When I was teacher, I would countdown to vacations. I reveled in the fact that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I had a chance to regroup so that I could return somewhat refreshed. I never once felt guilty about those breaks, either. I managed more than 150 kids, I was always “performing on stage” at school, and I took papers home to check every night. I worked very hard and deserved a break.
Let me rephrase that: I thought that I worked hard until I had my own kids. As a mother, I am always on. And if I am not actively on, then I am waiting in the wings, on-call for whatever someone needs.
I am constantly managing schedules, planning meals, making lunches, suffering through bedtime stall tactics, participating in school related events whether it’s volunteering, signing up for preschool (which is a post in and of itself ; I just signed up my baby for preschool).
Every task has some sort of emotional element which requires me to be giving of my time, patience, and love. As rewarding as motherhood is, it is the most demanding job I have ever had.
So if I am working harder than ever, being of service to my children while trying to be present and joyful 24-7, 365 days a year, then why do I feel guilty about taking three days off to join my husband on a business trip to Florida?
One answer: the tears. The crying that I’ll be missed is (almost) enough for me to cancel this trip. Then there is the guilt about asking our parents for help. There is also my own issues of micromanaging details of lunches (block cheddar cheese, no cheese slices), morning routine (please be sure to use all Fairy Tale Lice Prevention products, please), and the bedtime routine (please recite the specific bedtime meditation which I suspect is now being used as a stall tactic, but I’m usually so tired at the end of the day I play along).
It’s been awhile since I’ve had a real break. However, the deeper I’m in the trenches of motherhood, the more impossible it seems to get out.
How do you feel about taking a break? Do you struggle with it? Are you uncomfortable asking for help?