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Mail From a Working Parent That's Too Cute to Ignore |


| Backup Childcare

August 21, 2006


Anne Tergesen

I just got back from a week of hiking and camping in California’s Sierra Mountains. In many ways, I really “got away from it all,” as they say. There was no TV or email. And cell phone reception was spotty. I even resisted the temptation to buy newspapers (JonBenet? Snakes--and terrorists--on planes? I missed it all). But while I got a break from my normal life, there’s no way you could call my vacation remotely relaxing. The reason: my travel companions—otherwise known as my sons—are unbelievably hyper 3-, 6-, and 8-year-old boys.

I’m not complaining. There’s no way I’d trade our hikes amid glacier-filled lakes, wildflowers, and snow-covered peaks for a week at even the swankiest spa. My older two enjoyed both the hikes and beating me to the top. My youngest had a blast on the gondola and trolley rides we took on our less active days.

But after transporting my 35 pound three-year-old for three miles in a “baby” backpack…. After two cross-country plane trips with three kids and no screens…. After a couple reclining poolside during “kid swim” complained that my kids were too loud....After a million verses of The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You” on our mini-van's CD player …. After countless airport lines, a few knock-down brawls, and constant requests for “Mom!” “Mom!!” … well, let’s just say that I need a vacation from my vacation.

Happily, that’s just what I’m getting. Where? At work. To maximize the amount of time our high-octane bunch spends outside New York City each summer, my husband and I stagger our vacations so we each take the kids away solo for a week. Then, the whole family goes away together for another ten days.

I felt sad watching them drive off without me yesterday. But my husband and I also share a secret love of our once-a-year week “off” from parenting. As my husband said while loading up the car, “It’s so nice not to feel constantly rushed, as if you need to cram two days of work into an afternoon, or to be constantly interrupted by someone yelling “Daddy! Mommy! Come quick!”

So, while I’ll be at work all week, I doubt I’ll be too upset about it. In fact, I may even stay late. It’s the only time of the year I don’t have to feel guilty for doing it.

12:25 PM


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- But my husband and I also share a secret love of our once-a-year week “off” from parenting. As my husband said while loading up the car, “It’s so nice not to feel constantly rushed, as if you need to cram two days of work into an afternoon, or to be constantly interrupted by someone yelling “Daddy! Mommy! Come quick!” -

I thought this was especially interesting, as the next "thing" most parents are already thinking about right now is "back to school."


One of the things I’m interested in is how Goal setting affects families during the “back to school” days.

Over many years of coaching and consulting, I have found that people who have written goals are more likely to experience their intentions. The goal setting process need not be an expensive, long-drawn-out one. However, a mechanism must be put into play to regularly and positively reengage with those goals. Following you’ll see something I recommend people practice.

To begin, identify two to four projects; these could be goals you know you will accomplish within the next several months. On a note card or calendar, write that goal and the date it is due. Use four to six sentences to write each one. Write or type these, and post them in a place you know you will see on a regular basis.

With a consistent review, it is possible to chart your progress easily and recognize patterns early on through the completion process. The larger the goal and more important the outcome, the more you will want to know if you are on or off course.

As the school year gets underway, I also wanted to include a potential resource for the people you interact with. Please click on this link for an article published in the magazine: Santa Barbara Family Life.

Posted by: Jason Womack at August 23, 2006 02:14 AM

I have a 7-yr-old and 4-yr-old. I run a small Silicon-Valley based media company. This summer, we thought it would be fun to go to Salida, CO, rent a little house, and then I could work from there - virtually. Ummm...that was a "location" not a vacation. I came back early because it was so stressful trying to meet everyone's expectations. I learned my lesson - turn it off and tune into the family!

Posted by: Alison Murdock at September 1, 2006 03:47 PM

Very nice. All best.

Posted by: Agroturystyka at September 13, 2006 06:10 PM

Your blog in contridictory in that you write about glacier walks and no cell service, but out of the other side of your mouth you complain about carrying a 35lb toddler and knock-down brawls. Unfortunately, this train of thought is becoming all too familiar. My response? You shouldn't have had kids, plain and simple. Children are gifts whose every waking moment should be treasured by both parents. Think of what your son would think if he could read your blog and know that you are looking forward to your "secret love" which is a week without him. It's things like this that make my think that there should be a license to have a child.

Maybe I took this the wrong way, or maybe you like to complain in your blog because you are a "Working Parent". You and your husband are the ones to blame for becoming "Working Parents". If you secretly love your time alone without children, maybe you should have not had them. I hope you read my response and learn to love your children more and cherish every waking moment. They could vanish tomorrow...

Posted by: David Thompson at September 25, 2006 10:49 AM

You, David Thompson, clearly do not have children. Yes, they can be a gift, but time alone for introspection and de-stressing is required. Some moments are harder to cherish than others, like a screaming toddler in the grocery store. It is not the fault of the parent, sometimes children are tired or have bad days. Honestly.

Clearly the author cares for her children, thus the glacier walks and other activities were enjoyed. She stated that she was sad as she watched them drive away, but knew she would see them soon.

David, kindly shut up about things you know nothing about.

Posted by: Heidi at September 25, 2006 11:58 AM

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