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Time away from kids is vital to any couple

Before becoming a parent I had a chance encounter with a couple in a hotel in Kilkenny.

My friend was treating me to an overnight break to celebrate my engagement and this couple was enjoying their first night away from their daughter who was three years old. I was shocked that they'd never had a romantic night away from their daughter, especially when they admitted they'd turned down several babysitting offers from willing grandparents.

Turn the clock forward two years and I had a one-year-old boy, a honeymoon baby who arrived nine months and two days after our wedding. Unlike the devoted couple I met in Kilkenny, I jumped at an invitation to abandon my son for a few days and visit a luxury spa in Thailand with my husband.

Aside from it being a complementary trip to one of the world's most celebrated spas, it also presented us with the opportunity to enjoy some quality time together, something we'd been lacking since junior had arrived.

We packed our darling son off to his auntie's farm in Galway for a week and, knowing he was in safe hands, with grandparents close by and two doting cousins, we flew off for an unforgettable break in Chiva-Som.

Almost a week later I rushed back to Ballyglunin, tanned and toned after five days of healthy living, to be greeted by a nonchalant little boy who was far more interested in his auntie and uncle than his returned mother.

Apparently, he'd had such a good time that he didn't even notice we were missing.

I'd spent the week visualising an emotional reunion with the light of my life and was a little taken aback when I saw how apathetic he was to my return. Disappointment was quickly replaced by calm when I realised my little boy was quite the easy-going child who didn't fret.

He's six now and is as content as ever to go away overnight at a moment's notice. He has sleep-overs in friends' houses, spends short breaks back on his cousins' farm and loves over-nighting in his grandparents' houses.

I'm not suggesting the week's holiday in his tender years is the reason for his independent streak, but I do feel it could be something to do with it.



exotic

Since my Thailand excursion, I've had plenty of trips abroad for work, but it's increasingly hard to find babysitters for three young kids. That means I have to leave my poor husband at home as a single parent while I jet off to exotic places like St Lucia, Santorini, Phuket or Biarritz on assignment.

Time apart from each other is undeniably healthy in any relationship and we both strongly encourage each other to take weekends away with our buddies, so we can park our parental responsibilities for 48 hours.

But time away from the kids together -- even if it's only a single night in a local hotel -- is also an essential way to keep the romance alive in a relationship.

Parenting is all-consuming and sometimes allows you to forget that you fell in love with each other before the kids were even a twinkle in your eye. Do your relationship a favour today and plan a night away that will rekindle that spark. Think of it as an investment in your future.


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