You might think that travelling for a month with two small children would make me tired. And you would be right. Add on top of that family staying with us when we got home, and I was nearly postal by the time the kids’ school was about to kick in to gear (in August, really!?). Not that I wasn’t happy for family time. Seriously. But after nearly six straight weeks of sharing space with others? I was done. It’s not that I don’t like to share—but even a spastic extrovert has her limit.
The kids weren’t even ready for school: my little one didn’t have her kindergarten uniforms yet, and my older one had worn holes clear through the knees of his school pants. My bills were ominously stacked in a wire basket on my desk, threatening to teeter over at any second, and my dog wouldn’t leave my side for fear that I’d leave him again. (Although, I think he was secretly hoping that we’d legally adopt the dog walker who apparently gave him enough treats to make him quite portly in our absence).
It didn’t seem like much had changed. The only evidence that we had been gone was there were a few “replacement” plants on the ledge (not saying they wouldn’t have died on my watch, either), and there were more calls from usual saying, “excuse me – did you forget to pay your bill this month”? Yes. Yes, I did. I was out having way too much fun pretending that bills and work and schedules never existed. That’s part of the problem with vacation—it’s almost so damn relaxing, that even mixing up the microwave macaroni when you’re home seems like a lot of work. It takes three minutes!? Waiter!
Cooking was actually a relief; it was nice to have those meals that you’re used to, but no self-respecting restaurant would ever serve. The food items the kids like, their reliable cable shows that are educational and on-demand, so you don’t have to worry about them watching a myriad of commercials telling them to BUY! BUY! BUY! And those handy friends of theirs, that want them to come and play at THEIR house, so you and your significant can actually have a conversation without counting to three in the middle of it. And the babysitters. God bless the babysitters! The hardest part of travelling with kids, is that you know little-to-know people capable of (or willing to) babysit. And that ends with tired parents and frustrated kids.
My mom, (as if a blessing from above) offered to take the kids for a night. It was the first night we’d had alone in two months. And it was lovely. We even went to one of those grown-up movies; you know, the ones without animation!? By morning, we realized two things were essential to our lives as a family and a couple. The first – that travel is key to understanding different perspectives and breaking out of the “routine of everyday life”. Number two: always make time for the two of you as a couple. If you don’t, you start to wonder who that guy/girl is across the table from you is that you started a family with in the first place. That alone time together, and reconnecting on an adult level where you’re not supervising minors is an enormous asset to maintaining a healthy and happy relationship.