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Should you vacation without your kids?


Every summer my husband and I take a short vacation without our kids. When we started, I was opposed to the idea but it was forced upon us. My husband's company has an executive retreat each summer in which spouses are welcome, children are not.  This first year, I felt SO guilty leaving my kids for four days to go off to a resort. But I quickly realized the benefit of being with my husband  without my attention divided.

I was listening to NPR's The Takeaway this morning and I heard this question posed to the listeners: Vacation: Should we bring the kids?

Most of us these days are on a tight budget and/or limited in usuable vacation days. If we do take vacations, we want the quality time with our families. But should parents sacrifice a family trip for time to themselves?

These days, as my kids near college age, I'm desperate to get any quality family time I can get. I don't want to give up family vacation. 

Yet, I have discovered through personal experience that leaving behind the daily grind and spending leisure time with my husband and no kids gives us an opportunity to reconnect.We come back a stronger team to tackle the parenting issues that inevitably arise in our daily lives. Each summer when we attend the retreat I feel less guilty leaving my kids behind.

For many parents, dropping the kids off somewhere and spending a week at a five-star hotel can be anywhere from impractical to impossible. But Katrin Schumann, author of “Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too” says that kind of vacation isn't necessary. Oftentimes, parents can reenergize by doing nothing more than taking a walk or spending time pursuing personal interests, she says. If you can swing it, I think an overnight trip alone with your spouse is ideal. It doesn't even have to be expensive...a nearby budget hotel on the ocean or on a lake will do as long as you both leave your smartphones, laptops, worries and guilt behind. 

"I can see why parents would feel guilty being away from their children, "Schumann says, "but what they don't understand is that if you take a long-term perspective on this, very often it's the case where getting away and re-energizing and reconnecting with yourself makes you a better parent in the long run."

What are your thoughts about vacationing without your kids? Have you ever done it and if now, would you consider it?