Goodbye Summer 2016! What I Learned as a Working Mom
Do you remember when we were kids and there were all those debates about whether schools should operate full time. And as kids, we all cried in horror about the injustice of it all! We needed our summers, we were owed our summers. How could anyone ever think of taking that away from us. Fast forward 20 years, mix-in marriage, 2 kids, and managing a family business, and suddenly, summers take on a whole new meaning.
Before I start in on my first world mom rant, I do want to preface it by saying that I know I am extremely lucky to have the problems I have . With the increasing hatred, fear, division, and violence of our world, I understand that my problems are good problems, but damnit, this sh*t still drives me crazy, and a girl's gotta vent.
This past summer, I was new to the scheduling and maneuvering that occurs to make sure kids are taken care of during my working hours. As cray cray as it may sound, I literally started planning in February 2016 for the summer - signing up for camps, arranging schedules. So there I sat, at my dining room table - after a long day of work, kids finally sleeping, glass of wine in hand with multiple schedules from various camps sprawled out in front (bikes, bugs, soccer, tennis, art) , trying to play schedule master. I felt like one of those sci-if characters, dragging and dropping hi-tech screens into place trying to solve a complex problem. But it's not complex!! It's a five year old's summer schedule!! What kind of madness is this!! And even with all that planning, months in advance, it was still a scramble - every morning , every afternoon. Because not every camp started or finished at atime that technically made sense with my work schedule - and I'll be damned if I was going to have to pay for before/after care in addition to camp tuition. That ish is NOT cheap! So basically, summer flew by, most of it feeling like an enescable whirlwind of trying to make sure my kids were happy and content, but constantly feeling like I failed miserably. Because, after all, I wasn't able to give them that carefree, exploratory summer of a kids' dreams. And because kids are great at hammering a point home when you're feeling like a lousy mom, At one point, my six year old said to me "mom, this is not very awesome, why am I going to all these camps and classes, summer is supposed to be about playing." I had to refrain from boldly proclaiming, "well you should be happy that your parents can afford to place you in camps," because that's not what this is about. My lovely boy just wanted the chance to play and be free, or sit at home all day with his mom (and luckily he did get some of that, stayed turned) and I just wanted to make sure my kids were safe and happy and well cared for while I sat in my office. That is one of the many perpetual struggles of a working mom, or at least, my experience with it. And from my experience, no where is that struggle more pronounced than during summers. So, while I'll miss the warm days, I gladly say, so long Summer, it's been real. That was my first go round, I'll be ready for you next year 😜.