Parenting is by far the most demanding and undervalued job on the planet. Moms and dads act as personal chefs, housekeepers, chauffeurs, psychologists, nurses, crisis negotiators, tutors, and more. A recent Salary.com survey found that the average stay-at-home-mom’s annual base salary would be $48,509 for the normal 40 hour work week, plus an additional $94,593 in overtime, for a total annual income of $143,102. Salary.com even has a tool that will let you calculate how much your annual income would be if you were paid for your parenting duties. Enter in how many hours per week you spend doing various, predetermined tasks and, boom, in a jiffy you have a monetary value assigned to your parenting. As a working mom, pay for my parenting duties would add an additional $57,626 to my annual income.
Now, let’s talk about the benefits of vacation. The Harvard Business Review recently revealed that people are under the misconception that the harder you work and the more hours you put in, the more successful you will be at your job. However, statistics show that taking more vacation directly correlates to having greater success at work while simultaneously lowering stress and increasing happiness at work and at home. Vacations have also been shown to help prevent heart disease and illness, help you maintain focus, improve your sex life, make you happier, improve your quality of sleep, and help reduce mindless eating. So, it follows that taking a vacation from parenting would have similar benefits.
Make no mistake, though. Traveling somewhere with your children is not a vacation, it’s a trip, as pointed out in the comedic article Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents. And sure, there are plenty of benefits to taking a family trip, like building lifelong memories and blah, blah, blah. But if you want to be the best parent that you can be, then you must find a way to take a vacation from parenting at least once a year.
This week I am working, but I am taking a vacation from parenting. And when we pick up our kiddo from my awesome in-laws next week, I will be a better parent than when he left. I will have more patience and more energy for playing. I will laugh a little more, appreciate every cuddle a little more, and enjoy every daycare pick-up a little more. This is how a vacation from parenting makes me a better parent.
Don’t misunderstand — I cherish every moment spent with my child. But I also cherish every moment spent away from him and recognize the very different values inherent in these diverse experiences.
I don’t view a vacation from parenting as taking time away from my child. I view it as making time for myself. I can’t be the only one who feels that this is a positive thing — can I?
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This post is inspired by today’s daily prompt: Jiffy