Take the vacation for real.
I remember taking a family vacation in Florida one year and agreeing to look over some work emails for the film I was making. How long could it take –— a few minutes, maybe? I’d wait until after my child was asleep and just get it done, no big deal. Except it was. I had all sorts of technical issues trying to open the attachments, my stress levels were on the rise, and I was up much later than I wanted to be on what was supposed to be a fun family trip. What the hell was I thinking? Well, it turns out that a lot of us moms stress out during family vacations and drive ourselves nuts.
A recent survey by Working Mother Magazine revealed that 75% of working moms check in at work one to two times each day while on vacation.
Given that this week is for many of us February break, my tip of the week is this: If there’s any choice in the matter, take the vacation and let go of work. The reason vacations exist in the first place is to help us replenish and unwind. It’s not healthy to go months on end without this. Says Dr. Stephanie Smith, a clinical psychologist in from Erie, Colorado: Vacations not only give us a break from the stresses of work and maintaining a household, but they “also give us perspective on how we might be placing too much importance on non-important things.” We can’t do that if we’re bringing our work with us!
Now I know for a lot of moms, it’s utterly unrealistic to take a vacation and not check in at work at all. Most moms check in with the office at least one to two times each day—and hey, if you have to in order to keep your job, then you have to. However, you can still set limits to safeguard your family time. Carol Evans, President of Working Mothers Media, advises:"It is essential that you limit the time that you are working to no more than 30 minutes a day.” This is your time to connect with your kids, and, unfortunately, you don’t get a do-over. So leave the laptop and the Blackberry safely back in the hotel safe if you're lucky enough to be traveling.
I am a journalist, filmmaker, author, wife, and mom to an 8-year-old daughter. My most recent project is I Love Mondays: And other confessions from devoted working moms. Other projects explore raising only children, happily ever after, raising strong girls, and hot topics for Jewish women.
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