Recently someone sent me an email in response to my {ask me questions} post and their question went like this: I always love hearing about your vacations/missions trips etc… But as a working mom with a workings husband and 3 kids we can’t ever seem to come up with space in our budget for all of that.. How do you guys make trips happen financially? Hope that’s not too personal. Thanks! Love the happy hour!! –Laura

Laura this is a great question and it’s actually one that I’m quite fond of. Aaron and I talk all the time about how important date nights are for our marriage, but something else that’s important to us is getting away together for an extended amount of time. Whether that is one night, or seven nights, we see the value in spending time as a couple away from our kids.

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The first time we ever got away as a couple after we had kids, our son was about 7 months old and Aaron surprised me with a trip to Chicago. I was still nursing, we had never left him before, and we had hardly any money and yet we saw the value in this and made it work. I say those things to show you that it’s not about getting away when your kids are older or when you have more money. You have to see that you can do it no matter what stage of life you or your kids are in.

When I dropped off Cayden at our friends house I handed her no less than 3 typed out pages of notes about him for our little 72 hour get away. When he ate, how he ate, what he ate. What toys he loved, which ones he liked sometimes, and which ones I brought anyway even though he sometimes doesn’t like them, but thought she might need them. How he liked to be held, and how he didn’t like to be held. Nicknames we called him, and songs we sang to him. As I was going over the files of papers I had created for her, Aaron was making the trips back and forth to unload all the gear we brought over. Car seat. Jumping thingy. High chair. Pack n Play. Exersaucer. More diapers. Frozen breast milk. Bottles he liked, and bottles he loved. Y’all it was crazy what we went through to leave him there. Keep in mind this wasn’t her first rodeo. She was a mom of three teenagers and clearly knew how to take care of a seven month old!

What happened that weekend was that we discovered how important those nights away were. It’s funny that even then we had no idea God would bring three more kids to our family and those little get away’s would turn into the breath of fresh air that we would need. We discovered over the weekend how much we needed time to talk about us and not just the cute baby we had made. We ate late night dinners, stayed in bed forever, walked around the town like we owned the place, and basically did anything we wanted to do because we could. There were no kids meals, no strollers, no kids peeing in the bed. Although I did have to pump a few times a day and throw the  milk away (oh my gosh that was torture and if you have ever fed a baby with breast milk you understand why I shed a few tears as I simply poured the milk of gold down the drain).

Since that trip we have made it a priority to get away without our kids.  For us this isn’t just about needing a break from all of these kids, but it’s all about needing to be with the person that gets me. Needing to be with my companion. Needing to be with the  man God has given me to walk through life with. Yes getting away from the chaos of life and kids is a huge benefit, but the biggest benefit for us is the time we get to invest in each other. We get to remember the most important person to us.

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Our trips have looked different throughout the years because of kids, life and money. When we were adopting from Haiti, we hardly ever got away because any extra money we had was spent on flying us to visit our kids. That was a hard season for us in so many ways, and looking back I wish that we would have taken a weekend to get away even though at the time I felt so selfish doing that. What I know now is that it wouldn’t have been selfish, but it would have been life giving.

Getting away with just your spouse gives you time to focus on each other. These trips are important at any stage of mothering, but when I had little ones crawling over me all the time these trips were so wonderful for me. I truly was able to focus on Aaron and on us because there was no one else needing my attention. Having sex without a baby monitor buzzing in your ear is a wonderful thing!

A few years ago I went through a discipleship program at church and at the end we were taking a trip to London to serve with an organization there that seeks out unreached people groups in the city to love on and hopefully eventually tell them about Jesus. My entire group consisted of moms, and between the seven of us we had seventeen kids. We were crazy, busy moms with lots of little babies. For some of us the thought of leaving our babies to fly across the world was daunting and a tad bit crazy.

My friend Leslie reminded us of our first calling. Our calling above motherhood, and above marriage. Our calling to Jesus and the gospel. First and foremost we are a disciple of Jesus and that is something we need to remember as moms. As I look back over my life and the amount of times I have left my kids to go do mission work, no doubt it is scary, but it is so rewarding. For my kids to see a momma that will travel to Haiti again and again to visit her babies, is a wonderful thing. For my kids to see a momma that will travel to London twice to share the gospel, is a value I want them to have. For my kids to see a momma that will travel across the world to Uganda to meet the physical needs of children, is what I would want of them. I want my kids to see a momma that loves to do Jesus work. I want them to see the value in going wherever God calls, even if it’s scary or inconvenient, because let’s be honest leaving your kids is sometimes both scary and inconvenient.

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Now you are probably thinking, this is all good and I agree with all of this, but we can’t afford any of this. I have no idea what your finances look like, but until you have made sacrifices to see if this will work don’t be so quick to say you could never get away with your man. When we went to Chicago that first time we had hardly any money. Literally a year earlier Aaron had sold a guitar to pay rent. People we knew what it meant to live paycheck to paycheck. We also knew that this was important and so we made it work. We put aside a small amount of money each month towards this. Little sacrifices each month equaled a weekend getaway one time that year.

Over the years we have made more money, but we still continue to budget for this. We have spent weeks away and weekends away, depending on the season and the budget. You don’t have to fly to Paris to make it worth it, you could drive to the cute little Bed & Breakfast in the next town over and that’s a perfect getaway. You could find a great deal at a hotel in your own city and have a staycation.

Besides money the other obstacle for people is usually the fact of leaving their kids. I told you my story of leaving my 7 month old for the first time, but there have been many other first times for us. The first time we left Amos and Story after they came home probably looked a lot like the first time I left Cayden. Lots of instructions, lots of notes, lots of plans. Sometimes getting the kids ready to leave is the most stressful part of the entire trip. Many times we have been on trips and my kids have been at four different houses. Use your friends. They love your kids, and reciprocate the favor when they get away as well.

I want my kids to see parents that value their relationship and will do whatever it takes to help it flourish. One of the main ways that we do this is to get time alone together each year. You too can do this. It takes work. It takes planning. It takes sacrifice. BUT it is worth all of those things a hundred times over.

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