Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: I’m a teacher, and for the first time in six years, I’ve decided not to work full time in the summer. I’ll still tutor and work three weeks of summer school to earn some extra money. My husband and I have worked hard to become debt-free and will accomplish our goal shortly, so I felt like I could relax a little.
I discussed it with my husband several times and he assured me he was OK with this new plan.
Now that summer is here, he’s admitted that he’s resentful of my time off and that when teachers comment about “deserving” a summer break, it breeds resentment from those who work 12 months. If it were up to me I’d work a 12-month job that earned a more competitive pay.
I’m devastated that I’m now going to feel guilty every day I don’t work this summer and furious that he waited until the day after school let out to let me know how he really feels. Please help!
This is superficially a vacation question, and really about a big change to the day-to-day balance of your marriage.
Establishing a new balance requires patience and persistence, so you and your husband are due for another conversation. It’s possible he wasn’t able to identify his own feelings until your vacation became real. Some people, maybe even most, aren’t able to anticipate feelings; even the ones who can will probably be off by a few ticks on the intensity.
I married a teacher. I agree fully that the draining work and relatively low pay mean the time off is well-deserved (and I take exception to your husband’s presuming to speak for “those who work 12 months”). And yet it can still be hard to clatter away on my keyboard with the strains of “SportsCenter” wafting through the air at 11 a.m. Focus on making this easier on each other. He owes you respect for your profession and you owe him the sensitivity not to have your leisure right in his face.
Re: Resentment: The teacher should note the sentiment, be sensitive to how she discusses it, and go on with her life. There’s only so much she can do to make her partner feel better.
Yes – thank you. She gave him his say, so no guilt required.
Re: Teacher: Look for ways to make your being on break good for him, too. Mow the lawn and do other chores during the week so the two of you can have fun together on the weekend. Complete some tasks that neither of you have been getting to, but you know bug him. Basically, do what you hope he would if he had two months off while you were working.
This is the “only so much she can do,” within reason, of course. Thanks.
Re: Teaching: I taught for three years and quickly concluded it was a 12-month job packed into 10 months. Nothing I’ve done since could compare to the difficulty and constant, nonstop stress of being a teacher. I never begrudge a teacher the time off.
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