“What I Did on My Summer Vacation” – the first assignment of dread each August.
As a working parent, you cringe wondering what your child is going to write. I know, I know, they’re still going to have a good summer while you slave away to pay for someone to watch them from 8-5 (who am I kidding, more like 7-6).
But just imagine for a second (close your eyes, I’ll wait). Picture it. Not having to set an alarm clock. You can leisurely get the kids to swim lessons and still know you’ll be home in time for lunch. You can hang by the pool in the afternoon, send the kids outside and/or just have a chill day watching some TV or playing a game. The evenings are for sports and leisure. Staying at home allows for a nutritious dinner to be had BEFORE you leave the house.
However, when you’re a working parent the scene is set like this:
Alarm blares at its normal god-awful hour before the sun is even up. You race to get ready then beg and plead for your kids to get up, apologizing that they’re so tired. Breakfast is harried and you rush them out the door. You don’t hear from them again until that evening. You wistfully think about all the fun they’re having. The clock strikes 5 and you rush home as fast as your car will take you. You scramble in the door and holler to get your gear it’s time for practice/game/lessons/fun and you quickly change into something more conducive for Kansas weather in summer. You grab a snack for you and your kids and run back out the door, praying for good traffic and no trains. Evenings end after dark and you are all tired and dirty. You make sure the house is in a condition for the sitter to come back to tomorrow. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I know my idyllic scene of a SAHM is obviously the stuff of fiction, but the second scenario is my actual life. My oldest son bounced between both a structured program and an at-home summer sitter the past few years. Both had their pros and cons, but for me it always stays the same.
I feel like I am missing out on some of the best parts of the year.
- Swim lessons are every day in the morning for two weeks. Sorry, can’t make it.
- Play date with a friend? Nope, sorry. Can’t get you there or back, and I don’t trust you to walk or ride your bike alone.
- Day camps? You wish! They never last a full day and I can’t get anywhere and back in an hour, let alone doing it twice in one day.
- Vacation? HA! You think I’m working for a vacation? I’m working to pay that sitter!
Yes, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but this is how I feel when I see all of the Facebook, Insta and Snapchats all day, errday. For just one summer I want to be able to go out and live my fake summer life. It will probably end up like the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” book, and then I’ll want to do it every summer. Or the summer will end with me shouting “Winter is coming!!!” maniacally as I chase them off to school. Either way, it sounds more fun than going to work every day!