A poolside lounge, cocktail in one hand, book in the other; uninterrupted, adult conversation with your other half over a quiet, candlelit dinner. Sound like your type of holiday bliss? Or do you prefer more family-style mayhem – splashing around with the kids in the water, a quick dinner at the first open place you can find with unbreakable crockery, half-finished conversations, that kind of thing?
I’m more of a family holiday kind of girl myself (even though truthfully, I do wonder whether it would be more relaxing to just stay at home). But if you chose option A, you could be doing your relationship a favour – at least according to one prominent writer. Author, columnist and blogger Jessica Valenti swears by an annual holiday with her husband – without their daughter.
“I love my daughter. But I love her even more when I come back from a vacation without her,” starts her column in The Guardian.
Valenti describes a four-day holiday she’s just enjoyed with her husband, free of the constraints of bedtime routines, child-friendly dinners and finding babysitters while they go for a quiet drink. And, she says, these annual parent-only trips give her daughter the benefit of having “fully connected parents who occasionally remember that before there were three, there was a loving two”.
“When you have a young child it’s easy – necessary, even – for a relationship to become centered around parenting. Your child needs you more than your partner does, and so part of responsible parenting sometimes means that your romantic relationship comes second,” she writes.
Valenti concedes that some of her friends – even those with teenage children – find the concept “absolutely unthinkable”. “But I can’t help but think that if we consistently put our children above our relationship, that both will suffer,” she says.
She says her and her husband’s trip to New Orleans has given them a “renewed energy for parenting and home life”. “And I truly believe that in the long-run, (daughter Layla) is more likely to appreciate in-tune parents than she will suffer from being away from us for a few nights,” she writes.
She may have a point. With more than 45,000 divorces in Australia each year, anything that can help couples stay connected must be a good thing. Maybe a few days alone each year can help keep relationships on track through those busy child-rearing years.
What do you think – would you leave your kids at home to go on a parents-only holiday? Tell us below.