Newton O'Neill Communications
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Summer Shuffle


We're getting into the last legs of summer - by the calendar anyway. Living in Texas, summer starts early and lasts well through September and often into Halloween. As I watch the calendar flip and see back-to-school on the horizon, I again realize that summer is far from lazy, hazy days and down shifting the office routine. As a working mother - which I have been for 14 years - summer is usually one of the busiest times of the year. Yes, holidays are always hectic, but summer is consistently showing that it can wear me out more than any other season.

Sure, we usually get in some kind of vacation. It's mandatory in my heart, soul and mind to have at least four days of family fun and a joint escape from the everyday routine. Some years are more impressive than others on the vacation scale. Last year, nearly a full week in Colorado in a gorgeous setting, escaping the brutality of our heat wave paired with drought.  This year, a shorter jaunt to Manhattan must fill the bill (NYC will cost more, of course) Sometimes, there are three or four-day weekends to enjoy. My dreams of summer vacations full of international travel or heck, Hawaii or Alaska would be lovely national destinations, haven't been fulfilled since this working mom thing began. Now, please don't take this as complaining.

Being an entrepreneur married to an entrepreneur makes the work-life balance even more interesting, therefore, summer "fun time" is actually project management. With two beloved children who don't drive, we're coordinating drop off and pick up schedules at camps around town. Rare is the time our son and daughter are at the same camp. Thank goodness for Camp Grandparents at least 4-5 days each summer where they are in the same location and for the best price in town.

In my business, I've also found that the workload strangely picks in the summer. Short of a few days around July 4th and mid-August, when school takes the spotlight, for some reason, my client base -- current and prospective -- is NOT on vacation. Once again, no complaints. I love new business. But my dreams of foreign destinations, seeing the pyramids, tea time in Scotland, shopping in Buenos Aires and lounging on Capri, seem farfetched.

On the upside, fall and spring are fabulous times to travel. I've never liked crowds and unless I can go somewhere pleasant -- no higher than 90 degrees in dry heat -- count me out. Our children will NEVER see Disneyworld in the summer! Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was a perfect time to take in Epcot, Mickey and the gang.

As we head into August, we'll get busier prepping for fall activities. And, the pace won't lighten until December 24th. Seems like my real "summer" is in January -- always a slow and often dreary month. As I write this, I realize January is the time for us to take that grand trip to Hawaii or overseas (Alaska, Russia and Scandinavia will have to wait), and truly relax and unplug. Summer is hot, busy and expensive! Yes, I like that we usually don't set the alarm in the summer months, but I'm getting my passport and true chilaxin frame of mind ready for January.