Parents Flood Reddit With Thoughts On Why (And How) To Take A Solo Vacation From Your Spouse
Family vacations for parents are often more like a business trip. But what about solo vacations—where one parent jets off somewhere without their kids or partner? Is there room for those trips on a family's itinerary?
One Redditor's husband believes there should be, but she's not sure. She took to Reddit for help navigating the situation.
"My husband and I are in our mid-30s and have two kids aged 2 and 4," starts u/throwaway199208 in the Advice subreddit. "We have been married for 10 years, with significant ups and downs, but we do truly love each other."
Her husband was honorably discharged from the military because of injuries. But during his time in the military they moved around a bunch. Now they've settled in a place neither considers their home country.
"Wherever we have lived, no matter where in the world, my husband has always insisted that he get home to his country to do a certain hobby he loves that is accessible there," the Redditor continued. "He has made it a massive issue over the years and becomes completely unbearable to live with when he can't get home to do this hobby."
She later clarified the hobby is surfing. She goes on to say she's never stopped him from going on his solo trip even when she was pregnant and had a toddler.
"Because of his injury, there are few things left that he can do and enjoy without pain," she says. "This is why I try to accommodate him going home because I know he needs this for his happiness and satisfaction in life."
But now the husband is asking for more. Even though she feels settled, he wants to move to his home country full time.
"I am reluctant to do this because I am fatigued with starting over and want to stay somewhere where the kids and I are happy," the original poster writes. "He is saying that if we don't move to his home, then I need to guarantee him that he can go home on his own for a solo trip every year. He doesn't want the kids and [me] there because we get in the way, and he wants unlimited access to this hobby."
The husband thinks it's reasonable, but the original poster (OP) finds it outrageous.
"Every time he's gone, I have to pick up the slack and juggle everything as a single parent," she writes. "I have said to him that if he wants time off every year, then I need an equal amount of time off to make it fair. He is refusing to agree for us to have equal time off because I am a SAHM, and he can work from anywhere, so if he's on a trip, he can still work."
She wanted an outside perspective and nearly 600 Redditors delivered.
"Your suggestion is absolutely fair. Taking care of kids and home is hard work with long hours and no vacations. He wants solo trips—that is reasonable," writes the top commenter. But the commenter thought he should return the favor.
"I think solo trips or a spouse-free trip with your friends is totally fine and needed, but that's a two-way street," says another.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom, and my husband gave me the green light to do a solo trip…with friends once a year," another writes.
One therapist agrees: Solo vacations are a yay.
"Taking a solo vacation can help you appreciate your partner and your children by having a little bit of time away from them," says Katie Ziskind, LMFT and the owner of Wisdom Within Counseling. "Solo vacations that are healthy and based on self-care can be very rejuvenating."
But Ziskind says sometimes the other person may not want their spouse to take a trip without them. "Your partner may feel rejected or like you are trying to have fun without them," she says.
Ziskind suggests the partner think about why they feel triggered and address it in couple's therapy or with their own counselor. On the other hand, the person who wants to get away can also reflect on why.
"Are you trying to escape?" she advises the person to ask themselves. "You feel an urge to take a solo vacation. This might mean that you need to incorporate bite-sized, daily acts of self-care to help you feel more rejuvenated regularly."
Ziskind says even meditating 10 minutes per day can help. Still, a solo trip is acceptable. She advises couples to set boundaries. They may look different for everyone depending on personal preferences and needs but she says they often include:
- Timing it right. "If a [family] has a newborn baby, [a] partner shouldn't take a solo vacation because they feel they need a break."
- Determining appropriate activities. Ziskind says couples should talk through what they are comfortable with the other person doing alone. "An example of a negative solo trip may be getting drunk and partying," says Ziskind. But a meditation retreat that's more about reflection and self-care can be rewarding.
- Establishing trust. The jet-setting partner should be true to their word and stick to activities the couple agreed were OK. "There should be no secrets after a solo vacation," says Ziskind. "Your partner should have every right to ask you about how your vacation was."
- Making it equal. Parenting is hard, regardless of whether you're a stay-at-home, work-from-home, or work-from-an-office parent. If you go on a solo trip, be prepared to allow your partner to do the same.
In other words, the OP has a right to travel solo too. Parents should feel free to vacation solo—and that means both parents. For the best experience, make sure no one is adding additional baggage to the relationship by communicating what's cool and what's off-limits ahead of time.