Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ever feel like you'll never get a break?

I do.

On Facebook, I keep seeing women who are stay at home moms talking about how they are going on vacation and little trips--both with and without their families. So first, they get to stay home, which I know is not all fun and games--and that's not my point. It's the traveling and getting to do what they want!

Meanwhile, here I am, working my butt off every day. We have no children. Usually people in our shoes travel as much as they can. We haven't gone on vacation since September/October 2007. Yes, our honeymoon. We did go to Philadelphia for a long weekend for our 1st anniversary, even though Turtle was laid off. We were going to go to Cape Cod this summer since my aunt has a house there, but now he's laid off again.

What are we doing wrong? Oh wait, I know, my husband got laid off. One woman's husband has been laid off too, yet they've gone to Hawaii twice and in the winters were skiing in Vermont every weekend. (I'm pretty sure her parents retired to VT & they have other family in Hawaii, which of course takes care of lodging, so I will give her a pass, I think.)

I KNOW that there's more than meets the eye with most people. And I know it's Facebook, where things can be embellished. These people could be charging up the wazoo on credit cards or get hand-outs from Mom & Dad. But still, I feel like I work SO hard and have very little down time or anything enjoyable. Especially now that I'm the sole earner. All of the pressure is on me.

I'd like a break, please.

I haven't taken a "real" vacation day, even one to just sit around my house, in....I don't know how long. The last vacation day I had was for Easter (Good Friday). My other time off in 2011 was for my friend's wedding and Turtle's wisdom teeth surgery. Before that, my vacation time was used for my grandfather's funeral in October, my hand surgery in April (2010) and other days/hours for physical therapy. I only get 2 weeks of vacation and until this year, only 3 sick days. (We now get 4.) I can't even call out sick as a mental health day since there's too much work to be done and I have no back up. I come home, tired and cranky. I can't even make my home a refuge--doing fun things after work and on weekends--because there's stuff piling up since I'm too tired. It's a vicious cycle. You'd think we had 6 kids for how much laundry needs to be done and put away. The dishes...oy. And the cleaning? It's embarrassing and horrible, but there's a room that was never properly cleaned...and we've lived here for over 18 months now. (There is a newly constructed division of labor now that Turtle's home all day, which I will blog about soon, but the home is the woman's domain, no matter how sexist that sounds. I am better at it. It's true! Yet I can't even get myself together.)

Ahh, the life of do what I want, when I want. Not necessarily idleness, just activities that have a personal purpose. Maybe in retirement? If I live that long.


  1. I've been thinking about your post today, and here's what it reminded me of:
    Spousonomics talks about something called thinking at the margin, which means when you find yourself wishing for big, sweeping changes in your life, instead try to figure out what small changes you can make right now that will have the biggest impact, even if it doesn't get you to your ideal situation. I don't know what exactly that would be for you, but maybe something like: even if you want a week of vacation, can you take one day of vacation and go somewhere, so you're not tempted to fill the day with chores?

    It sounds like a lot of your PTO days have been eaten up with medical issues in the past year. Are you likely to have more free vacation days going forward?

    Another thought, paraphrased from one of my favorite podcasts, One Extraordinary Marriage: The dishes will always be there tomorrow. You/your spouse may not be. This is easier said than done, especially for me, because I can totally relate to wanting to fill free moments with checking off to-do items. But I try to reflect on this idea as a way of making myself prioritize my marriage and my health.

    One final note: One of my various side jobs is reviewing resumes and cover letters. I still do it for free for friends and family, but one of my friends referred so many people to me that she said she was taking advantage of me and wouldn't send me any more unless I charged for it :) But if you'd like me to look over your or Turtle's stuff, I'm happy to help out (for free). You can e-mail me at I know you're cautious about privacy so you could take out your name and contact info. You were one of my first subscribers so I think you deserve it :)

  2. Thanks for your comment :) And for the offer re: resumes/cover letters. That's VERY generous of you!!! I will let you know. I keep meaning to check that book/site out, too. Maybe it's time! Someone else mentioned making small changes last night, soooo maybe I need to try it out?

    Haha, speaking of the dishes being there tomorrow....last night, after dinner, we just dumped everything in the sink, threw the food in the fridge, watered the garden, then came back inside and ended up talking for almost two hours while laying on our bed in the dark. About all sorts of I'm slowly getting better at that kind of thing. Who knows what his next job could be? He might end up working nights and then I'd NEVER see him. Maybe this whole thing is to teach us something--and I do have a blog post percolating about that. :)

    RE: PTO--my company gives employees their 4 sick days up front, in January of each year. One week of vacation time is given in January, the other week in July--you can use it whenever, but that's how you accrue it. Right now, I believe I have one day, plus some hours, left. Since July 1 is only a few weeks away, I do have a week coming to me soon. I always feel like I need to hoard it away, even though my husband and my mother have both told me to TAKE THE WEEK OFF and if things come up later in the year, oh well for my company, I'll just have to take the day off anyway (without pay).

    I had an interview last week at another publisher and I'm hoping that if I did get the job and accepted it, I could take a week or two off in between jobs. I think I'd feel better about a lot of things if I had that down time.


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