Jul 22 Top 5 Responses to My Sabbatical Announcement
Ding, ding, ding. My inbox exploded with responses after I sent the message announcing my sabbatical. Quickly the assumptions and conclusions were made…
5.) “You will enjoy being a stay-at-home mom – are your kids so excited?”
It was interesting to see how the announcement of a sabbatical quickly translated to being a stay-at-home mom. Perhaps this is an easy assumption because this is what we know today – either you are in a cubicle or a carpool line but you most definitely must choose. You don’t get to just take breaks or vacillate between these two worlds – both equally important and challenging but they should not mix. No ma’am, you need to pick your team and stick to it. You my dear, are not a free agent.
So clearly it makes perfect sense that if I was not going to be receiving a direct deposit every two weeks then I would be devoting my life solely to my children. I see images of neatly folded clothes with handwritten notes of affirmation stacked precisely in their organized drawers, all meals prepared from scratch and served on coordinating but not necessarily matching plates (my farmhouse-chic Pinterest board brought to life), each month and memory neatly documented in exquisite handwriting with photographs that are stunning but not too posed – that’s what happens when you stay at home, right?
Because this is what we do – we give ourselves to others and most big decisions are fueled by this expectation. We accept jobs to obtain the financial means to take care of others or we stay at home to do the work of providing care for others. It would be downright selfish to do it for ourselves, right?
Not that more time with the kiddos is not part of the perks of taking a midlife break – because it most certainly is one of the very best parts – but it’s also about me. It’s about taking a breath after years of travel and email and meetings.
As for the kids, I hope they are somewhat excited but as other parents of teens and pre-teens know, the excitement radar rarely fires too high on matters of mom or dad. Now if the Internet goes down, well that’s another story…
4.) “You won’t last 2 (3, 4, 6, etc.) months before you are so bored you want to come back.”
I guess if you have a reputation of being in perpetual motion, it is not unfathomable to think that you might fail at taking some time to rest in your own personal zen garden sipping organic, non-GMO hot lemon water surrounded by nothing but the seconds and minutes of your days. Still, I dismiss this timeline.
A sabbatical is not simply quitting your job and laying by the pool, snacking on Bonbons; it is a time of discovery. And discovery takes WORK people. And time. Plus I hate Bonbons.
3.) “You are so brave to sacrifice your career for some time off.”
Sacrifice?? This only reinforces the prevaling notion in this country that we cannot take any time off or the world will fall apart without us or we will be passed over for the fellow in the next cubicle because he proudly has not taken a vacation in five years. What other assumption could be made – of course, I’m sacrificing my career; I’m throwing it all away. Poof! I am no longer relevant or skilled in any way.
2.) “Have you lost your mind leaving a good job in this day and age?? I wish I could lose my mind too…”
So many responses came with a P.S. at the end – in teeny, tiny font was their secret wish to do something similar, to follow a dream, to travel for a few months, to try a completely new career in the non-profit sector (not enough money, they feared), to find their passion (wherever it was hiding – they weren’t sure where to look).
But apparently my old friend Fear gets around a lot and has spread the same doomsday messages, so no dice for them today. It’s not their time but somehow they could see and feel my motivations and almost make them their own…
1.) “I am so happy for you!”
And I really must say, the support and love is and was overwhelming. Like a magic carpet made from the fabric of well wishes, I fly off into the unknown Land of Sabbatical in search of rest and fulfillment. Oh, and a zen garden… definitely a zen garden.