Opinion: A vacation from motherhood
I think everyone would agree that this past winter was a tough one. Long, cold, and way too many school cancellations and delays. As a teacher, I desperately needed this Spring Break just to catch a breather. The stress of planning make-up lessons and quickening the pace had left me overwhelmed and frazzled. Unfortunately, my kids are in a different school system, and the calendars did not coincide this year. Not wanting to be stuck here though, Doo finagled a way for him and our kids to get to Florida through a one-way flight out of Kentucky, a rental mini-van in Tampa, and a long drive home up construction-ridden I-65. I would remain here, since I’d be back to work by then.
Actually, I was looking forward to both weeks. The first would give me seven hours each day to myself while my minions were at school. And I’d finally get to catch up on all those put-off house projects. I even scheduled a few fun things, like getting a spray-tan (No UVA rays for this ginger, but I still like to look alive), and going for my annual pap smear (nothing says vacation like “speculum!”). What I didn’t count on was the fact that the kids weren’t on break yet. So there was still dance, track, violin, tumbling, soccer, band and orthodontics appointments to coordinate. I still had to get up at six every morning and organize lunches and pets. I still had to prep dinner and help with homework. Restful? Relaxing? Not as much as I’d anticipated. Is it any wonder I was thoroughly disheartened and a tad bitter when I tromped back into school the following Monday, knowing my husband was sipping Mai Tai’s on a warm beach?
Unexpectedly though, I actually enjoyed getting back to my students and daily routine. Turns out, teaching hadn’t been bogging me down as much as the demands of parenting had been. So that second week was heaven! Sure, I had to work, but when I came home, I had nothing to do. The house was still clean; I had no carpooling duties nor schedules to coordinate; I didn’t have to ground a teenager or even create a last minute life-size drawing of Eli Lilly for Famous Hoosier Day. I ate cereal for dinner, watched the entire second season of Downtown Abbey, and was able to turnoff all the lights at nine o’clock. No guilt, no marital friction, no kid drama. It was honestly a fantastic pseudo-Spring Break!
What’s the moral of my tale? Sand and surf aren’t the only ways to recuperate from a nasty winter. A vacation from motherhood can work just as well.