If you know Jake and me at all, you know we LOVE a good trip--with or without our kids. There is something about getting out of the routine and getting out of town. Jake and I just got back from a weekend getaway, and it got me thinking just how important these trips really are. I also wondered how many parents, or probably specifically mothers, won't take those trips because they don't want to leave their kids or don't have the resources to.
When Jake and I got married we talked a lot about how we wanted to raise our kids and how we wanted our marriage to look. I can remember reading a parenting book, Preparation For Parenting, and a page in that book gave us that "aha moment." Genesis 2:18 "It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a helper fit for him." Okay, side note right here, when scripture uses this word "helper" this is the greek word "paraclete" which means "advocate" or "helper" and in scripture is most commonly referred to as the Holy Spirit. Now that that's cleared up, God causes a deep sleep to the man and creates the woman from his rib, God says they are to become one flesh. Okay so God created man, but man was not good to be alone, so then he created woman. And they were to become one flesh. Man and woman. They were good together. Then they were to go and be fruitful and multiply the earth (Genesis 1:28). So the book explains that the man and woman did not need children to complete their relationship. They became one flesh just the two of them. There is no mention of God creating man, woman, and child as a necessity for each other. Children are a result of man and woman's relationship, but are not essential for the health of that relationship. I know that may sounds harsh as a mother of 6, but it allows me to see my children as a blessing, and my husband as God intended him to be. We have to remember that when it comes to our relationships, first it's God, next is our spouse, and then our children. Our children cannot become more important than the relationship with our spouse or God.
So in the beginning of our marriage, Jake and I decided early on, that we would put each other above our children. And obviously, there are seasons where the children are much needier than your relationship with your spouse. I mean when you have a newborn and FOUR other kids to take care of, things can get a little crazy. In the days when Isabella was a newborn, I legitimately felt like a crazy person at times because all I did was feed kids, wipe booties, sweep the floor 800 times, 2 loads of laundry a day, all while looking like a hot mess because where exactly does a shower fit in that scenario? BUT it was in seasons like these that we made time for each other. Whether it was being intentional with each other on the couch when everyone was sleeping and talking about our day, or calling a sitter, getting out of the house and letting someone else do bedtime (HALLELUJAH). These moments with my husband are like a recharge. When I feel like I'm overwhelmed with the mom duties, I know that I need to spend some quality time with my husband. I need to talk to an adult who doesn't call me "Mom" 198374 times a day. I need to hear his heart and dream and talk about life over a big plate of cheese fries.
So rewind to last week...I am starting to itch for a getaway. I needed a trip with my husband for my sanity. I was up to my eye balls in laundry, tired of making breakfast, lunch and dinner, tired of the routine and just needed some time to not be needed. Is anyone relating to this?? So I just started talking to God about how nice a little 2 day get away would be. And then Jake calls and says we were invited to go on a weekend trip with our friends for his birthday. THANK YOU JESUS. So I called superwoman, AKA my momma, and asked her to take the kids for the weekend, to which she replied "Of course!" (I'm telling you she gets jewels on her crown in heaven every time she babysits). I'm totally going to be that kind of grandmother for my kids.
This trip was so necessary. I needed quality time with my husband. I needed time with other adults. I need to be able to sleep without an alarm clock. I needed to be able to have rich conversations with people I love into all hours of the night. I needed to eat great food (without kids trying to steal every bite) and drink good drinks. And honestly as I was on that trip, I couldn't help but think about how much parents need to do this. I have always been the advocate for time with your husband ESPECIALLY when you have little kids. I think if you don't make time for each other when your kids are little, before you know it, they'll be out of the house and you're looking at this stranger like, "who are you?" I've seen it happen so often. Parents become "empty nesters" and then don't even know who their spouse is because they've spent the last 18+ years focusing solely on their kids. DON'T WAIT TO DATE your spouse until your kids are a little older, out of the house, your finances are better, or you have more time on your hands, (insert any other excuse you can think of).
So if you are a momma that is exhausted by their season, loving that season, but just a bit exhausted, maybe you could use a little get away with your husband too? It is so good for the soul, that I can promise. I can also promise you, going away and spending time with my husband makes me a better mother. And maybe you can't swing going overnight, but maybe it looks like even taking a vacation day from work to spend the day together. Intentionality goes such a long way. If you are a wife reading this, your husband wants to feel loved and made to be a priority. If you are a husband reading this, your wife wants to feel loved and made to be a priority. It goes both ways, sometimes it just takes one of you taking the initiative to make the plans.
Here are some of my favorite ways to be intentional with Jake:
My kids are all fairly young and don't necessarily always eat what I cook. I typically make the kids a dinner around 5:30 and then once all the kids are in bed, I make dinner for Jake and me. Sometimes its the same dinner just eaten at a different time, or sometimes it’s something special just for the two of us. It’s like a daily date night. We settle in on the couch, get cozy with our dinner and watch our favorite show or a movie. I SO look forward to this time with him. And some nights instead of me cooking when Jake knows I'm too exhausted to cook, it looks like ordering food. It's basically a date night minus paying a sitter.
I highly recommend budgeting a sitter a few times a month. I love to get a sitter to come during the "witching hour." Just having one night of not doing dinner and bedtimes can be so refreshing! And then we will go out to eat, see a movie, do coffee and dessert, all the basic date night things.
Weekend trips don't happen as often for us, but even just two nights away can be SO amazing. Our go to place is always New Orleans. There is always new restaurants and new places to see. We've been to Houston, utilizing family that has places for us to stay. And we aren't the type that ever makes a whole lot of plans because we love to just take it easy because our schedules are always so busy.
We've taken trips to Waco, TX to meet up with friends and do the whole Magnolia experience, gone to Johnnyswim concerts, and taken adult trips to Disney (Shh! Don't tell our kids). Dream about it! Save up money and go for it!
The trip we just took was a 2 night trip to St. Francisville. We got an AirBNB, went to cute restaurants that played Zydeco music, hiked trails, and spent time with friends having really amazing conversations.
Time with your spouse doesn't have to be this big grand trip, although those are really fun, it can look like whatever works best for your schedule and your budget. Just spend some time with your spouse talking about what are some things you would love to do to spend time together!