Menifee Mom: Sometimes, a Little Alone Time is All You Need

By Karen Thomas

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a short trip to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We had discussed a variety of options, but in the end, we settled on a local getaway.

It was interesting that my husband, who works long hours, felt bad about taking a long trip away from the kids. For me, however, time away from the kids was exactly what I was after!

When our kids were younger, we seemed to get a lot of alone time, but in recent years, kids have pretty much dominated our schedule. This is the time we need to focus on raising them, but we also realize we need to focus on each other. Someday they will be gone and each other is all we will have. I think it’s also important that our kids see that we enjoy spending time together and that our spouse is a priority. It brings them comfort and security in an unsure world and lets them see what their relationships should be like.

Thankfully, I had some great friends who offered to take my kids for a few days so we could have some time alone. Because my kids aren’t allowed to do sleepovers, it felt like a vacation for them as well. Almost every day for a week, they asked how much longer it would be until we were leaving!

My husband and I stayed at a hotel in Dana Point and then took a day trip out to Catalina Island. It was so relaxing to not worry about work, dishes, laundry, cleaning, or kids for a few days. We enjoyed exploring the beach and the boat docks, relaxing by the pool, and eating at some fantastic hidden restaurants.

Catalina Island was fun for the day. As we watched multiple kids cry and get sea sick on the boat ride, we were both happy we chose to leave the kids behind!

We took the standard route of renting a golf cart to explore the town of Avalon. That was fun, in a very touristy sort of way. The best part for me though, was the Garden to Sky hike. If I’m going to take a trip without the kids, I’m all about doing things I couldn’t do if they were with me. This hike was one of them.

It was about a four-mile loop, half of it up a steep hill. My husband, who isn’t a runner, was a good sport about doing the entire loop with me. I think he was thinking, “She brought me all the way out here just to go on a hike?” but he must love me because he never complained. Once we got to the top, the views were amazing! We could see both sides of the island, the mainland and other islands in the distance, and the crowded city and bay below.

After reading the sign warning us of bacteria in the water, we decided to skip the snorkeling and take a kayak out in the water instead. We had fun, just the two of us. It is amazing how enjoyable simple activities can be when you are reveling in the fact that you are free from four children!

During the trip, we had time to reflect on our 15 years. We’ve been able to experience a lot of different places and had some amazing opportunities to travel. We could have gone to a more exotic location and spent a lot more money doing thrilling things, but all we were really after was some time alone away from the stresses of daily life.

We went home feeling a greater appreciation for the relationship we share and, after getting a break for a few days, a greater sense of the love we have for our children as well.

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.


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