“Time off”

I’ve just had 11 days off work. With Easter and then not working Mondays it meant I didn’t need to use up much of my annual leave to have my first proper break from work since going back at the start of the year. We didn’t go away; the advantage of the Easter bank holidays is outweighed by the fact that nobody without school-age children would pay the astronomical prices for a week away during school holidays!! So we stayed at home on the promise that we would fill our days with lots of fun day trips with Isaac. As we have to pay for nursery whether Isaac goes or not my husband and I also agreed that we would take him to nursery on one of his days to allow us a day of just us two. Cue an interesting feeling of guilt that we had “dumped” our son when he could be spending time with us (although he doesn’t actually know that!) mixed with a feeling of paranoia about how much stuff we could fit into our baby-free day! What we should have done, because we don’t normally get to do it, is drop Isaac off, go back to bed and have a huge long lie-in, followed by lounging around the house for the rest of the day! What we actually did, because (as my husband will attest) I’m not very good at “doing nothing”, is spend half the day at a spa (which was well-needed and delightful) and then spend the rest of the day shopping for garden furniture (also needed but not quite so delightful!)

I loved my time “off”. I didn’t need to set my alarm, I didn’t need to trudge into London and I didn’t need to iron my work clothes (i.e I didn’t need to iron, as I don’t bother ironing anything else anymore!) I checked my emails at the end of each day but there was no requirement to click my brain into work mode at all.  The thing is, I now hesitate at calling this “time off”! It was time away from being a solicitor, but I have other responsibilities now, ones which don’t come with an annual leave allowance. So whilst I didn’t need to set my alarm to catch a train, my own personal alarm clock made sure well I was still up long before my usual holiday wake-up time. And whilst I didn’t need to switch my brain into work mode, I couldn’t switch it off completely. I still needed to think about what to do to entertain my son each day, what he needed to eat, what he needed to wear, what we needed to shop for, what washing needed doing and what I needed to pack for our days out (whatever happened to just leaving the house???)

My week and a half off with my son, and time with my husband, was awesome. I got to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with Isaac every day; I got to bath him, read to him and put him to bed and I also fitted in some much needed catch-ups with friends I don’t get to see as often now we are all back at work. But after almost two weeks away from work, I’m not tanned, I don’t feel rested (I actually think I’m more exhausted!) and I never got that lie-in! I had a slight pang of jealousy coming back to the office to those that were well-tanned and rested having spent their holidays in Mexico or the south of France.  That feeling was quickly brushed aside whilst I checked my diary and counted the amount of weeks until the next time I got to spend an uninterrupted week with Isaac. Bring on our week in Cornwall at the end of May! And as we are with the Grandparents that week, my husband and I have already booked in a “proper evening off”!

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