Monday, September 8, 2008

taking a duvet day

On Friday I decided to work from home. What I really wanted to do was take what is known back home in the UK as a 'duvet day'. This is taking a sick day when you are not technically sick, formerly known as 'skiving off work', but now given legitimacy by many UK employers. The concept even has its own Wikipedia entry, which states:

"An employee receives an allocation of days where if he or she gets up in the morning and doesn't want to go to work for any reason, he or she can use a "Duvet day".

Obviously employers don't give out too many of these treasures, or people would fail to show up every Monday! But what a great idea. Given the paucity of any kind of paid time off in the US employment world I don't see this catching on here though, more's the pity.

The guiltiest pleasure of the working mum is the ability to take a "day off" from both work and children. Oh, the appalling, selfish luxury! I sent the kids to daycare, then stayed at home alone. I was expecting the garden construction people to be working, and had wanted to be home to supervise a couple of things, but I think the amazing weather (high 80's in San Francisco, that jewel of a week we always get sometime in September) had prompted them to also take a 'duvet day' or maybe a 'lying on the beach day', and I can't say I really blame them.

I had such a relaxing day. I kept poking myself to test for guilty feelings, but non surfaced. I did do quite a bit of actual work, but I also took a lunchtime nap, and for the first time in as long as I can remember I awoke naturally, feeling languid and refreshed, rather than being pulled from sleep by a crying baby or a two year old saying 'is it wake up time yet?'

I did a little image software work on a nice picture I took of the kids, and got an 8x10 print of it developed for a couple of bucks. I'm really pleased at how it turned out.

I took the time prepare something a bit special for our dinner (mahi mahi with pasta and and spicy peanut sauce), it felt so nice to cook unhurried, instead of chopping and mixing so hastily that I risked my fingers. When I picked up the kids (nice and early, a few hours of alone time was plenty, the quiet tidy house started to cry out for some mess and noise), I had a surfeit of time and energy for them. We sat in the almost finished backyard, enjoying our new lawn. Geekybaby was fascinated by the grass between his toes, Geekygirl and Geekydog ran in circles and fell down on it. I basked in the glow of the evening sun and felt more relaxed than I have in a long time.

Maybe I can get 'Duvet days' introduced into our company policy, and from there start a quiet 'work life balance' revolution in California.

1 comment:

followthatdog said...

Don't feel guilty. When I do have guilt pangs for ditching both kids and work, my mom's words of wisdom help a lot.
"you cannot be a good caregiver if you have not taken care of yourself. You need to replenish mommy from time to time or you will end up as a dry well" And by remembering that, my guilt evaporates. My mom rocks.

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