This week my husband and I went on a trip to Puerto Rico. Six days, no kids. Glorious. We started going on yearly couples vacations after my youngest turned one. Lately, we've upped that to twice a year. Because we can.
Here's some A-line coaching for you: go on a vacation and leave your kids at home with a sitter.
I know many of you think you can't. And for the moment, you may be in a season of life that makes it harder. You have a child who is frequently unregulated and you don't want to leave that responsibility to someone else. You're nursing a baby. You don't have anyone to watch your kids. Maybe there are financial concerns.
I get it. This didn't become a regular thing for us until we had been married 15 years. There were many years when I had all those same issues.
But here's the thing. There are many of you who think you can't, but if we opened your mind up -- you would realize you actually can. All those years I thought I couldn't, thinking back, there were lots of ways I could have made it happen if I had known how important it was and how to access the creativity to find solutions to my obstacles.
It doesn't have to be far away, and it doesn't need to be expensive. It can be a single overnight in the town next door. You may not have family nearby, but do you know a college student who is great with children? Could you fly your children to stay with your parents or an aunt? Could you use a reputable sitting service with a couple of trial runs before you leave? Does your child have a good friend they could spend the weekend with? Children are often much better behaved when the adult on duty is someone outside of their normal.
This weekend I watched "The Rescue" on Disney Plus about the boys who were pulled from the Thai cave in 2018. Incredible movie; check it out.
As they're discussing how to get those boys out once they were finally located, the cave dive team -- the best divers in the world -- said that it was absolutely impossible to dive the children out of the cave. They said, "It can't be done."
But then US airforce pararescue MSgt. Derek Anderson asked the single most important question you should always ask yourself anytime you realize you're thinking that something can't be done. He said,
"BUT WHAT IF IT COULD?
WHAT WOULD THE IMPOSSIBLE LOOK LIKE?"
Boom. The dive team started brainstorming and said that if they could sedate the children, they might possibly be able to pull them out of the cave.
They contacted doctors who all told them it was a terrible idea. There are so many ways the children could die if they were anesthetized during the hours-long trip through the underwater tunnels .
But the rescuers kept pressing, and eventually one doctor came up with a plan for sedation that he said could possibly work. Maybe they might get one or two of the boys out alive.
With no other options, they developed the plan, ran the drills, tried to come up with solutions for each potential problem, and then they forged ahead knowing that if they didn't, ALL the children would die.
And do you know what happened? Every single boy in that cave was rescued alive. All because someone refused to accept impossibility.
So look, going on a vacation with your spouse isn't like rescuing boys from a cave. And I'm not suggesting you sacrifice your child's safety in any way. But getting away IS important. And there are almost always ways to make it happen. My husband and I had a great marriage before we started going on vacations, but it's hard to overstate the extent to which it has improved since we started making it a regular practice.
Getting away together reminds you that you are more than co-parents, you are fascinating people with interests that go far beyond your kids. The new experiences, the smells, the adventures stimulate your senses and create long-lasting memories that help to bond you. It injects novelty into and invigorates your sex life. It provides relief and rest and a chance to focus on your most important relationship. And when you get home, you're a better parent because you've had a break and because you and your partner are more connected.
So if you think you can't go, think again. And if it truly isn't in the cards for the next few months, plan one for the future. Even just beginning the planning process is exciting and bonding. Where will you go? What will you do? Where will you stay? Make it happen. I promise, you'll thank me.