I read an article by Forbes that states, “only 47% of Americans are using half of their vacation time, and 21% leave more than five days on the table.” Honestly I was really surprised at this statistic. Working part time, I get roughly ten days of vacation a year. To me, this is NOT ENOUGH! Once the new year begins, I am plotting and planning how I can stretch my vacation days over the course of the calendar year. There have been a few instances that I used a vacation day just to catch up on things I don’t have time to do during the week or on the weekends. You know all the fun stuff: cleaning out closets, organizing rooms in the house, taking my car for an oil change, or getting a haircut.
Work is a huge part of my life, but it’s not the only part and certainly not the most important. My work will always be there waiting for me when I return from my vacation days. I am not a brain surgeon, or a lawyer…no one is “depending on me” to complete a task that their life depends on. I understand that for certain careers or even self-employed mothers, taking a vacation day could take some extra planning, schedule adjustments, or just isn’t feasible. I have the luxury of being able to use my vacation days, and I do it!
I always think to myself, I will never get this time back, so I might as well take a day off and enjoy it. My kid is only small for such a short amount of time, and I don’t want to miss any of it. There is a lot of pressure put on mothers to have a career, but to also do all the tasks associated with raising a family. Some of my former co-workers have shared that they feel obligated to be at work and feel guilty for taking vacation days. I do NOT and will NOT feel guilty: this is time off I earned and put in the work for and shall take it if I so desire.
Everyone has their own view of what a “day off” actually entails. For me, sometimes taking a vacation day is just because I need a mental break from everything and a day to practice self-care! If I am using vacation days, I am not checking my email, I won’t be thinking about work, and I will be 100% present in whatever I am doing while not at work. As a working mom, vacation days are precious; they are a chance to spend more time with my family or enjoy a little alone time. I have the opportunity to go back to bed for another hour or drink my coffee while it’s hot.
No matter what your job title is, I encourage you to take a vacation day, and put yourself first. YOU EARNED IT MAMAS!