This past weekend my husband and I spent our first weekend away together without our kids. For two nights! We had done weekends away without our son, but this was the first time we left since having the twins. Naturally, there is a lot of anxiety that leads up to leaving your children with a babysitter for three days. We were lucky enough to have grandparents who were very excited to spend a weekend with the kids, so we knew that they were in good hands.
I’m not sure that there is ever a ‘right’ time to leave your kids alone for the first time with other caretakers, but it is also important to be able to find time to reconnect with your spouse and find time to be together without your kids. If I’m being honest, I spent weeks before leaving the kids worrying if it was the right time. The girls sleep through the night, but Jack wakes up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom and cuddle up in my bed (a habit I’m trying to break), and I didn’t want to put that on anyone. But I did!
The first night was as I expected, Jack woke up about every three hours and tried to climb into the bed. (Much to my in-laws chagrin). The surprising part was that the second night Jack got up, went to the bathroom by himself and then went to bed. It took us leaving for him to do it by himself! He still wakes up every night, but it’s only once a night and then he goes back to bed. I can’t believe it took us leaving to help him with staying in bed!
The kids had a great time with their grandparents during the weekend, and while it was hard to leave them, it was really great for Jarrett and I to spend some time away from the kids. Not only was it a great bonding experience for us, and an opportunity to remember what it is like to spend time as a couple without kids, but it was a great opportunity for the kids to learn how to spend time away from us too.
You can always start small, and just do date nights (not overnight), and work your way up to one night, and then two if you are brave enough. The first time we left Jack overnight was at around 10 months, as we left him at home when we had our honeymoon for a week. We did a couple practice nights before hand, and he was ok. We waited until the girls were one and a half as it is harder with two babies. Was it easy leaving them? No. Do you miss them? Of course! But everyone survives, and it is SO nice to get a bit of a break from parenting.
Whether you just stick with date nights, or days, or do something overnight, the important part is finding time to spend time with your spouse and remember who you are as individuals. Being together as parents is one aspect of who you are as a couple, but spending time as an independent couple without kids can be really great in strengthening your relationship and reminding you of times before kids, when you were able to focus on each other. Remember, your relationship with your spouse is important too! Don’t forget to make time for each other.