Earlier this month, I traveled home to visit my parents in South Carolina with my three daughters in tow.
As I drove, I thought about how this was not really a vacation. It looked like a vacation – I packed my bathing suit and sunscreen. It also looked like work – I lugged a bag full of textbooks, projects in process, and my computer. Since I started working from home about 18 months ago, I have not had a real vacation and I don’t foresee one in my future either.
One truth for moms who work at home – or moms in general – is that we have jobs that we can take anywhere. For me, that means I have a job I take with me everywhere I go. A wise friend recently told me that when his children were still at home and he worked at home, he regularly had to make a conscious decision to “uncouple himself from his work.”
How do you uncouple from work? Honestly, I am still trying to figure that out myself but here are a few ideas:
- Blocking out work-free time. Just because I brought my work along, doesn’t mean I have to work constantly. On a working vacation, I can slow down the pace, devoting several hours a day to relaxing and enjoying my family. Work will wait. But those little girls? They want to go swimming, now.
- Taking a mental break. Working at home, my tendency is to think about work constantly – even in down time. To me, uncoupling from work also means uncoupling mentally.
- Staying unplugged. On a regular work day, I may check mail and social media sites frequently, constantly even. Social media networks will still be there when my working vacation is over. For today, I can choose to leave my phone and computer alone.
I’m going to start now.