My big kid spent spring break in another state, with my ex-husband. Early in the week, we were talking on Skype and we had the following conversation:
“What are you doing for spring break?”
“Nothing too exciting. I’m going to work, pretty much like usual.”
“But don’t you get a vacation?”
“Yes, but I’m just using it to work.”
“But does anyone at your work take a vacation?”
“Yes, some do. I know some people are going to visit their families. One person is going to Disney World with his family.”
“So how come you aren’t doing anything fun?”
“Well, I’m trying to get caught up because of time I’ve spent with you, and your brother and doing family stuff at other times. And I’d like to get a bit ahead so that we can spend time together when you’re around.”
[Noises of not really buying my story. I try again…]
“You know how we’re planning to go on a couple of trips this summer? To Big City in the US? And foreign country? I’m working now, when others are on spring break, so that I can take longer vacations during the summer, when you can come too.”
So that’s how I spent my spring break. The baby pretty much went to daycare as usual (babies like routines!) and my partner and I worked pretty much as usual – albeit with much fewer classes and meetings than a normal week.
I did do a few things to acknowledge the “break” bit of spring break. I got a pedicure. I worked more at a coffee shop than my office. And I indulged in spending some time working on a project that speaks to my soul, not just my professional strategic plan. But I also did a serious amount of grading – which was definitely not fun.
Would I have liked a real break from work 2/3 of the way into a busy and stressful semester? Yes! Of course! But not if it meant coming back to another 5 weeks of feeling super behind and in crisis mode. I figure I’m trading a week of relaxation for an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep per night for the rest of the semester – and fewer premature gray hairs.
Was I kind of making a post-hoc justification to my Big Kid about the lameness of my break? Yes. For sure. But I do take a lot of vacations in the summer. It’s part of the deal my partner and I have made with ourselves, because we love to travel, visit far away family, and be outdoors. And since we’re basically not paid in the summer, we refuse to feel too guilty about spending a month or so away from the lab and office. And we get to take those vacations with Big Kid, and that’s important too.
Breaks are important and it would be better for me to have mini-breaks throughout the year rather than a lot of time off in the summer. But given the broad architecture of my life, this is what works for me and my family.
What works for you? How do you spend your breaks?