Why mothers work while they’re on holiday

A new culture of taking annual leave to catch up with a mounting workload got Annie Ridout thinking about why mothers end up working while on family holidays. Here’s are some possible reasons they take work away with them…

I read this article about how people are using their annual leave to catch up on work. Apparently, workload is increasing and there’s more competition for jobs, so this can feel like the only option. And that’s pretty crap because if you’re going to be subjected to the Ground Hog Day-ness of an office job – the commute; the boring conversations with colleagues – you should at least enjoy one benefit: holidays that the company pays for, where you can relax and not work – guilt-free.

But it was the journalist’s closing paragraph that really caught my eye. ‘Another overlooked reason we take holidays to work,’ writes Andre Spicer, ‘is this: working is often more comfortable and easier than the rest of our lives. By hiding in our work when on holiday, we are able to ignore personal relationships, family dynamics and our own feelings

It got me thinking about why mothers, like me, might find themselves pulling out their laptops during family holidays. Here are some possible explanations I’ve come up with…

1. Work is often easier than looking after young kids.

2. You get the satisfaction of completing a work task, closing your computer and doing something else. With parenting, it never ends.

3. You get paid.

4. Just because you’re away with family, it doesn’t mean inspiration disappears.

5. Work feels more like a break than negotiating with a tantrumming toddler or squealing baby does.

If you have kids and work while you’re away, what drives you to do this?