Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Working Mama Wednesday - Vacation is coming!

Pretty soon my family and I will be embarking on our somewhat annual family vacation.  It made mie think about how much I value our family vacations and wish we had more.  Time just gets away from us in our crazy schedule and its virtually impossible for our family to take a vacation of any time without someone taking time off from work.  That's not necesarily a problem, it just complicates matters.  Many couples with kids struggle to take a weekend here and there because they need to find childcare.  That's not our issue.  For us to take a weekend away we need to figure out who isn't going to go to work - are we going on my husband's "weekend" or mine?  Who can afford to take time off work given what's going on there - who will get in trouble, who can get the time off, who has more time off.  We can't take the inexpensive types of trips - the Saturday day-trips to nearby tourists spots or hiking or maybe even the weekend camping in the woods.  It's not because we don't have woods or tourist spots or hiking spots and it's not because we lack the appropriate gear and it's not even because sometimes we have up-to 4 (now 5) kiddos and it just takes a lot of work to do things like that with preschoolers, let alone a lot of them.

Nope.  For us its the time.  And really, the time.  Not from a "we need more time together at home" or "wow if we go away on the weekend we'll have less time to lounge on the couch and get laundry done" type of time-less.  We really don't have the time together.  The longest period of time my husband and I are together during a 24 hours period in any given week is 13 hours including time we're together sleeping.  The smallest time is 3 hours.  The longest non-sleeping time we have together is 5 hours and the shortest is 0 as in no time.  There's not much you can do in a total of 5 hours, and for reference, those 5 hours are usually weekdays where some are before work/school and some are after work/school - the hours are broken up.

Yep.  Time to vacation or do any sort of out-of-home leisure activity together is extremely limited around here, which is why we value the time we do get to be together as a family all that much more. 

It got mie thinking about vacation time from work.

When I first started working full-time I was 18 and earned 1 week paid vacation. How cool was that? I could take 7 days of vacation and that did not include some of the days we were closed, like Thanksgiving and Christmas (I do believe those were the only days we were closed so I typically worked other holidays). But still - that was awesome.
When I took my first job out of college I was 20 and earned 2 weeks of paid vacation. Now that was really cool. That meant I could take off the week of Thanksgiving and the last 2-weeks of the year, which acutally made up 3 full-weeks using my 2 weeks of vacation. Of course my job really didn't allow for that and I was lower on the seniority totem pole so the likelihood of me getting those weeks off was pretty slim. Not that it mattered - I didn't have kids and we lived near family so we didn't need to take those weeks off. I'd just assume take time off here and there during the year and that's just what I did.
Almost 5 years ago I celebrated my 5th year at this company, which I celebrated by proclaiming to all that I just earned my 3rd year - after 5 years, when I was 25, I began having 3 weeks off paid each year. This was really cool because at this point I no longer lived near family and traveling back to see them over the holidays, or any days really, required more time-off. This allowed for the Thanksgiving week, the last two weeks of the year, AND 1 more week off during the year. I traveled a lot during those years for work, so if I played my cards right I could earn more time off AND get my travel paid for. One time I was able to work in Denver for a week and then rather than travel home afterward I traveled to LA first, took my nephews to Disneyland for one of their birthdays, and then flew home. Because the price of the plane tickets was actually cheaper to fly to LA first, I went on the company dime, stayed with my parents, and I could afford to pay for Disney for them. That was so much fun.
Almost 5 years ago means that I've almost spent another 5 years at this company. It's been about 4.5 more years since then but since vacation kicks in at the beginning of the new year I can say that in a few more weeks I'll start earning 4 WHOLE WEEKS of vacation. I'm so looking forward to this. It will mean that I can take off the week of thanksgiving, the last two weeks of the year, and two whole other weeks during the year. I can take a spring and summer vacation if I want to. We could take a vacation to visit family out of state and another vacation just for our family, if we wanted to. To date we've really only been able to have vacations where we go visit family because our vacation time was limited and we value those trips. But it will be so nice to be able to do both.
4 whole weeks - I'm really looking forward to that. Now, what-to-do, what-to-do...

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