It’s summertime. Kids everywhere are rejoicing while parents everywhere are going crazy, broke, or (likely) both. I remember childhood summer breaks fondly. My mom worked from our home so she was always around. My older siblings and I spent our days sleeping in, watching The Price is Right, bickering, and running around the neighborhood until the street lights came on. It never occurred to me how tough summer can be for parents who work outside of the home. Until I joined the workforce myself. While a lot of moms are making summer bucket lists, many are simply trying to figure out how to make life work. My children aren’t elementary school age yet so I haven’t personally experienced the summertime woes of working parents. But, I’ve witnessed them. I’ve come to realize that the struggle of working parents during the summer is unique for three primary challenges working moms face.
While a lot of moms are making summer bucket lists, many are simply trying to figure out how to make life work. My children aren’t elementary school age yet so I haven’t personally experienced the summertime woes of working parents. But, I’ve witnessed them and they’re not pretty. I’ve come to realize that the struggle of working parents during the summer is unique for three primary challenges working moms face.
Working parents have to figure out where to send their children every week while they’re at work. Camps fill up quickly and trying to get into all of the ones you want at the time you want can feel like a sick game of Tetris. Trying to make all of the moving pieces come together seamlessly can be tough. Parents have to plan well in advance in order to be prepared. Sure, camps can be enriching, educational, and fun for children but making it happen can be a challenge.
Check out the 2017 Summer Camp Guide here.
The stress of getting signed up for camps every week is over. Great. But, here’s the thing about camps: many working parents don’t have a schedule that allows them to both drop-off and pick-up their kids. Many camps start at 9:00 AM or 10:00 AM and end before 4:00 PM. That would have been impossible for my husband and me if I were still working full-time. My 4.5-year-old went to half-day camp at our church recently (just for fun) it ran from 9:00 AM -12:00 PM. I have no idea how that would have worked if I weren’t available to take and pick her up. So, going back to my Tetris analogy, working parents also have to figure out shuttling. Many have to hire additional help or enroll in “extended care” if there are no close family or trusted friends around to help babysit or drive in the mornings and/or afternoons.
Childcare is expensive. But you probably already knew that. Working parents are not only faced with scheduling and logistics challenges, but finances come into play here, too. Someone has to pay for the aforementioned camps, extended care, and/or the babysitter every week. It adds up quickly. Even the “affordable” options can be cost prohibitive for many families.
Despite it all, there is something charming, endearing, and memorable about summer and I think most parents can agree on that. This is my first summer at home with my girls. And, I am learning there is an entirely different set of summertime challenges at-home parents face – keeping kids from killing one another, being asked for snacks 92,838,709 times a day, watching the same movie on repeat, etc. (That doesn’t mean I won’t send my girls to “just because” camps here and there. #Momcation).
So to the working moms hustling through the summertime grind: I see you. You’ve got this. The bittersweet end of summer will be upon us before we know it and all parents – working and at-home alike – will raise a glass to the restoration of their sanity and their bank accounts.