[IMGCAP(1)]I grew up in a tax firm environment…quite literally. My current business partner, who is also my father, exposed me to the fifth season. I’ve lived my whole life enjoying spring, summer, fall, winter…and tax season. We never got away for spring break. While my friends’ families headed south to escape the Chicago winter, we stayed home with dad who was always working out of his home office. I recall not seeing much of my dad during tax season, and also remember clients coming and going every evening. On one  particular night, Dad had a client scheduled for an appointment on April 16. My brother answered the door and promptly exclaimed to the client that tax season was over and that he should go away.

Even more of my father’s time was spent manually picking up tax returns. Before the days of e-filing, advanced technologies and data centers, my father would load us all up in the family station wagon and head out to CCH to pick up returns. And we did this twice a week! The best part of the trip, which was at my mother’s request, was stopping for ice cream. It became a family tradition during tax season. While most kids were enjoying the Florida sun, we were huddled in the back of the wagon with soft serve ice cream, the dog and a load of tax returns. After the start of the scheduled ice cream stops, tax season quickly became one of my favorite seasons of the year.

When I started to work longer hours in my firm, including working Saturdays, I thought back to the days with my father. I wanted to start my own tax season tradition—one that would make my kids think fondly of it and not as a time when their mom wasn’t around. I came home one Saturday to discover my husband had let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast. He thought I would be mad, but instead I declared it a tradition—our own tax season ritual.

Clearly, working in this noble, yet sometimes chaotic, profession affects those we love. Instead of simply accepting time away from the family, make your own traditions and turn potentially bad thoughts into great memories. It’s doesn’t have to be ice cream for breakfast…but man do I enjoy it!

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at www.newvisioncpagroup.com.