I squeezed both my kids tight, kissed them, and told them multiple times how much I loved them. They excitedly got in the car and they were off I always manage to hold it together until they pull away and then the tears come. I miss them immediately, and feel panic and worry about all the worst case scenarios and what ifs. So why do I send my kids to the grandparents for days at a time when it seems so difficult? Why would my husband and I decide that we want to have a couple days (if not more) each year to get away from the kids? When the tears are flowing I have to remind myself of these six things:
1. We want our kids to know that their parents’ relationship comes first.
We were husband and wife before we were parents, and we want to be intentional about taking time to get away together to be refreshed and connect. We don’t want to get years down the road to discover that we neglected our marriage. We actually started this before my daughter turned one and have managed to get away each year since. We also do regular date nights which I highly advocate, but getting away is also very important.
2. We want our kids to know they can be without us and we can be without them.
I know there are stages when attachment issues come up, but my husband and I want to our kids to know we are leaving them in the good hands of others and that we will indeed be back for them.
3. It’s good for my relationship with God.
Leaving my kids gives me the ability to trust God with them, and release them a little at a time. If I don’t do it once in a while now, I don’t know how I’ll do it when they leave the nest. Our culture today has also created a system where our children can become our idols. As parents we’re supposed to make them the center of our world and I just don’t agree or think it’s healthy. I frequently need the reminder that although my children are of utmost importance to me, they are not my whole world and I am not theirs. It’s healthy to have some separation.
4. They get great bonding time with other friends or family.
Some of my earliest and sweetest memories are of times I spent with my grandparents. My parents would drop me off for days at a time to spend with them, and I’m so glad that they did. I fondly remember eating black licorice with my papa, riding horses, or walking to the local cafe for hot cocoa with my grandma. My heart is full just thinking about those times I had and I’m so thankful my kids are getting to create special memories with their grandparents.
5. It gives me time to reflect on life and be present in a different way.
When we are always “on,” responsible for the well-being, safety, protection, and care of our littles, we can miss out on some of the things that are going on around us. On a recent anniversary getaway, my husband and I sat on a bench just watching others go by, listening to the sounds around us, and were aware of the littlest of things like texture of the bench we sat on. That’s not always possible when you’re constantly saying “Don’t lick that!” “Don’t hit your sister!” “Get down from there!” and on and on. To sit, be still, have uninterrupted conversations, and take the world in for more than a couple hours at a time brings a sense of peace and re-centering that only happens when we get away.
6. It makes me a better parent.
I LOVE being a mom and don’t take it for granted. It is a true gift. It’s also an incredibly hard job, so getting a few days away is good for our entire family. We get space to rest and miss each other so we’re ready to reengage in life together.
I am forever grateful to be a mom but I am also much more than that. I want to give attention to my health, priority to my husband and our marriage, and when I do this it makes me a better mom. I understand it’s not always feasible, and not everyone has this option, but sending our kids away is a must in our household, and a choice for which I don’t feel guilty.