Confession: I realize it is an unpopular opinion but I really dislike the summer.
I am a creature of habit and organization. Chaos, disorganization, and noise these all feed my anxiety as a Type-A personality and introvert. When the final school bell rings and my children are cheering for sweet release from their education for a few months, I cringe. It’s not that I don’t love my children. I LOVE my children. But I also love myself.
I need quiet time. I need to ride my horse. I need to be able to have a regular work schedule.
1.Less time at the barn. The summer brings intense heat and humidity that limits my riding hours to early mornings or late evenings, neither of which are possible due to having three children at home with me. Too early and they are sleeping and too late and they have their own activities or I’m mentally and physically exhausted from the day. Are these excuses? Perhaps. If I had more motivation I would likely blackmail my husband into going into work late so I could ride, but that feels dirty and a little selfish. After all, we need his income to support our family! My time is relegated to the occasional drop in and weekend ride, nothing near by 3-4 days a week that I become accustomed to from September through June. I need the exercise to stimulate my brain and tire my body but also I need the quality time in my happy place, with my favorite boy Ferrous.
2. Upsetting the Work Cart. I am a stay-at-home mom and full time entrepreneur. I run two businesses on a part-time schedule, a delicate balance held together by that afore-mentioned organizational skill. My writing and work with The Gobi Desert Cup can be done at odd hours or while my children are playing. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for my animal bodywork business. I see clients regularly, either weekly or monthly and when my children are home this presents a conundrum. Do I spend all my income on a sitter, one I’d be lucky to get with my irregular hours, or do I bring them with me to work and appear unprofessional? Neither is a good option. More, my oldest attends a special needs camp each July that rules our lives. It is the only one like it in the world and necessary for her therapy. We are lucky that it is local to New Jersey, but takes our commitment of Monday through Friday 7:30 to 4:30 PM, and the twins and I have to tag along because it’s on the other end of the state. I do everything I can to balance my clients so they are not inconvenienced and yet still get everything done. It isn’t easy and you can count on me have a breakdown each summer because of it. Worth it? Yes. Easy, not a chance.
3. Noise. As an introvert I crave solitude and silence. Not always, but it is an integral part of my mental health. Three children at home playing alone or with friends, keeping them busy, and daughters to boot mean A LOT of noise all day every day. I find myself short on temper frequently. Luckily my husband recognizes this and the other day gave me the greatest gift. He returned from four days away for work and offered to take the girls to the beach for the day himself. I had the whole day of freedom! I don’t think I did much more than ride my horse and run a few errands before enjoying a quiet solo lunch, but it was glorious.
During July and the beginning of August I’m not far from a nervous breakdown at any given moment. I internalize my feelings but if I cry, I use my allotment during this season. Horse riding is my outlet and yet my time at the barn is severely limited. I crave organization but my life during the summer is incredibly chaotic. I feel guilty looking forward to the start of the school year.
One thing I don’t feel guilty for is traveling to Mongolia for several weeks. Last year I did so and was astounded how reinvigorated I felt separated from the modern world and grounding myself again, despite the hard work and long hours I put in with work photographing an endurance horse ride. This year, I know what to expect and the trip is a shining beacon. I NEED this. It makes all the hard work I put in each day for my family, my clients, and for everyone else worth it. So I say cheers to Mongolia. A perfect way to end the summer slump on a high note and come back appreciative of my family because of the time spent without them.