Today I didn’t work. Well I worked for about 10 minutes. At least 10 minutes of business work. Instead I had a homemaker day. I did the laundry, dropped off a broken picture at the framers, bought a new battery for my computer, had lunch with my mom (who bought me a new outfit!), picked up some table clothes I said I would get for the church potluck, signed up for the women’s retreat, scheduled an appointment to get our truck fixed, wrote a few blog posts. (Does that count as working? I would like someone to pay me for this but for now it is more of a hobby that takes away from making money.) While I wasn’t exactly sitting around, I took the day off. I know I get 2 days off every week but, somehow weekends are never weekends when you are a working mom. They are more like crazy catch up days. If you are lucky they end with everyone landing on the couch for a relaxing popcorn and movie night before going back to the hustle and bustle of work and school. If you are like most of us it ends with last-minute homework panic and get ready for the week prep, yell at the kids to take the wash-off-the-weekend-stink shower and then stay up too late trying to eek out the last moments of freedom before you return to the work week.
Which leads me to a day off.
In my current flexible employment I was lucky enough to see that I had a slow day and have a friend who reminded me that crazy was just around the corner and I handle crazy better when my home is in order so I should embrace a day off. But she warned me not to take the day off and get distracted with nothing, I needed to make it happen.
When my work schedule was less flexible and taking a day off required planning, permission and vacation pay, I still found myself taking these days occasionally. Usually they came when I was about to snap. House too messy, family to scattered, friends to lost, grip on my sanity loosening. I would schedule a day off in the middle of the week and unashamedly go into homemaker mode. Yes people would ask me what I was going to do on my day off and I would say, “nothing”. There is a sense that you somehow must have a purpose for taking a vacation day. Like a vacation, an appointment, a school event, a sick child. Who takes a vacation day to clean the bathroom and have coffee with a girlfriend?
I do. And I would like to propose you should too.
Those days off were more relaxing and refreshing than any other vacation day I took. Yes, family vacations are fabulous too but in a different way. I know vacation days are scare and I know you are trying to save them for a vacation or when your kids are sick or an emergency arises but I would like to propose that your mental health is an emergency and taking a day off to refresh yourself is a very good way to spend a vacation day.
Maybe you aren’t as tightly strung as me and don’t care if your house is in constant chaos, but I bet you miss working on crafts or an art project or you miss being able to walk through a museum without being rushed or you would like to do your Christmas shopping not on the busy days of the week. Whatever it is that you would desperately like to take a day off to do, take the day off and do it.
Remember when you are flying and the safety tips are being given. They tell you how to put the oxygen mask on if there is an emergency. But they also tell you that if you have young children to put your mask on before helping the child. As parents our instinct is to help our child first, as women we give to everyone else before we take care of ourselves but, if we don’t help ourselves first we are no good to our children, our husband, our home, our work, ourselves.
So take a day off, get some stuff done, feel good and then go back and make a difference for your family and your work.
What are you going to do on your day off?