This is not a post about Summer’s greatness.
I love summer. I love tan lines and swimming pools. But the part about summer that I don’t love is working. It’s hard for me to get on board the “woo-hoo summer” train whenever I know every morning during the summer I will get up and go to work. So this is a post about how Summer really isn’t that great whenever you don’t have the summer off.
I’m only writing this because I know I’m not the only mom who has that guilt every May. That guilt you have as you enroll your kid in classes or camps to entertain them all summer since you have to work outside the home. I remember being so sad when I overheard summer plans at the end of school class parties and the guilt each day when I see ALL the other families visiting museums or swimming pools each day while I work and my kids do chores. Whether you’ve chosen to work outside the home or it’s necessary for your family, mom guilt is not prejudice to the reason why you have to work outside the home or how long you are away.
Of course, some days I’m glad I work outside the home and have a break from my kids. But I can’t help but be jealous of those moms that get to spend all summer sleeping in and swimming with their kids. (Clearly, my assumption is based solely in the jealousy and envy I (hypothetically) feel while sitting at work.) Instead of staying envious of another’s summer of free time, I think we should focus on the reasons being a working mom during the summer is cool too.
Here are three things working moms can be excited about as summer approaches.
We don’t have to spend every minute with our children.
I’m not gonna lie…I kinda like working outside the home with adults. I feel good about the fact that I paid some wonderful women good money to help me potty train my children. Whining and potty training do not bring out my best. Now that my children are approaching the teenage years, I appreciate the time away from the angst and rolling eyes. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Or it at least dims the motherhood frustrations I may have felt when I left for work.
We know about the best summer camps.
After the first summer of working full time, I was quick to identify that our family needed some different summer options. Day care was a great option before elementary school, but once my kids were in school I had to figure out something else. The best advice I can give is to ask moms with older kids. Working moms with middle school kids have it figured out. They can “camp” their kids from June 1 to August 31. They find the best deals and the best camps. Their kids are enriched, make lifelong friends, and have great stories to tell their mom after camp. (And insert shameless plug here…our Camp Guide.)
We can make several days special and keep their expectations low.
It must be exhausting to be a summer cruise director for your children. I am tired just thinking of the outings my children will request this summer. Since I do work outside the home, my kids’ expectations of daily craft and activities have died! They understand that we will go on a few excursions but I have tied their excursions directly to chores, reading, and being a decent human being. (I would tell you that I expect good behavior but most days I just hope they don’t kill each other). They also understand that empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls are a hot summer commodity. You can make anything with those things.
We all crave a summer full of laughter and experience for our children. And it will be. Even if you are only able to make it to the snow cone stand a couple times, those cups of red dye and sugar make beautiful memories.
What side of the fence are you on? Is the grass greener from your yard or from your office window?