The other day on Facebook I got involved in a conversation about vacationing. We were discussing how we felt about taking a trip without our children. I was surprised at how strongly I felt once I started talking about my views.
Before I share how I feel, I want to say that I don't judge other people for their choices. I don't think there is a right or wrong when it comes to this subject. There is a right and wrong for ME and for my family only.
I personally would not choose to go on vacation without my girls at this point in our lives. Daniel and I have always included the girls in our activities, and I just couldn't imagine leaving them at home and actually enjoying the time away. I'm sure that will change as the girls grow up, and I will definitely plan to take a vacation once they are adults in their own homes.
There are a few reasons why I wouldn't leave my children when I go on vacation, and the biggest one is the sense of responsibility I feel. I don't mind getting a babysitter for a little while, a whole day, or even for an overnight break. I do, however, feel the girls are my responsibility (along with Daniel) and don't feel I should expect someone else to care for them long-term. Another reason I wouldn't want to leave them behind is that we have never had the opportunity to take a family vacation, so I would really miss them. Finally, I really enjoy spending time with my girls and want to experience new and different things with them before they grow up and go on to live their own lives.
I definitely don't think the kids should be included in EVERYTHING Daniel and I do, and I do see benefit to having someone else watch them for short periods of time. A year ago I would have told you that I would NEVER allow them to be gone for a whole weekend "just because." However, with the struggles we have faced in the past couple months, it was a huge blessing when a friend basically told me she was kidnapping the girls from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. Daniel and I had a lot of time to talk and sort things out. We didn't do anything different than our normal routine, but we had the time to let down our guard, speak freely, and not worry about what the girls were hearing.
Couples DO need to spend time with only each other, and they do need to put an emphasis on connecting with each other. For me, though, this can be done at home, in short bursts. I'll take my child-free vacationing days after the girls are grown and I don't have children at home to worry about. I'll be able to enjoy my time away that way, too.