While planning a trip to see my husband’s parents in Tennessee last fall, my mother-in-law offered to watch our three girls for a couple nights so Matt and I could go on a small getaway. I immediately started researching cheap flights out of Nashville to see what our options were.
We would fly out super early and hit the ground running so we could make the most of our 48 hours. There were so many sights to see and activities to do. Who knew when we would get another chance to do something like this, so we needed to make it count. Then, we came to our senses.
A 48 hour jet-set vacay sounded exciting, but unfortunately, it also sounded exhausting. Here’s the thing. Before I had children, I took every chance to go on adventurous vacations. I’ve snorkeled in Hawaii, backpacked through Greece, and spent New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. In my current state as a mom of three children under six years old, I need a nap from just typing the previous sentence.
Truthfully, parenting has been the best trip of my life, full of rewarding yet tiring adventures. Deciding to have kids was as terrifying and exciting as the first time I went bungee jumping. Navigating toddler life is reminiscent of travelling through a foreign country without a translator. And currently, I’m trekking up the potty training mountain and looking forward to experiencing a 360 degree diaper-free view.
Seeing as my life is already so eventful, I changed my brainstorming tactic. What is something that is missing in our life right now? Nothing! Literally, nothing is missing. Our days are filled to the brim with caring for kids, household chores, work, and a multitude of other obligations. The state of having nothing to do does not exist for us anymore. That’s when I came up with an idea for our first solo adventure as parents … a Netflix and chill romantic getaway.
Matt and I were married almost 3 years before we had kids, and we had a great chill-at-home routine. I would make dinner while he kept me company and my wine glass full in the kitchen. Then, we would settle into a cozy spot on the couch and watch one our favorite shows. This was our “friend” time. We would laugh at an awful reality show or geek out on Law & Order: SVU. Nowadays, our evenings with the kids more closely resemble a mud run obstacle course complete with a chaotic and messy head first slide into bedtime. What better way to reconnect with my husband than to reenact our child free nights from long ago?
I found a cute bungalow in Chattanooga that offered Netflix access, so we carefully researched a show to binge watch and decided on Stranger Things. Then, a google map search for restaurants close by revealed a pizza AND ice cream delivery service. I know our nights used to involve me cooking but, um, no. Having children has made me despise cooking, so, again, no. Our getaway about nothing was beginning to take shape.
We told our parents about our plans and were immediately bombarded with tourist-friendly ideas. The mention of a hike to Ruby Falls and tour of a Civil War museum was met with blank stares. And that Airbnb restaurant recommendation sounds great but would involve putting on pants, so we’re going to have to pass.
The day of our trip, we left as early as would be appropriate in order to not look like we were fleeing from our children in the night. We spent a two hour car ride chatting without interruptions or pleas for snacks. Upon arrival at the bungalow, we found that the only way from the car to the house was a super steep rock “staircase.” Whatevs. Just add that to list of reasons to do nothing and go nowhere. Ask the universe, and you shall receive.
Full disclosure … we did end up riding the incline railway to the top of Lookout Mountain, and I immediately regretted it. While the view was delightful, that slow crawl up to the top of the mountain at a 72% incline was horrifying and caused us to not have enough time to finish the second season of Stranger Things. (Don’t tell me what happened! I still haven’t seen it!) We got to the top and looked around then immediately got back to our nothing retreat. Don’t make the same mistake we did.
Although I keep using the term “nothing,” this trip gave us everything. We reconnected as husband and wife and recharged as parents. Matt makes fun of me because I talk about this trip a lot. I can’t help it! I miss doing nothing so much! So, if you’re a tired parent who has been given the opportunity to get away with your spouse, consider the Netflix and chill vacation. You’ll love it. And if you don’t, it means you’re not tired enough. Get back to work.