The biggest joke in the universe is that moms don’t get days off.
Taking care of others is the sort of gig that allows no time off, not even when you’re far away and there’s zero possibility of finding that one pair of leggings or the extra container of hair goo that has mysteriously disappeared.
You always care, are often contacted, and are expected to take care of business even when you’re not there by setting things in motion, guiding through the process, and cleaning up afterwards. There’s no end in sight, even though the people around you are capable of doing the job that you do – for them, usually – themselves.
It’s well-established in my family that I don’t really enjoy taking care of everyone’s junk. As much as I lament the aging of my children and their looming departure, I am quite enjoying the fact that they can feed and wash themselves, get their work done on their own, and even help me with some of life’s heavy stuff.
Literally. Having teenagers – particularly a teenage boy with brand-new muscles that he is anxious to use – is the best thing ever when I need to move something big.
I’ve been doing this job long enough now that nobody in my family even tries anymore to pretend that an off day for me is really an off day. Even my husband, who understands my need to cocoon once in a while, will stand in front of me and, after listening to me insist that I want nothing else but to relax, will say with no mockery, sarcasm, or irony whatsoever, “So, can you help me with…?”
There are no breaks.
Which makes me think – what would a day off actually look like?
A day off isn’t really a day off unless the next day can start anew with its own responsibilities and none of the day off’s responsibilities waiting in the wings, all piled up. The point of a day off is to relax and reorient ourselves to why we are here in the first place, to appreciate and have a renewed vigor for our tasks at hand when we return to them.
A day off is really just a break for a little while, a brief period during which responsibilities and family members wait (sometimes not so) patiently until they can launch themselves at you so you can find the leggings and the hair goo and extra printer paper and Q-tips I JUST BOUGHT A MEGA BOX OF Q-TIPS AND THEY ARE UNDER YOUR BATHROOM SINK.
Sigh. A day off.
Prompt #1: You have a day off, what do you do with your free time?