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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

A much needed break
May 22, 2012 - 7:06pm

Sometimes I can become so engrossed in a project that I forget to take a break.  Or I don’t realize that I’ve been sitting with terrible posture at the computer and have neglected to stop and stretch.  Before I know it I have an aching neck or back and can no longer work effectively.  Why can’t I just remember to take a break?

It’s kind of that way with day-to-day life in our family.  We carry on in our daily routines, one day leading to the next, looking forward to the weekend when we can relax.  But do we really give ourselves a rest?  Weekends in our family are often spent catching up on chores, attending appointments for things we can’t do during the week, or shuttling kids to sports and other activities.  Not to mention birthday parties (everyone in my kids’ school seems to have been born in May).  Just when we have a free weekend coming up, we realize that it’s a good time to invite friends over for dinner.  The weekend then becomes a frenzy of cooking and house cleaning.  Of course we eagerly anticipate the time we spend with our friends.  And we enjoy just about every event we’ve programmed on our weekend calendars.  I’m not really complaining.  It’s just that sometimes Monday morning’s weekday routine is welcome relief after an event-filled weekend, which ended all too quickly without providing restful down time.  

However, this past weekend was a very rare exception.  Friends of ours invited us to join them for a weekend at seaside cabins.  It had been eight months since I’d slept in a bed other than my own.  Although we had to scramble to get organized for two nights away, it was a thrill to plan a trip.  We stayed in a tiny cabin nestled in the woods, with a rocky beach located just down the hill. Internet access required a walk to the campground’s clubhouse, so this “feature” was easy to ignore.  Our children ran on the beach together, waded in the frigid water, and filled buckets with baby crabs.  It was a weekend-long play-date for kids and grownups, with none of the pressure of cleaning house or cooking perfect gourmet meals.  When the warm, sunny weather on the first day turned into clouds and rain, we didn’t mind. At one point I curled up in the warm cabin with a book and promptly fell asleep.  I can’t remember the last time I had a nap on the couch at home!  While the rain poured outside, our families crowded into one of the cabins for a cozy supper and games, including an Apples to Apples tournament. The weather didn’t matter — we were on vacation and in good company. 

When we headed back home after just a couple days away, I had that feeling I always have after a particularly good vacation: it seemed like we’d been gone for ages.   The only downside of the weekend away?  An aching back from the less than comfortable cabin mattress.  Ah, but it was all worth it!  I feel rested and renewed.  And I can now look at my lumpy bed with fresh, appreciative eyes.


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