Having a Holiday Without the Kids
It sounds like the ideal holiday. Strolling hand-in-hand on the beach followed by a quiet glass of wine on the terrace, then dinner tete-a-tete in a restaurant where chicken nuggets and smiley potato faces aren't on the menu. Sleeping in past 6am, then reading a book uninterrupted in the afternoon for an hour or two on the sunlounger, before a moonlit swim. The problem is: what about the kids?
Step One: Get the Childcare Sorted
Going on a holiday without the children is one of life's many luxuries – if you can swing it. While we all love our offspring dearly, having the chance to leave them behind and be a carefree grown-up, if only for a weekend, can be extremely liberating - and a fab way to rekindle your relationship.
Your first obstacle will be to find decent childcare. If you already have a nanny or childminder, ask them well in advance if they can come to you full-time for a weekend or a week. Be prepared to pay extra, of course, and make sure you give them plenty of notice. If you don't have easily accessible childcare, it may be time to call in a favour. Ask your parents if they can come for a weekend, or a friend.
If your kids are older, you may entice them with the thought of summer camp, or ship them off to the grandparents. You may even be able to agree to their staying with friends during your absence. Make sure both you and they are entirely comfortable with the situation before leaving, and if it works, do your friends the same favour in future. Rotating childcare can be a godsend.
Some parents call in nanny agencies to look after their kids, which is expensive. You also will have your child or children staying with a stranger, albeit one with a CRB check, which many parents are not comfortable with. Getting someone your children know is always preferable, and make sure you always leave full emergency contact details, instructions and extra sets of key with a neighbour.
Step Two: Talk to the Kids
Some children may resent Mummy and Daddy going away, especially if you have never left them behind before. Hopefully, you will have childcare which they approve of: fun Auntie Sophie, for example, not that dreadful old Mrs Higginbottom from down the road. Secondly, you will have explained that you're coming back very soon, that you love them very much, and that even the most devoted parents need a break on their own from time to time.
Most kids, especially older ones, understand that leaving them for a short period of time isn't the end of the world. If you kids are younger and/or more clingy, reassure them the best you can. Tell them how proud you are of them that you can leave them for a day or two, that you'll ring in from time to time, and that you'll miss them. Most importantly, promise to bring them back a special souvenir when you come home. That could make your absence worth it!
Step Three: Don't Worry – Relax!
By now your childcare is sorted, the children are happy with the arrangements and your reservations/tickets are booked. The final step is to take the time to enjoy your holiday. All too often parents not used to being apart from the children spend all their time worrying about them. Falling into that trap will ensure your holiday is as stressful without them as it would be with them. Don't do it!
A good relationship needs to be nurtured, and getting away from the children is one way to do it. Making time for the two of you as a couple is important, but remember that planning romance isn't as bad as it may sound. If you take time to have a much-needed break together, hopefully the romance will follow. It's time you both had the holiday you deserve.