If you are a caretaker of children, you understand that when they are on “break” from school, it is typically very much the opposite of a break for you. My kids have three weeks off for the winter holidays, and I am writing to you from the third of those 3 weeks, while my kids are at winter camp through our neighborhood rec center.
At any given moment, I vacillate between feeling wildly grateful for any time I get to spend with my children and resentful if I feel I am expected to be the one who is caring for my children. It never has anything to do with my children themselves; as I often say, they are a true delight. Moments when I can be fully present with them are some of my favorite moments of life. The issue that I so often run into is that the moments when I’m not trying to accomplish something else (be it domestic labor or paid work etc etc etc), are extremely draining, and it feels like those moments of pure presence are a luxury. One upside of the paid work that I do is that it’s very flexible and I set my own hours. One downside is that I have to be mindful of protecting my time and thinking ahead to set myself up for success so that I can be more present to my kids when they are home.
All of that being said, this year, I set myself up for success really well, and this three week “break” has been super peaceful.