Despite the joys and rewards of being a parent, the responsibility of raising kids often leaves parents with little time and energy to nurture their marriage. This isn’t just unhealthy for your relationship with your partner. It can also affect the way you relate to your kids. Add to that, kids grow up and bring to their own relationships what they witnessed growing up. So, nurturing your marriage will benefit your entire family.
A retreat away from the responsibilities of home and kids is a great way to re-ignite the spark and nurture your relationship and may be more doable than you realize.
A WEEKEND CAREGIVER
A significant hindrance to getting away for many parents is finding suitable arrangements for the kids. Relatives are often a great source. Even if they don’t live close by, it may still be a feasible option. If your parents or relatives live a distance away, ask if you can leave the kids with them for a night or two the next time you visit. That makes for a great bonding experience for grandparents and grandkids who don’t get to see each other often.
Another possibility is to ask a friend or neighbor with kids similar in age to do a weekend exchange. It might be just the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. Or talk with the parents of one of your child’s friends. Suggest planning future weekend sleepovers in advance so each of you can make the most of your weekend of freedom.
You could also pay a trustworthy young adult you know to spend the weekend at your home to care for your kids. Be sure to discuss the payment upfront to avoid misunderstandings.
Another option, offer your kids a fun-filled week away at summer camp. This can serve double duty. Look for a camp that suits your kids’ interests. Then make the most of their time away.
GREAT ESCAPE WEEKENDS
Regardless of where you live, you can likely find plenty of escapes within a half-day’s drive or less. Or consider hopping on a short flight for more choices. Here are a few ideas:
- A Dude Ranch – Spend a weekend cowboy style at one of the many dude ranches around the country. Enjoy horseback riding, wagon rides, hiking, fishing, cowboy cookouts, dancing, relaxing in a hot tub and lots of Western charm.
- Golf Getaway – Choose from one of many weekend golf packages, or create your own by making hotel reservations near some of the courses you’ve been dying to play.
- Bed and Breakfast – Find a romantic bed and breakfast in a quaint town with old-time charm. You can stroll through historical neighborhoods, window-shop, enjoy local eateries and old-fashioned ice cream, take a riverfront walk, and check out historical sites.
- A Trip Down Memory Lane – Remember those carefree days before the kids came along? Make your reservation at a hotel in the area where you met. Then spend the weekend revisiting your past. Eat at the restaurant of your first date, visit parks you frequented, or even reenact some of your most memorable dates.
- Lover’s Lane Delight – Find accommodations with an in-room Jacuzzi, then dedicate your first evening to a mini-shopping spree at Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood. Choose apparel for each other to try on and discover what you each like. Then spend the weekend savoring each other and rekindling the romance. Don’t forget to bring fragrant candles, a portable stereo, your favorite music and other fun stuff for your weekend.
- A Weekend of Culture and Class – Buy tickets to an area play, musical or event. Then choose a top-notch hotel with fine dining and luxurious rooms near the event. Don’t forget to take along your best attire.
- Mystery Weekend – Try out a mystery weekend adventure. Search online or call your local travel agent for upcoming mystery events. But be prepared. If you’re not the murderer, you could wind up being the victim yourself.
- Amusement Park Fun – Get in touch with your inner child. Make your reservation at an amusement park resort. That way you can take breaks and come and go as you please all weekend.
- Music Lover’s Weekend – Buy concert tickets then plan a weekend of musical merriment. Reserve a room near the concert hall. Then catch a cab for a guaranteed designated driver.
- Festival Fun – Contact your visitor’s bureau, chamber of commerce, or check out an online event directory to discover upcoming festivals. Then book a hotel reservation in the area.
- Camping and Canoeing – Enjoy a weekend of relaxing fun, sunshine and sleeping under the stars. Find a canoe rental facility that offers riverbank camping and overnight trips.
- Second Honeymoon – Renew your vows and take a second honeymoon. Write your own promise to recite to your partner. You can also exchange gifts that represent your renewed commitment to each other. And don’t forget the honeymoon suite!
- Make it a Surprise – Pull this off, and you’ll have your partner eating out of your hand. Concoct a story about going to dinner, to an out-of-town furniture store that you’ve been dying to visit, or whatever it takes to get your partner on the road with you. When you reach your destination, act confused, and explain you got your directions wrong. Pull into a hotel parking lot (conveniently where you’ve already made reservations). Then say you’ll run in and ask for directions. After you’ve checked in, see how far you can drag your partner along before your partner discovers the surprise.
- Research and plan your weekend getaway, so it isn’t over before you get started.
- Talk about your wants and expectations with your partner beforehand so you don’t arrive with different ideas that’ll lead to disappointment. Come to a mutual agreement that meets both of your needs so you’ll both come home feeling renewed.
- Discuss costs and spending in advance to avoid arguments that could ruin the weekend.
- Turn your cell phone off to avoid unnecessary interruptions. But also give the phone number of where you’ll be staying to the sitter. Remind the kids to call you only in an emergency.
- Finally, keep in mind some things might not go as planned. Take it in stride and be flexible because the weekend is just about renewal and enjoying your time together.