In Which I Do Something “Selfish” (Part 1)
Lately my little family has been going through a rough patch. My husband got laid off from his job, and our schedules have been reworked like Play Dough as a result. Our family vacation was booked for later this month, but with the layoff, there went the availability of paid time off, or the ability to be gone from a new job even if it went unpaid.
The blog post is not about all that though. This blog post is about what happened after.
And this isn’t about the larger dreams I have of taking a family trip to the same place year after year after year, creating a system of summertime roots, connected, shared pathways and memories that we come back to again and again. Maybe that will happen someday, but not now.
No, this post is about the blossoming of an idea that at first seemed depressing and crazy and then, slowly but surely, less so. The idea is this: I’m going to take our family vacation by myself. Solo. Alone.
Okay, so part of me is sad about this idea. After all, I don’t think people generally plan fun family vacations secretly wishing they could go all by themselves. But, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I’ve longed for ages to quiet myself away in order to work on my writing projects; instead of a room of one’s own, this could be a vacation of one’s own. A mini writing retreat that I never would have scheduled for myself, but is now presented, paid for, and there, sitting on the calendar, just waiting for me to take it.
Of course, there are logistics to attend to: childcare for when my husband is at work during the time when I might normally be doing a dropoff or pickup, that sort of thing. But there are other things that don’t need taking care of in the same way: dog-sitters, for example. And since the comp time I had saved at work is set to expire in September, I’d be taking the days off at this point regardless of whether I was going somewhere or staying at home.
All of this is to say, I — a working mom with a full-time job and side gigs and a 3-year old and a lot of Stuff To Do every week — am taking a vacation of my own this year. It wasn’t planned, but it certainly feels needed. I’m sure from the outside, it could seem really selfish to not cancel such a trip, to use it up, essentially, instead of setting the experience aside to enjoy with my family as originally planned. But plans don’t always pan out.
Sometimes, mama, you get to do something for yourself without feeling guilty about it.
I’ll check back in with you about how it all went down in the end, and whether or not taking this “selfish” trip seems worth it but, spoiler alert: I’m pretty sure it will be worth it. Worth it in spades, in fact. While nothing in life is guaranteed, I’m willing to bet on that.