Today marked the first day back to school after my kids’ spring break. They were off for a total of eleven days. Yes, you read that right – eleven days. It was such a long stretch of time that by the time they got back to school this morning, it was almost like the first day back after summer.
During past spring breaks, I have felt tension and stress and frankly, there were many days during those breaks that were not all that enjoyable – for them or me. Being a person who works from home the majority of the time, it is very difficult to separate work life from home life. And because I very often work at home while my kids are in school, having them home during the day can sometimes feel akin to bringing them to my job for a full week (or in this case, eleven days). People just don’t normally do that.
But I wanted this spring break to be different. My children and I have built better relationships over the past few years that are more fulfilling and enjoyable for all of us. I did not want this extended break to disrupt the flow that we have gotten ourselves into. As a result, I made the conscious decision to keep my work expectations to a minimum. I did not want to feel stretched in too many directions – trying to get work done, not spending time with my kids, having them act out trying to get my attention and then feeling irritated and at the same time guilty because I was trying to work.
So I attempted very little work-wise. It turned out this was a great plan because I had massive computer troubles last week and ended up having to go out and purchase a new computer, then foolishly installing a virus onto the new one in my haste to “get things done,” and then spending a total of six hours on the phone over two days with tech support trying to remove said virus. So every little sliver of time I was able to devote to work ended up being spent just to get me back to ground zero with a working computer (where I had been before spring break ever started). I love how the Universe supported my decision to lower my work expectations by showing me through my computer issues that I had made the right choice not to schedule too much. Isn’t it interesting how we can see a situation in a completely opposite way if we look at it through different lenses and from a different perspective? I could have been frustrated and angry about all of the computer issues last week, but instead I just went with the flow.
So basically, I guess what I really did was take a “vacation” week while my kids were home. We went to a museum with my best friend and her little girl, my kids had play dates and sleepovers, went to the movies, built forts, and spent time reading and laying low with quiet time. I took Faith and Brady for a hike in the woods in our neighborhood to our favorite spot – the “bamboo forest” – and we laid upon a blanket and gazed up and then closed our eyes, in order to use our senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing) to discover what we could notice with each of those senses. It was noticeably relaxing for each of us and we came back renewed and ready to play. This weekend, the five of us went to a Phillies game and it was the first time being to the stadium for Brady and Faith. What a thrill it was to share that past-time with them. Yesterday was our last day of spring break, and the weather finally really felt like spring. I spent the day doing yard work while Jay helped me and then played volleyball and the kids played with friends, built mud pies, washed our cars, jumped on the trampoline, had a lemonade stand and ended the night climbing our tree out front and watching the beautiful sun as it set over the day.
All in all, this was a wonderful spring break. We did not take any fancy trips or do anything overly splashy, but we spent some good, quality time together and apart, and we all enjoyed ourselves. I am so glad I made the choice to go into this break with more intentionality and awareness than I ever have before, and I find that that approach helps in every aspect of life.