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My summer vacation (from parenting)


Big Sur

I've always believed in the whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing.

I miss my kids.

I’m happy. But I miss my kids.

This is always how I feel on vacation. I love getting away. I need to refresh, revitalize, re-engage with my husband. Life gets too tiring if you never take those well earned sabbaticals. But still, even knowing how important it is to take those breaks from mothering and just be a woman, a partner, a tourist, doesn’t make it any easier. Why is it that your kids seem exponentially cuter, sweeter, and more irresistible the minute you lose sight of them?

I’m a firm believer in absence making the heart grow fonder. Sometimes I think the whole purpose of going away is to get that rush of coming home feelings. My husband and I try to take adult only vacations every year or two. But most of the married couples I know have never taken a trip sans children. Truth be told, they don’t have relationships I envy. My parents travelled annually without my sister and me throughout my childhood. They left me with sitters, grandparents, or teachers who were happy to moonlight for a few extra bucks. It never dawned on them to give up their romantic getaways because they were parents. If anything, being parents made them realize how badly they needed time away to reconnect and remember why they’d come together in the first place.

My mom once told me without a modicum of regret that she put her husband first, even ahead of her two daughters. I think this was a fairly common sentiment amidst our parents’ generation. It went along with the whole “children should be seen and not heard” credo. But to put your adult desires ahead of your children’s perceived emotional requisites in today’s world is to commit the unthinkable. Only selfish, unfeeling parents would abandon their little ones for a week or two of adult adventure.

But allow me to challenge those beliefs for a moment. To all of you who wouldn’t think of leaving the little ones for a little grown-up R & R, ask yourselves this: If you took a few days to focus on you, to rebuild your partnership with your spouse, to reinvent yourselves as a couple, wouldn’t that be of value to your children? Isn’t part of our job as parents to model a healthy, loving adult relationship for our kids?

So take a day, a week, maybe even two (if you’ve got willing in-laws). But get away from being a parent for a while. You’ll be astounded by who you are when you return.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

2 responses to “My summer vacation (from parenting)

  1. pajamadays ⋅

    Thank you for that reminder. My parents have an amazing marriage and took time out for themselves too, but DW and I have not been on vacation alone since our honeymoon 9 years ago. Plus, we have never been a couple without children since my daughter was 3 when we met. I take a “girls trip” every other year, but we have yet to schedule a couple’s trip. We need to make it a priority – good advice we all should be taking.

    – Emily

  2. Agreed. The benefits are enormous. We went on our grown-up vacation in February and I am already planning the next one. I hope you enjoy!

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