by Kerry Rivera
A week ago, as I got into my trusty Prius for the long commute home, I gleefully called my husband to report I was officially on vacation. We launched into the Go Go’s Vacation All I Ever Wanted, and instantly I felt a weight lift from my shoulders.
For nine glorious days, there would be no horrendous commute, no ironing slacks, no rushed mornings, no meetings, no deadlines … and no Blackberry. Vacation All I Ever Wanted, indeed. But more than that, I knew I desperately needed a vacation.
You see … the month of July was awful, and by the first week of August, I could feel myself crumbling. There was simply too much to do and too little time. The hours, lack of recognition and avalanche of assignments were no match. I started to get crabby. I found myself frequently closing my office door. I felt like I was failing at everything … and the tears started to well in my eyes. Not good … especially in the male-dominated auto industry. I knew if I could just hold out for a few more days, I would get those nine glorious days … but then what?
Don’t get me wrong, as I sit here typing away on the eve of my return to the office, I feel relaxed and happy and refreshed. Still, tomorrow, I will return to the sea of red e-mails, deadlines, meetings and internal clients who will want to know when, when, when. My pulse starts to race just thinking about it.
To be honest, there is not much I can do to control the work. Perhaps delegate a little more and take on a little less. But if there is one thing I realized as I hit my breaking point in early August, it was this – I need to do a better job taking care of myself.
Vacations come and go, and while my nine glorious days off helped my sanity, I need to do more for me in the months between those delightful breaks.
So while it is not anywhere close to New Year’s, my vacation lounging spurred me into creating a short resolution list for the remainder of the year:
1. I resolve to make it home earlier for more family dinners … I’m aiming for two nights during the week.
2. I resolve to use the spa gift certificate I received nine months ago for a much-needed massage … before the holiday madness starts.
3. I resolve to cozy up with a good book more often … even if it is for just a few minutes before bed.
4. I resolve to let the chores go … in fact, I think I might even look into hiring someone twice a month to do the dirty work so I can spend more time having fun, and less time scrubbing toilets on the weekend.
5. I resolve to seek out mini-splurges for myself … a pedicure, a bath, a special dessert, whatever I can squeeze in.
6. I resolve to find a babysitter – someone who is not family – so my husband and I can get out more often.
7. I resolve to have a monthly girl’s activity … maybe lunch with a friend, or drinks with the mom’s club, or a night out with my sister or mom.
8. I resolve to keep exercising … it’s a priority for me.
9. I resolve to enter to house when I get home from work and not immediately look at the mail or check my Blackberry … instead I’ll just enjoy the hugs and kisses and evening ahead.
10. And most of all … I resolve not to let myself get to the point where I was in early August … so stressed, tear-filled and unhappy.
A vacation can certainly bring you back to life, but you have to find ways to happily live all your days. As working moms, we’re constantly trying to deliver on all fronts – at the office, with our spouses, with our kids. But if my kids and husband only get the best of me when I’m on vacation, I’m doing us all a disservice. So I’m going to carve out some little moments for me, and commit to enjoying my non-vacation days too.
Here’s wishing you the same!