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The One Thing You and Your Partner Need to Be Doing (That You're Probably Not)

Photograph by Twenty20

My husband and I were recently talking to my parents about my family's plans for the rest of the year when my mom reminded me that she was willing to watch our kids for a week each year. (I know, we're super lucky.)

"It's obviously up to you, but I've noticed you haven't taken advantage of it in years!" she said.

Suddenly, it became very obvious to us that she was right—it'd been two years since we'd gone away without our children at all (that was a quick 40-hour trip to Sedona) and nearly six years since we'd gone on a real vacation without our children. If you'd asked us before this conversation if we were the kind of parents who never wanted to leave our children or who prioritized our roles as parents above our roles as spouses, we would have unequivocally told you no.

Plus, since both of us travel for work fairly frequently, we were traveling without children fairly often. As it turns out, we just weren't traveling TOGETHER without kids at all.

My husband wasn't necessarily dying to go on a vacation, but I found some very inexpensive cruise tickets for a four-day cruise out of California and we took the plunge and booked them. Once it was on the calendar with my mom scheduled to come out, we both started getting really excited about going somewhere together without our children for the first time in forever.

Why hadn't we done this sooner?!

Ten minutes into the drive to the port, my husband said, "WHY haven't we done this more often?"

Just the drive alone, with all sorts of delicious grown-up snacks that no one was going to cry over or drop behind a carseat, plus only a single stop to fill up with gas and go to the bathroom, felt like a vacation of its own. And, once we got on the cruise ship with zero responsibilites and zero internet connection, it seemed like the best idea on the planet.

We ate leisurely meals, had long conversations about our parenting, our business and our goals. We slept in every morning, took naps, went to the gym and visited the adults-only hot tub (which was packed with college students, but none of them asked us for snacks, needed help going to the bathroom or cried about their swimsuits, so we didn't care a bit).

It was such an amazing reminder of how much we really like each other and how relaxing life is without a bunch of small children around. I mean, I read three books. Three!

Why hadn't we done this sooner?!

Of course, at the end of the cruise, we were happy to get back home and snuggle our children, but we both said, "Let's make it a priority to take at least some sort of child-free trip every year."

I'm crossing my fingers that next year doesn't mean "six years from now."

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