Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My sabbatical date is set

I'm so excited! I spoke to my manager yesterday, and she agreed to my dates. I'm planning on taking from ~May 15th to just after Labor Day off. (I'll adjust my exact end date when M & I finalize if we will take 1 or 2 days off to have a long weekend in April.)

My sabbatical requires me to use all existing vacation before beginning, so I'll use about three weeks of vacation, and then have a 90 day (unpaid) sabbatical. Although it's, unpaid, it's very much worth it to me. Here's why I'm excited about the timing:

  • From a work perspective, I will have the opportunity to train a new hire (a people manager on my team) to get up to speed. This means, everything should go more smoothly when I'm out.
  • I'll have time off from work with the kids (over the summer) & without the kids (last couple of weeks of May + the first week of June). Then the kids & I will have the summer together, & I'll have a few weeks to recover once they go back to school. 
  • I've never had a summer offer before! I started working when I was 15, so it's been. . . 28 years of working summers. What an exciting feeling! 
  • We won't have to pay for summer child care. We do have the kids registered for a sleepaway camp, and will keep that. Otherwise, we may do a few half day soccer camps here & there, if they are inexpensive. We will save the rest of the summer camp budget we had set for 2019.

So, what am I going to do with all of my time? I haven't completely finalized my plans, but here are some things I'm thinking about:

  • My sister & BFF are coming to visit (and, we're running another half marathon) in May, right after my sabbatical starts. Perfect timing!
  • I'd like to use the next few weeks to get things done around the house. I'm thinking of the following:
    • A lot of deep cleaning. So. much. All of the things I never get to.
    • Organize all of our photos. Both digital & print. I'd like to scan all of the print photos, and make photo books from everything.
    • Do some journaling/writing.
    • Declutter our house
    • Relax!! 

  • After the kids are out of school, I'll fly with them to my parents house for a mountain biking event. I'll attend, & then may go to  our vacation house while my parents have "Nana & Papa Camp" with the kids. It is, by far, my kids favorite summer camp. :-) 
  • While the kids are at "Nana & Papa Camp", I'm hoping to spend some time at our vacation house. Maybe a girls trip with my sister & BFF, if it works for their schedules.
  • I also would like to spend time at the vacation house decluttering & deep cleaning, because it needs it. We may need to arrange for a few appliance repairs or other house work there, and we are never at the house long enough to accomplish this.
  • We will have a Fourth of July party/vacation at the house with family. Kite flying on the beach!
  • We'll head home after the 4th
  • The kids will go to sleepaway camp for 10 days, while M & I hopefully go somewhere for a long weekend
  • We'll take it easy the first two weeks of August, getting the kids ready for back to school
  • The kids will go back mid-month & sports practice & schedules will begin again
  • Sam & I are signed up to do the relay at the end of the month, so we'll head to Portland for that
  • I'll head back to work, if there are part time opportunities. Given how close it is to the end of the year, I may go back full time to earn my January bonus. Decisions, decisions. Then I can make a final plan in January. 
My overall goals of the sabbatical are to: recharge, relax, think about my long term future/career, get healthier (drop some weight), enjoy my time & flexibility, & spend as much time as possible with family & friends. 

How would you spend ~15ish weeks off, if you had the chance?


  1. Hmmm...I don't think you will like what I have to say. Are you planning your sabbatical so you can have an extended vacation, or are you doing it to consider choosing to stay at home full time? I haven't worked outside the home since my eldest was born. After graduating from college and landing my job, I worked full time, and probably had all sorts of plans for what I would do if I didn't work full time. Once I married, and we figured we would have kids, we really concentrated on making finances such so that we could live comfortably on one income. I left my career, and reality set in. What I do is most certainly not "time off." The SAHM's I associate with regularly (which is maybe once/month, as we're busy people) are like me. We don't spend our time gadding about, doing lunch, going to prosecco parties, spas and such. The thought is pretty insulting, in fact. There's plenty to do during the day--so much so, that I daresay none of us are ever bored, and rarely idle. I also don't think I have ever felt the need to "recover" from my kids being home for summer vacation. I can't imagine how they would feel if I said something like that to them! Sure, there are days when certain people in this house are problematic, but that happens with coworkers too. People are dynamic, complicated, ever changing creatures.

    1. I don't know why you'd think I don't like what you have to say. I think you perhaps took something more personally that in no way reflects on what I see as the value of people who stay at home, as their job. I have friends who are SAHMs, have obviously considered it myself, and they are busy, amazing, productive & lovely people. But, that is not what *I* do, as I'm sure you know. And, staying at home with my kids during the summer is quite a bit different than me going to work, juggling two kids in child care, school, camp, what have you & managing all of my house responsibilities. There no better, worse, and no judgments made on this. It's a statement of fact.I would expect of myself (as I assume of other SAHMs) that if I wasn't working, I'd do a much better job on managing the "house/family" side of my life than I currently do. This gives me a time to invest in that area. I will take vacations & spend time with friends, because. . . I typically get three weeks of vacation a year. Not sure how that translates into prosecco parties or why that's a reflection on people staying at home.

      I think it will be useful to have time to get our lives back in order after the kids go back to school. I don't find that insulting,but YMMV. I would say it to my kids, because it's not a reflection on my enjoyment of my time with them. When they are around, we will be off doing fun things, not deep cleaning the house or tackling other projects. So, when they go back to school, I'll have an opportunity to do things that I won't want to spend time on when I'm home with them over the summer. Because, my time with them is typically much more limited.

      I'm taking a sabbatical because I'd like a chance to relax & take time off from work. I may or may not choose to return to work. With an autoimmune disease, getting some time to relax & some clear thinking about my career so I can determine what the next 3-5 years holds is important for both my overall health & my family's long term planning.

      This post isn't a debate about staying at home.

  2. I agree a sabbatical, from anything, whether that be a paid out of the house job, as a full time stay at home mother or father, an elder care giver, is an opportunity to decide if different priorities emerge from how a person was previously living. A sabbatical for me now, since I no longer have young children or elder parents that I help care for would be so very different than it would have been a decade ago. Now, I probably would use the time off to explore hobbies, particularly hobbies that might earn some side income, potentially preparing me for or allowing an early retirement from my current work. I say current work because I too understand that people that do not choose to work for an income outside of the home are doing equally time consuming things-things I've often neglected for right or wrong. I don't feel your post stated anything other than how you will be spending your 15 weeks out of the work force and invited others that might consider that same opportunity a chance to reflect on how they would spend that time.

    1. Thanks, Sam. You've given me good food for thought on the income generation/hobby side. I do plan to write some while I am off, and that's something I always wanted to explore as a potential future job. I like your lens & will have to think about if anything particularly draws me in as a future side career.

      Thanks for clarifying how you interpreted my post. To your point, what I plan to do is step back & use the time to understand if I want/need to make changes in our lives. It's a huge decision with far reaching financial & personal implications, so I do want to be very sure. I'm also just pretty burned out, and could use the time from international travel & the grind of my current job to free up some mental space to make better decisions. I will also use the time for productive tasks that I've ignored for too long, & spending time with people in my life.

      Who knows what I'll actually think once I'm on sabbatical, but of course will report back!

  3. Great take time off and recharge, have fun, do some of the things you never get to do!

  4. I am a SAHM though now I guess I am just a SAH since everyone has left the nest. I did not take your post as anything other than a roadmap of what you would like to do when you take some time off. If I had to do the international travel like you do, plus live life around 2 active sons I would most like use the time to unwind and recoup too. Plus ,I agree, it will be a really nice protracted time to decide if you really want to quit what you are doing, explore or options, or continue as usual.
    I am all in favor of anyone doing what works for them. For the record some mini vacation time alone with friends would probably do me some good too, and I am sure TheHub would like some nights to himself also. I might need to get a beach trip with a few friends planned!

  5. Bravo!!! I recently ended up with almost two full weeks off around the holiday (we shutdown, so it was truly quiet) and no travel planned. Similar to your summer plans, I was able to spend time with my kids and friends!! Bravo to you for that as a priority! My only thought after reading your post was it seems BUSY. Maybe consider a few less goals to ensure you get to just BE for a while... a few days with no plan at all so you have time to clear your mind. I actually started my time off with a hosted meditation session... it really set the stage. (btw, the comment interpreting your post as some indictment on SAHMs didn't resonate and I don't think it was aligned with your post). Either way, bravo to you and bravo to your company for recognizing the value of this for their employees!

  6. I meant simply that you refer to your sabbatical as "time off," then proceeded to set yourself with quite a large to do list which is, indeed, WORK. Granted, it's work of a different nature, but work nonetheless. I think you may be in for a surprise. I can tell you that just the simple act of being present in the home as a "Mom" (read woman) brings about expectations in even the most enlightened of families. On the other hand, if you are burned out at work, then the change alone may be a respite. But unless you intend to hire help, it will be anything but "time off." To me, time off denotes lying on a beach in Jamaica!
    My experience with sabbaticals is from my familiarity with academia. The purpose of those sabbaticals was to provide time to pursue research without the daily responsibility of teaching students, allowing professors to come back better prepared to teach their courses. I don't know any professors who have taken sabbaticals (and I know a lot) who have used the time to tend the home fires.

    1. I understand your angle-the term used to be very academia focused, but has broadened in the last decade+ to be more a term for a break from the normal career/work/life/obligation to reflect, rejuvenate, and potential realign values and priorities. I don't think anyone means to debate merits of choices so I thought I'd just throw that thought to the conversation as the term sabbatical has different meanings and interpretations-the evolution of the English language.

  7. Not sure what Meg B is on about ?? - congrats on organising your sabbatical and I really hope you enjoy it and get time to unwind.

    I took a year off work and I loved it - had a wonderful time just relaxing at home with the family and recuperating from years of full time work. time off work really helped my health, like you I have several autoimmune illnesses . enjoy your time off!