Spring Break (or, Managing Expectations)

The kids had their Spring Break this past week. One of the hard things about being a working parent is the fact that when the kids have days off from school, you have to figure out what to do with them. One of us, or both of us, usually has to take time off work to take care of them; thankfully Mr. Fob has a flexible job so sometimes he doesn't even take time off and just has them hang out with him. Last year for Spring Break I took off part of the week and the kids and I went to Las Vegas to visit my parents. The year before that Mr. Fob took the older two to Disneyland, but left P. Bibby here because she was barely two years old. This year's Spring Break has been highly anticipated by everyone for several months. Mr. Fob took the week off work and drove all three kids down to California to spend a few days at Legoland. 

It was a weird week for me--the first time I've ever had all three kids gone for such a long period of time. Their dad picked them up last Sunday evening and they were gone until late Friday night. From what I can tell, it was a fabulous trip. We talked on the phone every night and I saw a lot of pictures on Facebook (the internet can be pretty awesome sometimes). They had smooth driving, nice weather, healthy kids, and tons of fun. I had actually been looking forward to this week for quite a while. I thought that a week by myself would be relaxing and productive. As usual, I had high expectations for all the things I could get done without having distractions around (lovely, adorable "distractions" that I missed all week, by the way). 

And, as is usual in life, my expectations of high productivity and general awesomeness didn't quite come true. First of all, it ended up being a crazy week at work. The previous Friday at 4:50 I had been approached by my supervisor with the question "what's your next week looking like?" There was a training session being held at my library, sponsored by the state library, on new standards for cataloging. That is not the area of the library I directly work in, but it's an area I want to be more involved in at some point in the future and an area that I already participate in slightly. Plus, the training was being offered by an expert in the field, was being held in my workplace, and had a few empty slots so I could easily attend. It was a great opportunity, but also made my life somewhat stressful all week. Despite the fact that the subject was fascinating, participating in 5 full days of computer-based training is just not relaxing. Add on top of that the fact that none of my regular job duties were getting done at all, and that I hadn't had time to plan ahead for being away from the office for a week. I spent a lot of last week feeling fairly stressed out. Of course, in my usual fashion I tried to logic my way out of things. But, telling myself that "this shouldn't be such a big deal" never really works to make the anxiety part of my brain stop freaking out "this isn't what I thought was going to happen. Where's my routine? Stuff isn't getting done right now!" Sigh.

It's actually probably good that the rest of my life outside work was fairly low-stress since last week could have been a lot worse. Having flexibility to go in to work earlier and stay a bit later was really nice, and it was good to be able to come home and just vegetate instead of having to cook dinner and put people in bed. I should have just accepted that fact instead of being disappointed that I didn't go to the eye doctor, deep clean my house, get my car repaired, write a research paper, hang out with friends, watch movies, cook healthy food, or most of the other ridiculous expectations I set for myself. Instead, I did some cleaning, got some homework done, exercised once, read the last two books I needed to finish for the Whitney Awards, and survived the week. Time went by really fast and the next thing I knew it was suddenly Friday night and my house was full of sleepy kids again. 

Yesterday we just hung out around the house. I completed some school assignments, did laundry, and spent a few hours in the afternoon cleaning out the garage. The kids spent most of the time playing with their new Lego sets that they bought at Legoland. Today we went to church, spent the afternoon hanging out (more Lego playing), and had a nice Family Home Evening about Holy Week. I think Spring Break was great and hope we can all do it again some other year; next time, though, I won't make too many plans. My dad always says that the key to happiness in life is not have any expectations. I think he might be right.

Comments

rantipoler said…
I live my life according to this philosophy.

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