So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

“We’ll go when he starts sleeping through the night,” my husband and I promised each other.

We both missed those kid-free, not-a-care-in-the-world nights when we used to go out dancing. Those glorious mornings when we could sleep in til 8:00 am (8:00 am!) without a baby monitor waking us up before the sun came up.

Even though we missed those nights, we also adored the chaos of our big crazy family. With four kids between us, we never seem to find much “alone” time. But you know what? Even so, we wouldn’t change it. We both understand that someday, we will have more “alone time” than we will know what to do with. So right now, we are all-in on our “six-pack” family.

In my recent evolution from (half-time) step-mom to full-time mom, I learned that life with the littlest of littles is basically parent, work, sleep, repeat. While it is the most glorious blessing; one thing I found it doesn’t allow for much is dating of your husband!

But a few weeks ago, on a short break between sports seasons, we realized we had some rare free evenings on our hands. And miraculously, the two-year-old was still sleeping through the night like a champ.

So we finally did it.

We planned our first ever post-baby getaway.

KID-FREE.

For two whole nights!

I was as excited as a kid waiting for Christmas . . . until we got in the car to start our 5-hour road trip. I plastered a big smile on my face as I waved at the perfect little boy happily waving back at us from grandma’s arms, but inside I was trying my hardest not to cry.

He was just so cute waving goodbye! He was so sweet, how on earth could I leave him? We had talked about the trip with him, but what if he didn’t really understand? What if he got super sad when mama wasn’t there to tuck him in? What if he had an all-out toddler melt-down and drove his grandparents completely crazy while we were five hours away? Were we being selfish to sneak away like this? Would we all survive the next two days?

And was it worth it? 

A few fretful hours later, thanks to some gorgeous scenery and some quality car-time with that perfect little boy’s perfect daddy, I finally let the worry go. As we descended the steep mountain road into our gorgeous little getaway town, I was light as a feather. I felt something else, too, that I hadn’t felt since before I got pregnant: complete freedom. While I still missed the kids, I was excited my hubs and I could focus on US for two days!

And that’s exactly what we did.

We ate steaks (steaks!) and drank good wine.

We gambled.

We drank the free drinks while we gambled. (Yep–drinks!)

We stayed up late–by choice!

And I busted out some lace that hadn’t seen the outside of my dresser drawer since our honeymoon.

We laughed, we made new friends at the blackjack table (who were also on a getaway from their own big, crazy family) and we had the time of our lives!

Even though we still woke up before the sun each morning like clockwork, we had the luxury of rolling back over and snuggling up again. We got to be lazy and watch the sunrise light up our historic old hotel room while we sipped our still-hot coffee, because nobody needed us that morning.

On those two perfect days, I had more fun with my husband than I ever imagined when we planned the trip. And on that quick getaway, I also had a revelation.

It hit me that while I had been so busy the last two years being mom, I hadn’t spent near enough time being daddy’s wife

Our kid-free weekend brought us back to where it all started. I saw qualities in my husband I hadn’t seen in a while. He impressed me with his skill on the card table and his infinite knowledge of old west history. He scored major points when he let me talk him into doing an old-time picture–corset, guns and all! (And damn, does that man make a good-looking outlaw!)

I know that my husband got to see qualities in me he hadn’t seen in a while, too. I happily stayed up past midnight, instead of crashing at 10 pm–exhausted–like normal. I wore cute new clothes that weren’t old t-shirts, yoga pants, OR covered in sticky toddler goodness. I curled my hair and took the time to put on makeup and jewelry.

For the first time in a long time, I looked like my husband’s date, and not just his kid’s mom.

What surprised me most was the fact that aside from all the benefits this trip had for our marriage, it was also really good for our parenting.

We came home recharged, relaxed, and de-compressed. I was ready to play hours of diggers in the sandbox, because I had realized how much I missed playing diggers in the sandbox.

I was ready to put my focus back on the kids, because it had felt so good to put it on the parents for two glorious days. The best deal in that whole casino was the deal my hubs and I made to make our getaway an annual tradition. I’m already counting down to Kid-Free Weekend 2018, and our marriage is all the better for it.

So take it from a tired mama who is finally recharged enough to remember to be a wife, too. If you are Two of a Kind, trying to survive in a Full House; the best ace you can have up your sleeve is a quick little (kid-free) getaway!

Erika Wilson

Erika Wilson is a writer, artist, and author/illustrator of children's books living in Big Sky country, Montana. The only "she" in a family of six, she is never without inspiration for her writing or her artwork! You can find all of Erika's work and her blog at her website ErikaWilsonBooks.com.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime