The last time I took a vacation and left the computer behind was when C was a year old and M and I went to Hawaii for a friends’ wedding.
Other than a short weekend away two years ago, each of our vacations since then have been centered on family visits. Either here or away, and have been colored by me saying things like “I’m going to be off, but I can still take care of X, Y, Z while I’m gone.”
Last Christmas I spent the week putting the finishing touches on the January issue of the newspaper. This past summer I spent every morning working on things for Tiny Prints and for another job I had taken on shortly before everyone arrived in town.
Working vacations are not relaxing. They are stressful for everyone involved. The kids are frustrated because I’m not paying attention to them. M is annoyed that I have no time for him or that I’m constantly distracted. And I’m tired because I stay up way too late finishing up stuff I couldn’t do while I was enjoying quality family time during the day.
Last Christmas I was so stressed about the paper that I essentially missed the short four days my little sister was able to spend with us before having to go back to work. And for what? For nothing, because the paper didn’t end up going to press on time.
This year I’ve cleared my schedule. I’m taking care of my obligations ahead of time. I have a couple blog posts that need to go up over the next few days, but after that… I’m off. Really, really off. As in, shut off the computer, pick up a book or a doll and enjoy my family, off.
M doesn’t think I can do it.
I don’t think I can afford not to. I need this break. I need the down-time. I need to spend a week living in the real world and enjoying the things that make all the long hours and all the work worthwhile. And while I’m at it I’m going to regroup and think about the big picture. That is, if I have time in the middle of all the holiday fun.