As much as I love being with my daughter every day, I know that a change of scenery for my hubby and I from time to time is refreshing. We, like many other couples, are very busy parents and professionals with big dreams and aspirations— a successful career, and family well-being are in the top of our priorities.
The demands of parenthood can put pressure into the couples’ relationship. Let’s face it, kids need a lot of attention so it can be easy to forget to prioritize the marriage. This can lead to arguments, disagreements, and disconnection. Not too much fuel is left in the tank at night after a whole day of work, the demands of a household, and restless children…
You are not alone!
As a relationship expert, I see couples in my private practice every day that experience this, especially the ones raising babies and toddlers. Of course, not all couples feel this way with the same intensity, that varies obviously, but most of them feel emotionally, mentally, and physically drained with the parenting role –especially in the summertime when the kids are at home.
At times, the lack of time away from the kids is not evident as a problem. It starts showing in that the marriage turns into more of a roommate type of relationship, or with conflict showing up, as well as in some cases, infidelities.
Admitting that one needs time away from the children may bring up feelings of guilt or the feeling that others might judge this need. Other parents might feel too attached to their children and could never imagine leaving them for an evening, a day or more.
It is funny how some things work in life… what might feel counterintuitive might be exactly what we need. For example, a caregiver needs to care for themselves in order to have a “tank full of energy” to care for others. The same applies to parenting: Sometimes to be the best parent one can be requires time alone with our significant other.
Benefits of Taking Time Away From The Kids
I am a parent too, so I know that you want to enjoy the ride of being a parent. Now, children grow fast so the feeding-the-baby-while-walking-the-dog phase is temporary –in no time you will be helping him with college applications forms! So, to enjoy this relatively short period of time without feeling drained and overwhelmed one needs to be able to rest and have a good time by oneself and with our spouses. It’s not only healthy for you but your kids will love to enjoy the best of you!
Now, here are some benefits of taking time away from the kids that maybe you’ve never thought about:
- Couples who take alone time are happy parents because they get to balance their lives
- Parents enjoy leisure time more than childless couples – How did grocery shopping become such a relaxing activity? Lol!
- The more leisure activities mom and/or dad experience, the less conflict between them
- Pursuing a hobby or a personal project is beneficial for your sense of self
- Parents spending time alone will be able to fill up their love tanks to do their best work as parents.
- Keeping fun alive between the couple can strengthen their relationship
- Alone time with your spouse is the perfect occasion to reconnect with each other
- The benefits of some time away are huge. It improves your health, your sex life, your productivity, your relationships, your sleep quality, and more!
Here’s something to keep in mind: Protecting alone time with yourself or with your partner from any kind of conflict or issues is important. Your time away is about enjoying being with your spouse or in solitude!
Putting The Plan Into Action
Here are some ideas that may open up an array of benefits for yourself and for your relationship with your children and with your partner:
- First and foremost, look for a good babysitter, a relative, or a friend that you absolutely trust. It’s essential to count on someone who is mature, experienced, and well-recommended. Take your time to find the right person and make sure your kids get along with the chosen caregiver!
- Have a weekly night out with your partner –this applies to childless couples, too.
- From time to time, it’s okay to take a weekend getaway with your partner to relieve stress and reconnect. Make sure to have your cell phone charged so you can stay in contact with your children and the caregiver at any time.
- Have you heard about the Kid Swap concept? Well, how about leaving your kids with a friend couple with kids like yours and that you trust for one day and you get a free day without kids from time to time. This means that you will be watching their kids once in a while too. Sounds pretty good, right? You can play around with the dates and if you are planning a weekend getaway this could be a solution, too.
- Have a file with detailed instructions to leave with the person who will watch your kids. Make sure to include essential information like, a Letter of Consent of Medical Attention, insurance cards, emergency contacts, doctor’s name and contact info, a separate spare of house keys, some money in cash, your travel info, and any other stuff that make sense to you.
Take parenting seriously and your relationship as well. Time away from the children is a way to honor your marriage to get the so much needed quality time a relationship needs. It is also the best insurance you can have to make sure that when your kids leave home, your marriage is satisfying and becomes an opportunity to live life as you used to when you were dating 🙂
To your relationship success,