Saturday, July 16, 2016

Working Mom Tip: Take Your Lunch Break

lunch break
View from lunch one day
If you are a working mom of small children you need a break. And, that break is not often found at home. I'm not talking about the break you get at night after you put the kids to sleep and you pass out. That's not a break, that is simply exhaustion personified!

I am talking about a midday break to help you clear your head, relax, and focus on you. What is this fantasy world I'm referencing? It is called "lunch".




I understand that there are some factors at play, like bosses, clients, and work, that make taking lunch hard. 

Indeed, in this fast pace working environment called Corporate America taking an uninterrupted lunch hour seems like a luxury. We've known for some time that the days of elegant Mad Men lunches that included a martini are long gone. However, I have found that for many, including myself, eating lunch away from ones desk has also disappeared. Instead of a break, lunch has become en extension of the workday because we are all "so busy".

Indeed, being "busy" has become somewhat of a battle cry and a badge of honor. It seems like the only people who feel entitled to take a break are the smokers. For the life of me, I struggle to comprehend how our society evolved to the point where a cigarette break became sacrosanct and women had to fight to get time to breastfeed. But I digress...


Taking a Lunch Break Is What You Need


When I first started working nobody was too busy going to go to lunch. Indeed, when I was an intern I remember going to lunch with colleagues and learning about the "let's split the check equally concept". That was an eye opener. I had ordered the soup because I had little money. The fact that I had to cover the cost for someone else's salmon salad was a rude awakening! Had I known we were splitting the check, I would have ordered that too! 

Still...I looked forward to a day when I could order what I wanted without regard to the price and enjoy that meal with my work friends. 

However, along the way, something changed. About the time I could afford going out to eat, people stopped doing it. Imagine my surprise! Eating at your desk or skipping lunch altogether became something to be proud of. And too many people embraced it. 

Contrary to what you might think, there is no badge of honor in skipping lunch. The problem with skipping lunch is that the nobody wins. Not you. Not your boss. And not your clients.  


Tip: Take a break from work during the day and focus on yourself. 

If you are a mom of small children, chances are it is the only time you will get all day to yourself. Chances are when you woke up, you belonged to your family. You likely had a commute full of traffic, tantrums and total chaos. Your morning has been full of making other people's dreams come true, especially if you are in a client centered industry like law. And when you get home you will belong to your family. There will be entering, homework, story reading and dinner to be made. 

If you don't take lunch, your entire day may belong to others... Think about it.

So, I encourage you to take a break from work during the day and focus on yourself. In case you didn't realize it, if you are a salaried employee your paycheck assumes that you're taking a lunch break. So, you owe it to yourself and your family to take a break. They don't send you to work to do it for free! ;-)

Whether it's an hour or a half hour, do something you enjoy--have lunch with a friend, eat alone, read a book, take a walk, run an errand--I don't care what you do. Just embrace that time and don't work. I know that you may not be able to take a lunch break every day, but try. If you're committed to it, you'll succeed more than you think you will. And, you'll be better for it.
Let me know if you make it happen! 

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