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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why I Am More Excited About Summer Vacation Than My Kids

Three more weeks.  Not even full weeks.  A four day week this week.  Then another 4 day week.  Then a 2 1/2 day week. Then my kiddos are home!

Oh, and my husband, too.  He's a teacher.  More on that in a minute....

When I first had kids, I cut back down on my financial planning practice.  I sold a block of my practice to another advisor and only met with clients 2 days a week.  Long days, but I worked from home MWF.  It was great. 

Summer was always the time I tried to ramp it up and go in full-time.  My husband was home.  Theoretically, it should have worked.

It didn't. 

I ended up working about the same and feeling guilty.

But this year, no.

My kids were both in school full-time this year.  While I still leave early on Mondays and Fridays (and to be honest, after my first year in business I always left early on Fridays) to pick up the kids, the late night once a week makes up for the time.

So I am back to M-F at the office.

Which, considering how much I love what I do, you would think would be great.  But honestly, after juggling a tight schedule all these years, it feels very strange.  Very strange. 

It also feels perpetual.  Although I know many times I felt like I was never 100% anywhere, I will say, I miss the trips to the park more than the kids.  Before I had kids I could work 60 hours and not bat an eye.  Now, well, I liked taking a break here and there. 

I also developed bad habits at the office-- because I was only there for such a limited time, I ate at my desk.  I very genuinely don't take a break.  Which gets old.  I also don't manage my time as well.  I have these weeks when I am buried and other weeks where I get a lot of online training done, shall we say!  I have very organized files.  It used to be great that I went in, plowed through the day, and got out of there.  Now that there are more days, it's gotten to be a bit much.

And I never took fun time off.  Ever.  I took a Friday afternoon and did a spa weekend.  Once.  Every time I take time off, it's to go volunteer at the school or a doctor's appointment.  Seriously, going to the gynecologist should NOT be reason to think "Phew--- I get the morning off." 

Keep in mind, I love what I do.  Truly.  I've just felt like I've been on a treadmill for awhile.

I'm completely self-employed, too, which makes it more pathetic.  I can schedule anything I want.

But I've had this mindset that I can't.  I have to "make up" for the time I missed.  Except now, I'm not actually missing any time.  Not any more than any other parent or for that matter, colleagues who take time off to golf or take tennis lessons. 

I also over volunteered this year- spring in particular.   I lost a few weekend days.  A night here or there.  It was too much.

And the summer thing to "catch up"- never happened.  My husband would want to take advantage of his time off, so not much changed.  For the first  few years he thought it was funny that when I worked from home I kept a schedule.  I got up, got dressed and went into my home office.  I had a routine.  It's hard to work when your spouse is there like a devil on your shoulder pointing out that you can do something later.  As the kids got older, it became harder to leave the house to even get to the  real office because.... here's the big factor I had not counted on...

I like my children.  A lot.  They are a blast.  I have so much fun with them.  Tonight I played trombone with my son.  He decided a few weeks ago he wanted to learn. I happen to play.  I told him I would give him lessons.  He was worried because-- and I quote "I don't know how I can pay you, Mom..."  We had our first official lesson tonight.  And guess what he told my husband "Mom's a really good teacher... that was fun!"

And my daughter is a hoot.  We went through her closet today to clear out for the summer.  She just grew so nothing fits.  She got her first phone call from a friend.  She had the phone cradled on her shoulder while she told her friend what she was doing.  The entire time they chatted, she kept cleaning her closet.  It was like watching Sarah Jessica Parker talking to Samantha on the phone.  We read tonight and I love that she is so expressive when she reads.

I like them.

So this summer I decided screw it.  Our holiday break was sidelined because my assistant's father was ill and she had to take off.  Then I got sick.  Spring break was a bust because I had a few meetings and a few other things came up.  Darn it, I deserve time off.  It's why I work. 

I blocked out three weeks this summer.

I know, crazy.  Actually, if you consider I've been in business for nearly 20 years, three weeks isn't that exciting.  I did it right before the recession for 2 weeks.  But even that was spent visiting family.  Sorry-- that's not a vacation.

But for me- wow.  It's crazy.  I can't even believe it.   Three weeks of nothing but my amazing family.

We'll see if I can stick to it!

We recently bought a travel trailer and most of it will be spent camping.  I am so incredibly excited.  We are going to be in the mountains fishing and hiking. 

You know, relaxing.

Getting off the treadmill.

Playing games.  Reading books.  Enjoying life.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am.

My kids are growing so fast- as evidenced by today's closet purge.

I don't want to miss it.  I want to be there 100%.

To be completely honest, summers are usually slow for my business.  It's 105+- it's similar to our winter.  No one wants to go out if they can avoid it.  Most of my clients are out of town that time of year.  It works.  Or I hope it does.

This year, I get time off.   I get to play.  With my kids.  With my husband.  Doing something we all love.  No obligatory visits.  Nothing. 

I am so incredibly excited.

Because after all, isn't that the point of working hard?

Three more weeks.... tick... tick... tick...

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