So our weekend getaway up to the French River was so freaking amazing that this past weekend, my husband and I decided we wanted a "do-over" .... but a much quieter do-over, with less people.
[You can watch my VLOG on our first weekend getaway HERE]
So we packed up and headed back up North for another few days (somewhat) off the grid. (It's funny hour the four hour drive doesn't even phase us anymore)
This time it was just my daughter, husband and I. In accordance with our week-on-week-off access schedule, my stepchildren were with their Mom for the weekend.
As I packed up, I was reminded of a conversation I had a few months ago with an acquaintance who asked me if I feel guilty going on getaways with our daughter when my stepchildren are with their Mom.
This question wreaked of judgment. You know those questions... the ones that are less of a question and more of an accusation. Yeah it was one of those.
"Don't you feel guilty when you go away with Reese and not them?"
My answer "NoI don't feel guilty at all"
I paused, watched the look on her face, and then went on to explain.
"Do I think it would be nice if they could come with us? Absolutely. But do I feel guilty? No! We're not doing anything wrong"
Here's what really surprises people. My husband feels the same way.
With an every-other-week-access schedule we spend half the time away from them.
(By the way, have I ever told you how much I loathe the term "access schedule?")
Our life shouldn't be put on hold when they walk out the door....
When they are with their Mom they get to do lots of fun activities.
We shouldn't have to sit and stare at a blank wall, only to resume regular programming when they return.
Most importantly, our daughter, shouldn't be forced to live her life according to an every-other-week access schedule either.
Their lives don't stop when they are at their Moms, and her life shouldn't stop either.
We are very open about this with them too.
Today my stepson joked and said "Awww you guys went up North without me?"
Knowing that he went to the beach this weekend I said, "but hey, you went to the beach without us!? You're LUCKY! We love the beach"
He laughed and said I know, and we went on to talk about our upcoming Family Vacation.
When they are with their Mom, they go to parties, on getaways, go for ice-cream, have cottage weekends, movie nights, beach days etc... They do a lot of great stuff.
In fact, sometimes I worry that it will be my daughter who misses out.
Now if we were always going on vacation without them this would be a different conversation. But that's not the case.
We have lots of great traditions and always try and maximize the time we get to spend with them.
But we aren't going to say "we have to stay home this weekend because the kids are with their Mom" - It's just not going to happen.
That doesn't mean we are leaving them out, that we show favouritism, or that my husband has moved on and created a life with a "new family" - it means that we've adapted to (and accepted) the complications that come with co-parenting and having a blended family dynamic.
We're all living life to the fullest, and doing the very best that we can with the circumstances that we're in.