In my work place, I consider myself to be very lucky with the amount of vacation time that I have. I am also very lucky that (knock on wood) my family rarely has sick days or have any other pressing appointments that can’t be juggled outside of work hours.
As a full-time working mom and having a daughter in middle school, the summer is always a sensitive time in regards to where she will go while I am at work and making sure that her summer is fun. Sure, I could have her go to every camp under the sun, but I also want her summer to be filled with time with her mom and little adventures that she will talk about forever
I use to reserve my PTO for the “sick” days that would never come, and because our PTO is structured that we have to use it or lose it, I would cram it all after she was already in school and she couldn’t take those days off. I have discovered that the best thing for me to do is save a few “me” days for the winter months (because that is healthy for the mind) and plan out my summer (even if it is a stay-cation) to have days off so I remember that not only is it important for me to work BUT it is also important for me to mother. I think, as working moms, we can all attest that sometimes we get in the groove of and get caught up in our work that the days, months and years fly by and we are left to wonder where the time went. Then, the onset of guilt starts. After the guilt, comes worry that our child(ren) will resent us for consistently working and “forgetting to be there”.
Managing work during the summer months is hard. However, if I could just suggest one thing is to try to save some vacation days for the little babes. Sleep until noon on a random Tuesday and go to the beach with them all afternoon or take a long weekend or week and go somewhere you’ve never been. There is nothing better than tuning off and tuning into your kid(s) on a hot summer day or vacation week!
If you don’t have child(ren) and you also like random summer days off or longer vacations, below are good practices for you also!
Some ideas for managing your work load and vacations:
-Let everyone that you report to or that report to you know well in advance that you will be completely unavailable on X,Y,Z days.
-Let any customers or clients you work with know the same information well in advance, as well as, who they can contact for any needs they will have while you are gone.
-Put on your out of office (and mean it).
-Have a go to person that you can default all communication to in your out of office.
-Coordinate with your go to person what could arise, what is acceptable as a "fire" that they should blow smoke signals for your help, and what can wait until you return, should anything come up.
-Spend one to two later than usual evenings setting up your team for success and complete any lingering projects that have deadlines while you’re gone.
-Delete/disable your email app on your phone.
-Leave your laptop at work.
These ideas are just simple ways that make your exit and re-entrance on vacation easy on everyone involved. This also ensures that you are completely tuned in to your child(ren) and family during that time.
What do you do to prep for vacation mode?