HOME ALONE: How to get rid of your husband and kids for two days

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The obsession began this past holiday season. I am a Christmas decorating enthusiast and turn my home upside down in November in decorating mayhem. Until complete, it is a chaotic, divorce-worthy mess.

Last year, I made my husband a deal: He and the kids would go somewhere for two days and two nights. In exchange, I would have the house completely decorated and livable upon their return.

It never happened. Instead of Christmas music, Heart’s “Alone” looped on repeat in my head. Once I realized it was nearly impossible to get two days alone in my own home, I became obsessed with how something seemingly so reasonable was out of my reach.

Why not just take a two-day trip somewhere myself, you might ask? If you have to ask, you’re probably not a mom. While a trip away does provide a wonderful recharge, the price is high. Any mom faces one or more of the following: emotional guilt trips from kids; the instinctual mom-guilt trip; days of responsibility-shifting and preparation; a destroyed house upon return; spousal negotiations; or, kids that haven’t slept or bathed in your absence.

Conversely, having a home to yourself for two days eliminates many of these consequences. The kids are off on an adventure—off being the critical word. So I did some reconnaissance with friends who have managed to achieve this goal to find out how. My error this past holiday season? I foolishly thought the suggestion would lead to the execution. But as most women know, sometimes we need to lead the horse to the water, stick a straw in there, and coach through the sip.

Here are the suggestions from successful friends:

  • Enroll the grandparents. This can kill two massive birds with one stone. What’s better than getting your kids out of your house and avoiding a trip with your in-laws? Unless you’re one of those rare creatures who loves and is beloved by your spouse’s parents, you can win points by arranging a trip that sends them their son and their precious grandchildren—without you.
  • Get with your friends and arrange a dads’ trip. Whether it’s camping, a sporting event, or a lakehouse AirBnB, most dads will be thrilled to go on an all-dads getaway if it involves something they enjoy. The kids might have to fend for themselves, but as long as there’s one responsible kid in the bunch, they’ll survive.
  • Schedule a “work emergency.” Have a trip already planned? Hang back for two days for an unavoidable work deadline. Then go meet them wherever they are and enjoy the bliss that is solo travel. Double win.
  • Greenlight his next boys’ trip—with one condition. If the hubs has requested a trip with the boys, be an easy, happy-to-accommodate wife and simply request that he schedule when the grandparents are available to watch the children. Everybody wins there.
  • Take one for the team. Have each parent take turns spending a weekend away with the kids. It’s a memory-making experience for the kids and grants you your weekend home alone.
  • Offer to complete a household task that takes all weekend. Is there a project your spouse has been nagging you to complete? Arrange for them to have a trip away so you can have a surprise upon their return. If they ask any questions, just tell them to go have fun; they’ll be happy when they get back. (Note: this can’t be a small task. Organizing the pantry isn’t going to cut it. But if there’s a big item – say, a revamp of the garage, an overhaul of the playroom, or a yard project – this is your ticket to freedom. Just be sure you can hire someone to perform the task while they’re gone.)

Is a weekend alone worth jumping through this circus routine? I would argue it is. It’s a return to self and a moment of solitude for all moms who desperately need a chance to breathe a little deeper so they can love a little deeper, too.

AMANDA PAGLIARINI HOWARD is a mom of two and digital content coordinator for Charlotte magazine and Charlotte Parent.