Last weekend, Joe and I rented a cabin up in Wisconsin for a little adults-only mini-vacation. It was the first time we’ve been away overnight since Lillian was born, and it was by no means a long trip — we left on Friday afternoon and came home Sunday afternoon, during which time Lillian was in the capable care of her loving grandmother (aka my mom).
It was pretty low-key as far as vacations go. There were no big events or sightseeing tours, just the quiet beauty of forest and farmland surrounding the cabin where we stayed. In some ways, it felt like we completely left civilization — the cabin was so secluded that you had to drive through a shallow creek in order to get to it.
But despite being so far from civilization that there wasn’t the slightest hint of a cell phone signal, the cabin also came equipped with every comfort you could want. Like a kitchen with a full stove and refrigerator, and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player. And most surprisingly, there was even a nice fast wireless internet connection.
The wifi turned out to be really useful, since our cell phones were useless for making calls and we couldn’t seem to get the landline phone to work. Did you know that you could make actual phone calls, to people’s phones using their phone numbers, through Gmail? I don’t think I was aware of this possibility before the cabin trip. But it was really nice to be able to call my mom just to check in that everything was going well while we were gone.
Another noteworthy aspect of the cabin was the front porch, which featured rustic style wooden furniture and a panoramic view of the forest.
And when you’re staying in a cabin in the middle of the woods, it’s probably only a matter of time before some wildlife wanders by.
One of the best things about the cabin was the hammock slung between two trees outside. It was large enough and strong enough to hold up two people, and wonderfully relaxing to lie in the shade drifting gently in the summer breeze after feasting on a big block of Wisconsin cheese.
All in all it was a nice little getaway, and even if it was only for one full day, Joe and I came home feeling relaxed and refreshed.
But moving on to the second part of this post, I wanted to talk a little bit about the whole concept of parents taking kid-free vacations — because when you read enough parenting blogs and websites, you’re bound to run into the mentality that raising a healthy well-adjusted child requires the physical presence of a parent 24/7/365.
Take for instance discussions like this one about how selfish it is for mom and dad to leave their baby to go on vacation, or this advice piece by Dr. Sears, the founder of “attachment parenting” philosophy, which seems to suggest that it would be better to take a toddler along on a trip to Africa than to leave him behind with his grandmother.
While I’m sure you could just as easily find discussions and advice pieces that swing in the other direction, in general there seems to be a lot of guilt-tripping and judgement about the One Right Way to balance parenthood and family life with your relationship with your spouse. But my personal equation is that happy relaxed parents = happy relaxed baby = happy relaxed family, and I’m fully supportive of taking a weekend on occasion to relax, recharge, and reconnect.
What do you think of kid-free and baby-free vacations? Have you ever taken one? And if so, have you faced any kind of disapproval or criticism for it? Feel free to leave your thoughts or stories in the comments.