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475th Friday Blog Roundup

So I didn’t really have a vacation.  Whatever the opposite of a vacation is, that’s what I had.  I had a work-a-thon.

Yes, we saw the Hobbit and Frozen (and Josh and I sneaked out to see American Hustle one night).  I managed to build a farm on Hay Day and run it like a boss.  But mostly, I finished Apart at the Seams, prepped the Creme de la Creme, and wrote 22 articles.  It was a lot of writing; a lot of really long days.  I was writing 12 – 15 hours per day, day after day after day.

And it only stopped right when it was time to send the kids back to school.

So I lost it after drop off.  I cried for a half hour because I had missed their vacation.  I’m aware that I will not be working through spring break, so we have another break down the road to play.  But that break wasn’t this break.  I missed this break.  And I sort of needed a break myself.

I’ve decided not to take a break in one clump once work calms in mid-January.  Instead, I have a bunch of books stacked up (and a freakin’ farm to run and candy to crush), and I’m going to take my break in tiny sips: one day a week for four or five weeks.  Or maybe take half days once a week and spread it out over 10 weeks.  I don’t need to lounge about for five straight days; in fact, that may be a bit much for me since I’m on my own.  But a day here and there sounds really good.

The other benefit to the break-here-and-there idea is that I never have to go through that hard landing of returning to work after being out.  It’s easier to deal with a day’s worth of stuff piling up than a week’s worth (as well as getting out of my writing rhythm).  Thinking of making my off-day on Wednesdays to break up the week.

Would you rather have a lot of spread out, tiny breaks (like an extra day off per week for many weeks) or one big break running on consecutive days?

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Looking for the Creme de la Creme of 2013?  It’s right there.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

I read Andmom’s post about Christmas fantasies after the Roundup last week, so I’m including it here.  It’s a wonderful post that I think touches on so many times where our fantasies don’t match up with our realities — not just Christmas.  Such as the vision we have of ourselves holding a sweet, cooing baby (and the reality of a squalling infant while you’re sleep deprived and smelling like shit after having not showered for 4 days).  I love, love, love this post.  Especially the ending.

I also read Our Crazy Ever After after last week’s roundup, so her post on Christmas is here as well.  She admits: “Perhaps I am breaking an infertile cardinal sin….but I actually enjoyed my quiet time at home sans the pitter patter of footie-pajama’d feet.”  It’s a post about not looking at what she doesn’t have, but accepting and enjoying the Christmas she got.  And her final line amused me.

Lastly, Wee Hermione has a thought-provoking post about religion.  The meat of the post begins: “Do you ever mull things over in your mind for so long that you just want to get it all down in one long explanation and ramble, just to have the peace of mind that there, you put it down?”  Uh… yes.  1000 times yes.  It’s an interesting post detailing a life very different from my own, so I loved her story.  She writes about not feeling G-d while growing up in a religious household.  And just as her parents were black sheeps with their families, she became the black sheep of her family when it came to religion.  It’s about the communities that spring up around the spiritual.  It’s about discovering where you belong.  Wonderful post.

The roundup to the Roundup: Would you rather have your break in tiny sips of days over a long period of time or a break from work all in one clump?  The Creme de la Creme of 2013 is up.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between December 27th and January 3rd) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

17 comments

1 gwinne { 01.03.14 at 7:41 am }

Yeah, I missed winter break too. (Work creeping in, memorial service, broken bones, snow day, major power outage, puking virus, etc…)

And really all I wanted was ONE day without stuff to do and with paid childcare. So I very much like your bits-and-pieces approach. Should schedule some of those half days for myself if I can swing it. It’s probably healthier in the end.

2 a { 01.03.14 at 8:45 am }

I am lucky enough to have it both ways on my work breaks. That is why, in spite of ridiculous and useless new rules, horrible people, and frequently less-than-ideal working conditions (which may be solved this year! Yay!), I don’t think I will ever leave this job. Unless they take away all my vacation, holiday, sick, and personal time…which is probably next on the chopping block since they’re “done” with pension reform. Actually, forget all that – I’d rather just be retired and always be on a break from work!

3 Valery Valentina { 01.03.14 at 10:51 am }

Wednesdays off for me. Clumps off for family time. And like “a” I’m a lucky one as well. Although I secretly dream of a job or contract where I would have to really use my brain and try my best for months and then take a proper 3 month break again, like in the old days….

4 Sharon { 01.03.14 at 11:16 am }

The last time I had more time off than a three-day weekend was my maternity leave almost two years ago, and since I spent that time caring for newborn preemie twins and recovering from a 4-pint blood loss and preeclampsia, I don’t think we can really count that as a “vacation.” So I would love, love, love to have a real chunk of time off. . . at least a week. . . to myself.

5 Queenie { 01.03.14 at 3:35 pm }

22 articles? Of what sort?

I’ve learned that big long breaks are far more rejuvenating than short ones, for me, anyway. They are harder to orchestrate,
have a bigger

6 Queenie { 01.03.14 at 3:36 pm }

oops. Bigger PAYOFF, in terms of feeling like I had a real break.

7 Jo { 01.03.14 at 6:45 pm }

I raed this and was literally moved to tears. She explains the absence of unborn children, and the complex emotions behind self-preservation that are so often brushed aside as jealousy. One of my favorite posts, well, ever.

http://theunexpectedtrip.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/its-not-envy-its-absence/

8 SurlyMama { 01.03.14 at 7:28 pm }

Big chunks for me. I work overnights so it typically takes 4 – 5 days to get turned around. If I’m really going to enjoy a break I need at least one week to recover, sleep, and get turned around and then another week to enjoy being off.

But typically my vacation does get eaten up in one or two day intervals as I take a day off here and there to deal with childcare issues, sickness and holiday (all my time off is lumped into one pot). This year I’m attempting to hoard my time off even if it means taking holidays without pay so that I can take two nice long breaks next summer and really enjoy the time with my daughter.

9 Clare { 01.03.14 at 7:44 pm }

I do like long breaks now and then to completely let go of the routines and let my mind stop thinking about work completely.

But mostly I love short breaks. For awhile I was working 4 day weeks and had Friday off. This meant that typically I ended up with only Friday afternoon off when my week bleed over a bit. What was amazing is that I always could schedule fun time for me (lunch date with a friend, sure! I’ll just swap days) and that I ended up using my Friday day off to clear all my weekend chores — bills, laundry, etc and found that I actually had an entire weekend to play. There was something luxurious about doing my shopping while every was working and going to the post office at 2 pm on Friday. I made yummy dinners with music playing to share with friends Friday night. Every weekend during those years felt like a proper holiday somehow.

10 Mali { 01.03.14 at 9:17 pm }

Short breaks are good. They help. But I am sceptical about your ability (or anyone’s) to stick to the day off or afternoon off, without dipping into your phone, your email, etc. Soon your day off might dwindle to just an hour or two.

And I believe that we can’t survive only on short breaks. I think we all need long breaks (at least a week), that gives us time to wind down from work-related things (which in my experience often takes several days), time to check out of technology, and to let our bodies, brains and souls heal a little from the frenzy that can be normal life. I hope that at some stage this year you get a chance to do that for longer than a day or an afternoon.

11 Katie { 01.03.14 at 10:51 pm }

I find that when I take off 1 or 2 days at a time, I just manage to cram in five days worth of work into 4 or 3 days. That being said, I do like to take a completely random day once of twice a year, called a mental health day, where I just do pampering stuff.

12 Laurel Regan { 01.03.14 at 11:41 pm }

I feel very fortunate that my work schedule allows me both short breaks as well as one or two longer vacations. If I could only choose one, though, I think I’d go for several shorter breaks throughout the year.

13 spiritbabycomehome.wordpress.com { 01.04.14 at 7:30 am }

I am greedy. I’d like both. Occasional days off alone to do my own thing and the occasional away-from-work and away-from-home vacation with family. If it was just me taking time off, I’d do the once-a-week thing, be it a full or a half day at a time.

14 Wee Hermione { 01.04.14 at 9:57 am }

Thank you for the link!

I like having random days off rather than a long span of time, if I’m staying home either way. Maybe two days off if I want to go visit someone, but otherwise, a day here and a day there are fine for me to recharge and be lazy without turning into a sloth. :P

15 So You Think Parenting Is About The Children? { 01.04.14 at 3:00 pm }

I am still trying to digest you writing 22 articles! Who ARE you?!!

Anyway about the breaks, I have been trying out my own Superwoman technique. I’m trying to enjoy break moments WITHIN my non-break times. So when I’m with everyone, chasing, feeding, catering, plastering etc, I try to pay attention to how I’m doing and do little mini-check-ins with myself. “Myself”, I will ask, “How’re ya doing right now?” and Myself will let me know with a little smile or a droop or a downright panicked appeal in her eyes and then I try to ask, “What do you need?” and THEN I try to actually do it. It’s quite amazing the times when I manage to get it right because I really feel so much more present and less tired overall. Which of course affects the quality of the real breaks I take – of whatever length. Try it out. It’s what I’m writing about – how to keep yourself while parenting.

Have a restful new year and thanks for your work!

16 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.04.14 at 7:22 pm }

That’s a LOT of writing!!

I say both. I say some short breaks in between the big (e.g. take a trip overseas) breaks.

With productivity like yours, seems totally doable. I just need to ramp it up.

17 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 01.04.14 at 9:53 pm }

There’s benefits to both types of break, and I think it depends what you’re doing on your break and also otherwise. I’m currently enjoying having a few days to myself but what I’m mostly doing is sitting at my computer writing stuff so… I guess that’s not your definition of a break :) But my point is I think it depends whether you have a project you want to immerse yourself in on your break or whether you just want the chance to shuffle around slowly for a moment (something I do a lot of during normal times).

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