Just Get Me to Friday…

I recently enjoyed a break from my job. Not a family vacation, this was a vacation when my job did not come along. They stayed with their grandparents. However, the week before we dropped them off and headed south, my four children found every button in my psyche and pushed them—repeatedly. The twins found every conceivably illogical reason to throw tantrums; my son found new and creative ways to make all of his sisters cry; and my oldest daughter found clever ways to ignore me. When the week ended, I desperately needed a vacation, an asylum, or an orphanage.

Why is it that the week just before a vacation is due to begin is usually the worst week of the year? There is obviously the heightened anticipation of a break that makes the week seem interminable, but what is the mechanism that turns everything else against you? I remember this from when I had a daytime-only job, too. This is not something only Stay-At-Homes face.

I have developed three theories. The first involves the mysterious Eastern philosophy of yin and yang. That’s the cool swirly black and white circle that looks like mating fish. To oversimplify, this belief says that in order for balance to exist in the universe, there must be an equal amount of good and bad. It stands to reason then that this balance can extend to stress levels. In order for our lives to be balanced, our calm, relaxed moments (i.e. vacation) must be countered with times of extreme chaos (the week before vacation). Being a phenomenon outside our understanding and linear timeline, the balancing stress can come before the moments of blissful rest. The rest of our year we are pretty much somewhere in the middle.

The theory I put my faith in also involves a power beyond our grasp: a benevolent and omniscient God. Being benevolent, God really wants us to enjoy our vacations. Being able to look down on our lives from above, God can see next week as easily as today. Because He knows everything, He can tell how much we will appreciate our break.

He might hear us say something like, “Boy, this is a nice vacation, but really, was work all that bad? I kind of miss it.”

To help us avoid such an outrageous sentiment, the Almighty helpfully sends some crap into our normal day. This ensures we will fully grasp the necessity of taking the vacation in the first place.

“Why are you banging your head against that tree?”

“Because it feels so good when I stop!”

The last theory is just this: our lives are chaotic all the time. Only when we have a light from the end of the tunnel can we see just how crazy it is.

No matter why that working week is especially insane, thank God for vacations!

©2008, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark 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. or E-Mail

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