In Helsinki, Summer days are numbered. I can’t help it but sharing some of the insights I collected during the Summer holidays. This reading is mostly useful for parents of preschoolers who want to dedicate time to their kids and at the same time, have a passion and commitment to their work.
When the Summer vacation started, I felt anxious and overwhelmed. I was obsessed with all the ideas about how to move on forward with my projects. For each project, plenty of research to do, social media presence, etc. Countless reasons and scenarios of why and how to continue the entrepreneurial work.
Meanwhile, my kids had started their vacation. Husband and grandparents busy. To whom could I shift the responsibility of taking care of them, throughout July?
We packed and travelled to my hometown where we spent the entire month of July. After the first week of tormenting and conflicting feelings between the identity of the work-self and that of the mother-self, I made up my mind:
- I’ll focus my attention on my kids for four weeks.
- I’ll not touch my laptop.
The vacation broken down in weeks
In the first week, I kept staring at my laptop. “Should I open it? Maybe it is a bad idea to focus on my kids entirely.” At some point, I made a compromise with myself. “Fine. I’ll open the laptop to read articles for pure pleasure and personal interest. Nothing related to the professional pursuits.”
By the end of the second week, play ideas were popping into my head. Occasionally, I would feel the fear of missing out on the latest news and ideas conjured up by peers who were still working hard and long days.
By the end of the third week, I could observe the worlds of family members and close friends. Learning to be compassionate with their thoughts and emotions. Offering emotional support.
Now and then, the fear about the uncertainty of my entrepreneurial work would bother me like the noise of a mosquito in the silence of the bedroom, at night. The fear would distract me from what was going on around.
By the end of the fourth week, I was relaxed! I stopped feeling guilty for admiring the nature, in my parents’ garden, many times a day.
What I found out
- Switching off the work related thoughts can’t be done completely but it’s worth to try.
- Your kids will be happy to see you present, both physically and emotionally.
- At the end of the four weeks vacation, I laughed at myself and at the work ideas I had in the beginning of the month.
- The higher quality work-ideas need time to breathe and work themselves out in the subconscious mind.
- The more you get fixated with an idea and push it towards implementation when you are highly anxious, the more likely you’ll get to a poor outcome.
- When you have conflicting personal and professional values, just take a break. You’ll understand better what’s important to you and how to act accordingly, in a given circumstance.
When you hear yourself thinking, “I can’t afford to take a vacation now.”, that is the moment to look for a travel companion, pack up and leave town. Maybe you don’t need to go away for one month, the way I did. One weekend might be good enough, as long as you turn the attention towards the people around you and put on hold your desires and ideas.