem to care.:frowning: We’re not young lovers any more, so why try to pretend? Not ready for the bath tubs in the forest commercials but that’s a problem too…for me, not him…oh, well, enough of this. Thanks for the song lyrics.

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