When I was a new parent, I used to feel a pang of envy when my childless friends went out. I envied their carefree lifestyle and the fact that they could drop everything to catch a blockbuster, take in a happy hour or get away for the weekend kid-free.
Now that a majority of my friends have kids, the envy I once felt has dissipated. I’m not jealous of when they go out, but rather, live vicariously through them. I feel that when one of us goes out, we all go out. I feel a sense of hope, as I know that the time will come when my wife and I will get our moment of freedom (and will take a taxi without worrying if it has car seats).
When you are married with kids and you learn that another couple has gotten a chance to go out, you discuss it with your partner like you're two inmates in a prison movie:
Inmate 1: Did you hear about Jim and Patty? They got out. Dinner and a movie. Won’t be home ‘til midnight!
Inmate 2: The crazy bastards. How did they pull it off?
Inmate 1: Jim’s parents. Back from Florida.
Inmate 2: Lucky bastards. I hope they order dessert.
Inmate 1 and 2: Via con Dios, my friends!
I know it sounds grim - parenting as a prison sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and being a parent is a huge part of who I am, but I also love my wife. I want to spend time with her and have time where we don't just feel like two parents.
When it comes to getting out, there are multiple scenarios you can encounter when on the lam.
- Out for a night – You just got past the prison gates and want to harass the local townies. Maybe you hideout at a movie theatre, sample some cuisine or buy a round of shots for your new friends. You know you’ll be turning yourself in before the bloodhounds come sniffing for you, so feel free to make all the Facebook updates you want. And don’t forget to tip the wait staff. They will rat you out.
- Out for a weekend – You got out of the city limits and are shacked up in a fancy hotel. Nice. Enjoy the comfy sheets, room service and in-room movies (whose names will not show up on your bill). Be sure to check-out in time and get home before the warden notices the paper mache replica of you in your bed.
- Out for a week – You fooled them all and got two tickets to paradise! The big score! Congrats! Could be an anniversary or perhaps a long sought out trip away that you really need. Enjoy, but remember one thing – don’t complain! I don’t care if the flight was bad, the hotel sucked, you got food poisoning or there was a zombie outbreak. You got away from the kids for a week and to many couples – that is a freaking unicorn! Be prepared to share elaborate stories (and a few embellishments) in the yard.
So yeah, there are all types of getaways. Enjoy the freedom you get and make the most of it. Make fun of your kids one second and then cry with guilt the next. Eat bad food and drink up! Parenting is a long stretch and getting our "us" time every once in a while can do wonders.
See you on the other side!