“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.


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.