When this vacation started 9 days ago, I had BIG plans. I would tackle one area of the house a day. Closet by the front door, day 1. My closet, day 2. Other planned projects included: clean the basement play room and rid it of the toys that have been there since the kids were 3, 4, and 6. Paint my daughters' room, finally. Also, we were going to have a "Stay-cation" - visit all those places in our area that we haven't been to: The Emily Dickinson house, the local planetarium, etc. Oh yeah - also? I was going to walk every day it was nice out - and that was a lot of days.
NONE of that happened.
Although I did manage to do some of the things that had been on different lists for months (dentist, fingerprints as required of teachers now, some correcting for the class I am teaching for teachers), the rest of my list, including the stay-cation, faded daily as if written in disappearing ink. At first, I felt guilty. I should be taking advantage of the time off! I should be more productive! Do those things I have been meaning to do!
After a day of feeling this way, I finally decided to give myself permission to just be. I binge-watched TV shows. I puttered around the house in my new bathrobe, I read, I cuddled in bed with my kids, I watched movies, saw friends. I napped - every day. I stopped worrying and beating myself up for not always doing.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to take a complete break from the daily exhaustion of early wake ups, the stress of getting everyone out of the house, being with students all day, running after school clubs, shopping, cooking, cleaning, correcting, exercising, driving our kids places, appointments, meetings for all the things we do outside of school, checking in on or caring for parents, helping kids with homework, pets, the house, the cars, bills, and so on. Of course, there are many who can't ever take a break, or don't get enough time to recharge, and I really am thankful for the time. But teachers everywhere also know that we need that time to do what we do.
All those things that need to be done? They will get done, one way or another. Tonight I can go to sleep knowing I spent time with my family and friends, and recharged myself - hopefully at least enough to make it until February vacation.