All I want for Pesach…is a national vacation policy that makes sense for families.
The majority of families, that is.
Those with two working parents.
Wait, let me be bold.
What I’d really like is a national every day policy that makes sense for families with two working parents. One that allows us to both afford to live a reasonably comfortable life and actually spend meaningful time with our children and spouses.
But, in the meantime, I’d settle for a less asinine vacation policy.
Whose brilliant idea is it to give children two weeks off from school — mandatory vacation for only children and educators (and apparently Knesset, who gets a five-week recess) — but not the rest of society?
Who is supposed to supervise all those vacationing children the week before Passover?
I don’t hear their teachers volunteering.
I don’t hear vacationing Knesset members volunteering.
Don’t get me wrong.
Teachers deserve a vacation from my children.
But I deserve one with them.
I shouldn’t have to essentially pay out-of-pocket from my office vacation time because the government has mandated a holiday for children, but not their parents.
I also shouldn’t have to pay out-of-pocket for my school-aged children to go to camp in the summer while my husband and I burn the midnight oil to pay the bill.
And then there’s August.
When there is nothing for my kids to do and nowhere to be — no public programming and hardly any private — and not enough mandatory vacation time for employees to be able to match the child’s needs with the adult’s responsibilities.
Israel, like the U.S. needs to desperately resolve an economic environment that requires both parents of a family to work full-time (and some times more) just to make ends meet (let alone to prosper). And Israel, like the U.S. needs to reconcile a clear imbalance in the lives of its citizens.
We’re working, working, working, running, running, running — all the time.
No wonder we all hate Marissa Mayer.
We’re tired. We’re cranky.
We’re sick of running.
Most of us don’t know how we do it each and every day… all that running. We try not to think about it. We just do it. On auto-pilot: Wake up. Make the lunches, dress the kids, dress ourselves, run to the office, be on top of things, watch the clock, pay the bills, run home, be on top of things. And then do it all over again.
And then we thank GOD for Shabbat.
But it’s not funny.
“What else can we do?” we shrug.
We have to manage, we say in defeated whispers.
We manage, but really we’re drowning.
If we admit it, most of us are drowning.
A revised national vacation policy would, at the very least, allow us the opportunity to come up for air…
Smell the sweet smell of our children.
And, occasionally, make time for our marriage, our friendships, and ourselves.
It would be a start.
Before you jump to conclusions: I’ve been a full-time working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a part-time work-at-home mom, and a full-time work-at-home mom. My husband has worked full-time and part-time. He’s been a work-at-home consultant, too. We’ve sacrificed the extras in order to be available to our kids, and each other. We understand what it means to make choices in order to balance our lives. We know what it means to say, Yes, and to say, No.
We continue to make those choices.
But it’s time for help from the outside.
And I don’t mean a nanny I can’t afford.
I mean an overhaul of policy that none of us can.