A summer free from self-pressure?

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit emotional today. For those of us who have children, it’s the end of another school year. Another cycle completed.

It’s also the beginning of eight weeks of a peculiar summer mood. Shifted priority, not so strict bed times, evening picnics that last until the sun goes down, ice cream several times a week.

Even if you don’t have children, you can’t escape the change of rhythm: many sports and language classes stop, public transportation runs on holiday schedule, some stores even have a “fermeture estivale” (this was the strangest thing for me when I first arrived in Geneva)

Last summer, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I signed my daughter up for 5 weeks of full.time day camps. I felt I needed all that time to get my thing together and get Bonjour Geneva ready for the real game.

The remaining 3 weeks I planned to stay with her full time.

And you know what? It was awful. The 5 weeks she was busy all day I forced myself to be productive (=creative) from 9 am to 5 pm. Through the heat. Through the loveliness of Geneva in the summer.

It didn’t work. I spent a great deal of that time just feeling miserable staring at my computer, with the fan at full speed by my side.

The 3 weeks I was with her full time were also difficult, because I am not good at being a full-time mother.

This year we are trying something different. While I can’t stop working through the summer, I set different expectations (and less full-day summer camps). I want to use this time when life takes a different rhythm to get inspiration and review what’s happened these past months. To prepare the last events of the year too, of course, but not as if I’m racing against the clock. Not as if I have to prove something to somebody.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s not how many hours you work that make a different in your project. It how you use them, and the timing.

Last year, as summer approached, I dreaded the idea of having to find a solution to be productive over those 8 school holidays weeks. This time, I’m welcoming this period with curiosity: let’s find out what summer has in store for me. What insight and inspiration can come from this slowdown?

How about you? Are you planning to unplug completely? Or will you be working on something grand?