We were supposed to go to Hawaii in July 2020, however, the pandemic happened and our trip was cancelled. Many things had changed since that original trip was planned. We had another baby in October 2020, I no longer worked for corporate, I became a WFHM (work from home mom) in March 2021.
Going on a trip as a WFHM brings a different stress level to vacation than leaving for a trip and having a corporate job. As a WFHM, I don’t get paid PTO, every day that I don’t work is a day that I’m not being bring in income…at least that’s what my brain tells me.
The countdown was on for the trip and I could feel the anxiety rising as each day grew closer to us leaving. I wanted to enjoy this trip, relax, and be in the moment, but I couldn’t help but feel as though I should bring my laptop. My mind kept telling me that it would be fine, I could sneak in some work while I was in the room with the kids before we headed out for the day in the morning or during nap time. But, I promised myself and my husband I wasn’t going to work on vacation. I needed this trip without work. WE needed this trip to reconnect as a family.
The packing started, I had my lists for what each person needed for their personal bags for the planes, carry-on bag, and the packed bags. Every time I added something to my personal bag, I wanted to add my laptop, just in case something came up on the vacation, I needed to be able to handle it.
Then Jason said to me, “I told everyone at work not to call me, text me, or email me while were on vacation. I won’t be near my phone, and I can figure out anything that happened while I’m gone, when I get back”. So I hid my laptop out of sight. I knew if he was going to be serious about not working on vacation, I needed to be, too.
When I was finished packing, and we headed to the airport, I only had my phone and my iPad, feeling as if I was missing something but knowing this is what needed to happen. I have been feeling the burnout of instant accessibility. I have this quirk about me: I can’t leave messages and/or emails unread. Any notification on my phone drive me crazy and I must instantly make it go away, but I am exhausted.
Everyone who was already a client of mine knew I was going on vacation and encouraged me to make myself unavailable. I kept my email on my phone and allowed myself to answer urgent emails from companies that were interested in partnering or emails that pertained to current partnerships. If anything else came through, it went into the trash folder or was left unread.
For a week, I was present during breakfast, I sat at the beach, played in the waves, watched the kids surf on boogie boards, enjoyed the lazy river, read a book, and posted what I wanted on my social media pages outside of any partnerships. I felt zero guilt for the posts I put up, comments I responded to and/or engagement I did on others posts as I scrolled social media.
The last time I was able to go on a vacation and not have any work to do was 5.5 years ago when my husband took me to Hawaii the first time. 5.5 years, two kids, and a pandemic is a long time to go without a true vacation. But during our week at the Disney Aulani without any work was the most relaxed I had felt in years.
The last day of the vacation arrived and I couldn’t believe it was coming to an end. I enjoyed a morning walk to Starbucks, taking in the sights and the unique Hawaiian smell. We went to breakfast at the resort, let the kids play in the splash pad area, fed the reef fish that Aulani has on property, went to the beach where I sat with Sienna while she napped, and I started a new book while listening to the waves crash. On our walk back from dinner we got to watch the sunset, it was quite nostalgic for me, as the spot we were at is where Jason and I first watched the sunset 5.5 years ago. In that moment, I knew I had made the right choice in not bringing my laptop. I was thriving. My clients and business were surviving without me, and I was genuinely happy I got to enjoy such a special vacation with my family. I encourage everyone to take the time to unplug and enjoy life with those you love.