Why Leaving Your Kids Can Be a Good Thing

Photography by Vincent Diamante via Flickr (CC)

This weekend, my husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary by going to Chicago for four days. Alone. As in, just us, no kids. In seven years of parenthood, it was the longest we had ever left our kids. And it was amazing.

Well, ok, if we’re going to be completely accurate, it’s not the longest we’ve been separated from our children—they have spent a week at their Gramma and Grandpa’s in the summer. But staying at home, going to work and having an otherwise normal (just quieter) week while the kids are away from us, is very different from leaving the kids at home and going away from them.

The girls had a great four days, eating ice cream, going to a local fair, watching movies and being otherwise spoiled by aunts, uncles and grandparents. But the truth is, I wasn’t thinking all that much about them.

Besides the occasional pang of separation acknowledgement, we were too busy sightseeing, strolling, talking and eating (dinner at 8 p.m., no less!) to miss our kids.

Normally, we are huge proponents of doing things as a family, from eating meals to going on vacation. Our kids are a part of us, and we like being with them. We have enjoyed the occasional night away from our girls, which is always exciting, but since they’ve been around, we have never travelled as a couple, without them. We never wanted to. But 10 years is special, and I had forgotten how much fun me and the huz always have on our adventures as a couple.

Our long weekend away was liberating. The ability to channel my energy into something other than the immediate well-being of two small humans felt totally freeing, and the ability to reconnect with my husband and talk about something other than the daily slog did us a world of good. True, I couldn’t stop myself from peering into baby strollers or spending way too much money at American Girl, but I absolutely surprised myself by missing my children very little.

That is, until we were back across the border and I was less than an hour away from seeing my girls. At that point, I thought I would die from want of feeling them in my arms. It was a terrible feeling in a very good way. We’ll have to do it again, and this time, we won’t wait another seven years.

Have you ever gone on vacation without your kids?

Karen Green recently traded life in the biggest city in Canada for life in the biggest cornfield in Canada. Freed from her full-time job as a writer and editor, Karen now spends her time…writing and editing. And frolicking in the leaves with her two small girls. Karen is a speaker, the founder of Mom The Vote and the author of the blog, The Kids Are Alright, where she has been writing about the humorous and poignant moments of family life since 2005. She is thrilled to be a part of canadianfamily.ca.

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