Saturday Morning Is a Feeling
Just like vacation is a feeling, Saturday morning is a feeling. You can take time off work and you can go somewhere magical, but until you let yourself relax, you aren’t on vacation.
I wondered how I’d feel about people believing maternity leave is a vacation. Half the opinions viciously defending the tireless work of parenthood. The other half not saying but really saying they feel it’s a break.
So far, I’d say it looks like a vacation but surely doesn’t feel like one.
These days, I’m living in a blur of fast but long weekdays. Caring for my newborn daughter it’s a tricky blend of feeling incredibly unproductive while feeling entirely consumed. I look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone when it feels as though I’ve done nothing with it.
I live my life in 15 minute increments. I handle tasks in quarterly phases as they’re surely interrupted by a cry to be held, changed, nursed, burped or swayed to sleep.
Friends ask to visit or make plans. I look at my calendar and its open but I am still at the whim of my childs needs. I can meet at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday but we will probably be late from her last minute explosive shit. I can plan to meet at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday but find her entering a growth spurt and show up half-alive after a night of 4 1-hour spurts of sleep tossed between bouts of piercing screams and voracious feedings. I mean, total vacation mode, right?!
Then again, it is very vacation-esque and wonderful to step out at 1:00 P.M., when baby girl is relaxed and happy and we’re sitting in a warm, sunny park, enjoying the summer.
Mothering at this stage is relentless and, oftentimes, tedious which could so easily be misconstrued as relaxing or vacation. I often welcome the distraction of a good show or movie while I’m nursing or rocking her to sleep, and then feel guilty that I didn’t use my one free hand to do something, anything. I was watching TV, so surely it was a break, right? Didn’t feel like it!
For the first time in almost two months, I’ve experienced a Saturday morning (ironically, on an actual Saturday) where I’ve allowed myself to feel like I can take a break and actually savor it. I had a productive evening prior that lead to waking up in a clean home, with clean laundry and sore muscles from a good workout. All these things, gave me the mental freedom to relax and settle into the comfort of a slow wake up. This calm state was too good to pass up. I traded another hour or two of sleep so that I could write while my daughter gets her last stretch of sleepy-sleep in for the morning. Sure, I’ll be tired with only the fragmented accumulation of maybe 6 hours of sleep, but the chance to savor a moment alone in my thoughts — it’s priceless. It’s vacation.
So there is my opinion on whether maternity leave is a vacation. It’s time off work. Vacation is a feeling and oftentimes, with the exception of those seldom, deliciously peaceful, “Saturday” morning feelings, we’re too damn tired or distracted to feel anything.