When I was pregnant with my first child, I received several pregnancy and childbirth books from friends and loved ones. My favorite was The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy because, unlike the better-known What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the Girlfriend’s Guide provided me answers to my REAL questions – the ones I’d be too embarrassed to ask anyone but a trusted girlfriend who’d tell it to me straight. The author abandons the “this is the way it’s supposed to be” advice in lieu of a humorous account of what no one ever told her about the adventure of pregnancy.
Lest you think I mistitled this article, the explanation of my preferred literature is merely a frame of reference for the information to come. I recently took an extended period of time off work in order to spend quality time with my family. I rarely take more than a couple of days at Christmas because I want to save what little vacation time I have accrued for, well, vacation. However, this year I threw caution to the wind and took the lion’s share of time I had in the bank as a way to repay my family for the last several months of work stress and long hours away from them.
As I prepared for my first-ever staycation, I anticipated the time off like it was an exciting, new project. I asked friends for guidance on kid-friendly activities to fill our days. I made a list of chores I wanted to get done around the house. I fantasized about the memories we would make during our extended time together.
Now that I am back to work (sigh), I am reflecting on my expectations versus the reality of the experience. I hope I can speak for my family by saying we had a wonderful time. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t provide a somewhat more frank take on this family-bonding adventure. Much like what I appreciated in The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, I hope you will appreciate the between-you-and-me nuggets about what this working mom learned from staying home for 12 straight days.
Lesson #1: I did not accomplish 90% of the household projects on my list. I went into my time off with visions of reorganizing drawers and cabinets, finishing craft projects, sorting through clothes in the kids’ closets, putting pictures in albums, and cleaning my house from top to bottom. We DID make several trips to Goodwill and I printed, labeled and filed about 500 pictures. While most of my list remains undone, I now have photographic evidence that we have children in the house who are out of diapers. As a frame of reference, they are now 7 and 4. Continue reading The Girlfriend’s Guide To The Ultimate Staycation