A Mans Holiday
Just imagine. You tidy up your desk, put the plant
near the window and add a little extra water. You
make sure the bag of chips in your filing cabinet
that you snack from occasionally is thrown away.
You bid goodbye to your coworkers, leave the
office, and proceed to forget that it even
You have begun your vacation.
For a week, nothing that even resembles your job
enters your mind. You focus on doing what you want
to do. You have no one breathing down your neck
waiting on a deadline. You have no one pestering
you to work harder or longer or better. You are
here. Work is there.
Unless you are a Stay-At-Home-Dad.
If you are a Stay-At-Home-Dad, you pack up the
familys belongings, pack up the family, and
go somewhere exotic and warm for a holiday from
reality. The entire time, you still have to be
alert that your kids are safe and fed and behaved
and not left at the last rest area. If you are a
Stay-At-Home-Dad, your job follows you on
Vacations are fun. They are wonderful times to
bond with your family and enjoy a different scene
and a different routine, but they are not relaxing.
(Of course, this happens to Stay-At-Home-Moms too,
but they dont read my column.)
So what does a Stay-At-Home-Dads holiday
look like? One that is revitalizing and is truly a
break from his 24/7 job?
First of all, hes the only one there.
There is a time and place for a trip for two, when
the wife can come along, but on a Mans
Holiday, a man must be free of all things for which
he is responsible. No kids. No laundry. No
The place for a Mans Holiday must be
rustic. This is not a time to be pampered by some
Swedish masseur who comes to your suite and paints
your toenails while you watch figure skating on a
large screen TV. This place must be wild and you
must use your ancestral skills to tame it. Like
camping. Or a cabin. Or in a large oak tree on the
side of a mountain. If you have a choice, heat your
vacation home with fire, not some mamby pamby
electric heater. It may have a shower, but
dont even think about using it.
The food on a Mans Holiday is minimal.
Bologna sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and beer
should be enough to sustain any man indefinitely.
Not only are these foods filling without being
difficult to cook, they are easily transportable.
If you cannot find bologna, bread, ketchup or eggs,
do not forget the beer.
There are only two things that must occupy a
mans time on Holiday: nothing and sweating.
The first will probably be the most difficult to
experience. It involves a great deal of will power
to sit and do nothing. Dont read. Dont
watch TV. Dont plan anything or figure out
anything or design anything. Just sit still and be
quiet. Once this is mastered, it is amazing how
relaxing the rest of the trip will be.
Sweating is important also. This can be
accomplished by exercise or manual labor. Climb a
mountain. Track and hunt buffalo. Cross-country ski
across a frozen lake. Dig your van out of a snow
drift. The sweat that soaks your clothes will be
the sweet smell of a job well done. The sweat
flushes your body of tension and toxic
As you recover from your exercise, enjoy more
nothing. If that gets tiresome, go sweat some
You may determine that you have had enough
nothing for one day. (And this is the beauty of a
Mans Holiday: YOU get to determine when you
have had enough. YOU decide when to get off the
couch or IF to get off). If that happens, you have
a few choices. If possible, watch TV. If not, take
a nap. You might read a book, but only if it
induces a nap. Taking a walk would work also,
especially if it is long enough to be a hike, which
would induce sweating. Praying is good. Do not give
into the temptation to fix something around the
cabin or straighten up because you will be leaving
the next day and wouldnt it be easier if this
were already taken care of.
When it is time to go home, pack up and head out
with your head held high. Enjoy the break and do
not regret going back into the real world. Nothing
destroys a vacation more than the desire to make it
last forever. Dont forget the relaxing
freedom you had for a brief time and look forward
to returning to your home and your family.
This weekend is for you to get reacquainted with
you. You are the same person that you were before
kids, before responsibility and accountability. You
have grown and matured and become a more productive
member of society, but that self-centered punk who
spent summer days behind the garage blowing up GI
Joes is still in there somewhere. Remember the man
that was the most important person in your life and
had no one else to care for but you? Hes
waiting for you at the cabin. Go visit.
* * *
Women, it's true, make human beings, but
only men can make men. - Margaret Mead
Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance
writer. Along with raising his four children, he is
developing a franchise called The Vacuum IS a
Power Tool. It is designed to help SAHDs
maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy
Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in
Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching
certificates in English, public speaking, and
psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After
six years as a high school English teacher and
Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High
School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and
became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. www.TheVacuumIsAPowerTool.com
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