Do it – you deserve it.
Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel shame, just go.
As parents, we need to breathe and air out; “blow the stink of us” as someone once said. Escape the home every now and then and live life out in the wild, like we used to do. Leave behind Dora, stickers and group toilet trips, trading them in for well, anything that’s not that!
When was the last time you got away?
I’m lucky, wifey (my wife) and I have worked out a healthy cadence where we each, separately, take a few weekends a year where we go away with our friends, leaving the kids for the other to parent for the weekend.
Does it mean I don’t love my kids? No.
Does it mean I’m selfish? No.
Does it mean I am a bad parent? No.
Does it mean I don’t like my home life? Not at all.
The complete opposite – it means you’re a good parent who has strong self-awareness and the ability to enjoy life.
(** Note: Now, before I get all kinds of social hate from folks who don’t have the luxury of going away, can’t find child-care options or are single parents; I’m sorry. This post is not meant to judge. I hope that you too can find time away from the kids in any way possible.)
For dads, stereo-typically, our “airing out” usually involves sitting around in our own filth, drinking, laughing, mocking each other incessantly, telling tales (mostly sensationalized) watching/playing sports and of course, farting. We rinse, repeat and come home Sunday exhausted. (think this)
As a good dad – which all of you are – you’re involved with your kids every day. You’re present and share the load at home. It’s tiring, mentally and physically, so the ability to get away and be with other adults out in the wild is healthy. Even just the quiet time in the car on a road trip sitting in total silence, energizes the heart and rejuvenates the brain.
Schedules are busy. Life is busy, so among my friends we have created two annual events a year. These annual events are getaways to look forward to and your life partner is preconditioned that they happen every year. Non-negotiable.
But don’t wait for an annual trip if you don’t have one planned.
For example, this past weekend I went to Detroit. Who goes to Detroit?? Me. I went with my brother and a couple of cousins – one of whom is expecting his first kid in a few months. While Detroit needs its own blog post because of it’s surprisingly stellar food scene in the midst of urban decay, one of the main messages I told my cousin – in between sips of beer, eating meat (so much meat), gambling, and giggling – is that it’s important to take a few days away every so often.
It grounds you. It resets the soul. It gives you time when you don’t have a little one tugging at your pocket asking for more goldfish, for the 20th time.
The flip side of this is that it’s imperative your partner get away too, so you can experience handling your kids alone. Remember, kids were raised without electricity in huts, in below zero temperatures. Surely, with so much around us today, you can figure out how to handle your kids alone for a few days. And, as a dad, lots of people won’t think you can do it – you can.
And, for your kids, they will learn that you have a life outside of their little self-absorbed worlds. They might even be curious about where you went, what you did and who you saw. They will learn to understand that mommy and daddy have friends too. Our belief is that it helps teach our kids that both parents are in control and independent. We think that’s a good thing.
So ask yourself, where are you going next and with whom?