There aren’t many things that get a parent of young children more excited than the idea of having some ALONE time. You know, time without the constant tiny voices asking for something to be wiped, something to eat or drink, and something to do?
When I was planning what to do for Bryan’s birthday, I had thought of taking a weekend to go visit Atlanta. Or Charleston. Or even Charlotte. We are blessed to live in a city where we are driving distance to all these great destinations. The more I thought of booking a hotel, researching restaurants, and activities to do – I was exhausted. INSERT the idea of having a STAY-CATION in the city we currently live in!
The idea of having a weekend to actually have a full conversation without interruption; go shopping without having to manhandle a tantrum-throwing toddler; or simply enjoy a hot cup of coffee while sitting in our living room – in total silence – seemed heavenly.
As a couple who has been together for six years and had children for four and a half of those years, we have had our ups and downs – as any partnership does. We found ourselves in a place earlier this year where we had forgotten to give one another the attention that we so desperately needed to continue building a strong marriage. We worked, we slaved for our kids, and then at 9:30 PM we crashed in bed without so much as a kiss.
So we decided to start taking more time for US.
And here’s how:
1) Date nights (at least two a month) that we planned and looked forward to.
2) Earlier bedtimes for the kids to allow us at least two hours to have to ourselves.
3) Working out together and consistently which made us feel better about ourselves and in turn – sexier to our partner!
4) I planned a stay-cation!
What is needed to plan a STAY-CATION? Here are my recommendations:
First, find a caretaker for the kids and set a date!
It is VITAL for all families to have a trusted friend or family member they can reach out to for assistance in keeping the kids overnight for at least one or two nights every couple of months. If you don’t have someone in your local area, it’s time to make some friends! There are resources on social media, local blogs, playgroups, church groups – find someone who you trust to watch your kids. We don’t have family in our area, so we have had to find others to help us out and thankfully, we have a large support network that is always there step in! And let me tell you – my kids usually have a better time hanging out with their extended family than they do with us. (See photos of my kids riding a PONY during their time away!)
Second, Make a LIST of local places or events you want to attend!
Here in Columbia, SC we have an awesome market on Main Street every Saturday morning called Soda City Market. We don’t get to peruse the booths very often with the kids because they get bored easily – so I wanted to leisurely stroll through that. We also had a couple restaurants we were dying to try that we knew our kids wouldn’t be all that into. Dig into your city with online resources or friends and co-workers and find some cool stuff to do!
Third, Ask your partner what they want to spend a few hours doing uninterrupted!
Haha….I know what you’re thinking. But, no, it doesn’t have to be SEX. Although, that can be an option! Wink, wink. For us, Bryan loves playing guitar and doesn’t get a chance to do it for hours on end because when he’s home he’s usually doing yardwork, tending to the kids, or we are out running errands. And I love reading, writing, and lounging by the pool. So, that’s what we did. It can be shopping at your favorite resale shop (which I did that, too!); kayaking; hiking; boating; refinishing a piece of furniture – whatever your heart desires! Think of the things that you want to do that you can’t seem to fit into the day with kids and DO THAT!
Fourth, GET SEXY!
Yes, now, I’m talking about sex. HAVE IT! Hold hands as you stroll through the shops during the day, kiss in public, hell- make out if you want to! No one’s judging. (And even if they are, who cares? – you’re kid-free!!!!) Wear a sexy camisole to dinner and then come home and get frisky! Take advantage of feeling rested and being home alone where no one will barge in on you two having some sexy time! Play some soulful music, light some candles and be cheesy. Seriously – as parents, when do we get to do that? So, make time for it!!!
Lastly, THANK EACH OTHER.
Being a parent is a gift and a privilege. Being a parent with a partner is an even greater gift and privilege. Acknowledge your partner and all that they do to contribute to your life and household. Take the time to communicate to your partner how much they mean to you – not just as a co-parent, but as a partner in life. Talk about your dreams – where you want to vacation, where you want to eventually live, what your kids will grow up to be…..how you see life together in the next 10-20-30 years.
Now, tell me….when is YOUR stay-cation going to be?