a case for travelling without your kids

This post is a followup from a post I wrote earlier this month on travelling with your kids. As always, there are two sides to every coin and I think both options are pretty great (for different reasons).

Some people are surprised that we put a high value on time away from our kids. Brad and I aim to get some time away once a year. Whether it be for a weekend, a week, or two weeks, we find time away from our kids is beneficial for our marriage and worth leaving the kids.

Prioritizing Marriage

Parenting little ones is a lot of work for any family. When they're as close in age as ours, there's no real break. As soon as the older one hit a stride that felt manageable, I was doubled over sick with my next pregnancy. And repeat. And now that I'm approaching two years with no pregnancies, we're just finishing potty training one and preparing to potty train another soon. These years are beautiful, but they're also a blur. And it's easy for your marriage to become bottom priority.

I've heard it said that the best gift a parent can give their children is a loving marriage, and I completely agree. Growing up, I was blessed to have parents who genuinely liked each other as much as they loved each other. We never worried about mom and dad and always felt secure in their commitment to each other. I believe taking time away to be together, just the two of you, sets the example for your children that mom and dad love each other and have a secure marriage.

Paris, France 2013 (our third babymoon)
What about the kids?

One concern many people have with couples traveling without their kids is that the children will feel unloved or insecure without mom and dad. I've heard it called selfish that parents would dare take a vacation without including their children.

It all comes down to priorities. If your children are your number one priority, above all other relationships and all other things, then yes, you might say it is wrong to do something without them. For us, our marriage comes first. We're not afraid to show our kids that they're not the most important relationship we have, we think it's healthy for them! There's a reason that so many people divorce as soon as their kids are out of the house. For all those years the kids were the overwhelming priority at the expense of the marriage, and once the kids are gone, what's left of the marriage?

Many couples cultivate strong marriage bonds without traveling alone, and I completely respect that. Other couples can't leave their children for any length of time because reliable childcare isn't available. We've had some years where we're able to leave our kids and others where we're not, but if at all possible, it's a high priority.

This may not be for every family, or for every season. I have a friend who highly values time alone with her husband, like us, but because she's still breastfeeding it's not possible to get away. None of our parents are retired and the majority aren't local, so it's hard arranging childcare for over nights. Thankfully we have other friends in a similar boat here in Montreal, so we've decided to swap taking each others kids so each couple can get a weekend away from time to time. This May, Brad is doing a marriage in Quebec City so we're making a weekend out of it and our dear friends are watching our three kids on top of their own three! We are eager to return the favour, and excited for them to get a special time away, too.


Babymoons - or vacations before a baby comes into your family - are a relatively new thing, I think. Kind of like the concept of push presents and gender reveal parties, they're another way to celebrate pregnancy and new life. I should note I've never received a push present nor had a gender reveal party, but I'm not against either concept within reason. But babymoons, which have the added benefit of leaving a couple more rested and prepared for a new baby, I'm 100% for.

When I was pregnant with our first, we happened to be in North Africa on a missions trip for two months. Not the best experience while 25-31 weeks pregnant, but go with it. En route home from North Africa our plane had a stop over in France. Bonjour, all the pastries for my growing bébé! We did what we often do to procure a free vacation and delayed our return flight. Our initial flight (including Paris-Montreal homeward) was already paid for, so we got a bonus week in France.

Let me tell you after the six weeks in North Africa it was a dream. I was also six weeks more pregnant than when we started our voyage, so a babymoon was more appreciated than ever. The trip served the dual purposes of relaxation and taking advantage of our final weeks as a young couple without children. Eating out, late night walks, looking back it was complete freedom! It was also a time, set apart from work or normal life, to dream of, talk about, pray for, and mentally prepare for our upcoming arrival. In all, I highly recommend it!

But what about after your first bébé? Should a couple continue with this practice, if possible, when they have other children at home? Absolutely! Freedom and finances were much more restricting when we were preparing for our second arrival, just one year later, so we opted for a three day trip to Chicago for The Gospel Coalition Conference. It didn't matter as much where or for how long, but that we were getting away to reconnect as a couple, before a big change ahead. 

Having a baby is an enormous strain on a couple. The joys far outweigh the challenges, but it's naïve to go at it unprepared. Babymoons have helped us head into a difficult season rested and prepared and as a united front. 

Travelling alone

This year we aren't able to travel without the kids for a couple reasons, so we've planned a family trip. Because both Brad and I are in the home (him working from home and me staying home) with our kids constantly, the time away to recharge is still needed. We've decided that in years where we can't figure out childcare for the kids, each of us will take a little time away. We have lined this time up with conferences, so we're not just resting but also being fed spiritually during this time. 

A few weeks ago, I was in Orlando alllllllllll by myself for four days. Two days were spent at the Gospel Coalition Conference, and the other two were spent reading by the pool. I don't feel badly saying I didn't miss the kids once! I came home completely recharged and ready to parent intentionally and faithfully. Last week Brad was at the Acts 29 Europe church planting conference in England and also tacked on some days at the end for personal travel. Each of us is so glad to send the other off. We know that time is important and it's worth it seeing your partner come home so refreshed and ready to dive in to our high capacity lifestyle.

Have you ever traveled without your kids?
Or even without your partner? 


  1. Yes!!
    I so agree with all of this!
    Even with our finances stretched so thin living as a family of five on a modest income we make it a priority to get away at least one or two weekends a year just the two of us. I also go on a girls weekend at least once a year :)
    Time apart is healthy!