We’ve been on holiday the last couple of weeks and its been blissful spending some time in the sun. I must admit though travelling with my children is not quite the same as I remember holidays in those self indulgent, single days, “before child”.
I guess because in effect I am taking my job along with its many responsibilities away with me. So there isn’t that sense of freedom a holiday used to suggest.
I always enjoyed working in sales, well as long as I had a decent salary and forgiving Boss but equally I loved the time off too. In my last job as a Sales Rep the sense of freedom began as soon as I set my “out of office” email responder. It was usually along the lines of “Thank you for your mail, I’m on holiday until 26th October. If your enquiry is urgent please contact Mike from Accounts.”
Now there wasn’t much Mike wouldn’t do for me. He’d chase a courier to ensure my best client got their delivery on time or he’d present my forecasts at a sales meeting. I look at the demands of my current role and I think Mike justifiably may struggle to stand in for me.
Would he be able to answer Izzie, my 3 year olds daily call of “I’M FINISHED” from beyond the bathroom door? Possibly not. Besides I think it would be inappropriate to ask him to dash in there with the Andrex wipes and do the necessary. Would he be prepared to work my share of the night shift? You know do things like check there aren’t any monsters under Izzie’s bed when she hollers for us during the early hours. Again I feel this would be too much to ask.
Plus I can’t imagine any CRM system being capable of holding the necessary information to prepare Mike or anyone to look after my two current clients. My girls are the most complex and demanding characters I have ever had to take care of. How do I begin to intelligently explain that when Jemima points to a banana and says KeeKee she wants to eat it like a monkey? Then when she thrusts the mauled banana back at you in disdain, it means she either can’t be arsed with the effort of eating it anymore and wants you to cut it up in little pieces and feed her or she’s had enough. Its down to the banana handler to judge the situation at the time.
Then there’s the packing…Gone are the days of money, ticket, passport. There is so much more important stuff to remember now because I know if I forgot something, like Little Charley Bear, I’d be in serious trouble. How would Jemima sleep without him? As well as the more practical stuff like Calpol or Piriton as perish the thought foreign alternatives may make Izzie even more hyper than she already is.
When you actually get on holiday, your work is far from done. For you know that as soon as your backside hits the sunbed, your child will nag you to get into the freezing cold pool. I often wonder why swimming pools are so much more inviting to children? I guess the cold water doesn’t affect them when they’re frolicking about and it probably doesn’t cross their minds that the shifty looking child treading water in the corner may be guilty of peeing in the pool.
Despite my cynicism when I did summon up the courage to get in the freezing, possibly filthy water I did actually enjoy frolicking with the girls. Last week Izzie learnt to swim, well with the help of a life jacket and flotation noodle. Her swimming resembled a rather inelegant doggy paddle but it was pretty awesome to watch. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on that if Mike from Accounts had been looking after her.
In fact even when people do look after my girls for an hour or so, I really enjoy hearing all about what they’ve been up to in my absence. My husband and I went out for a meal just the 2 of us, first time in 3 years and it was brilliant to enjoy dinner instead of the usual Mad Hatters Tea Party we’ve become accustomed to. There was proper grown up bread with bits of olives in it on the table and neither a bottle of Ketchup nor Sippy cup was in sight.
I enjoyed every minute of our time alone but when we picked the girls up from my parents’, I loved hearing that Izzie had entertained everyone by insisting the correct term for a lift in America was an “alligator” not an elevator. I was keen to find out how many times Jemima had managed to say No in the 2 hours we had left her. And also intrigued to see if she had thrown any of her specialty “back flip floor paddys”.
I savored every detail of what they’d been up to in my absence. To be fair whenever Mike from Accounts attempted to give me a full debrief I never gave him the attention he deserved. Professionally speaking of course.
So all things considered holidays are quite different for me now. Not only because I take my two most demanding customers ever but also because I want to. The last couple of weeks have been brilliant, seeing my children in a completely different environment, watching them explore things like the sea, sand and shells for the very first time. OK, my workload may be similar but it’s in a more relaxed environment which has to be a good thing. After all a change is as good as a rest, isn’t it?