Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer....And the Guilt is Heavy....

I know, that's not how the song goes.

The livin' should be easy, but as a working mom, guilt is often at an all-time high.

Especially working moms who remember their childhood summers as children of non-working moms. Those carefree days, the hours spent in pursuit of...nothing in particular. The bike rides up and down and all throughout the neighborhood. The lunches that were quickly gobbled by the side door because you couldn't come inside long enough to be bothered with an actual lunch. There was PLAYING to be done, mom! This is serious stuff! We must ride our Big Wheels until we develop blisters on our back from rubbing against the hard plastic seat. We must run around until our sandals rub the skin off our pinky toes and our knees are permanently blackened by a day's worth of sweat and dirt brought on by our fascination with mud pies and ant hills.

And then, there's my kids' summer.

It doesn't look a lot different from their school year. We all wake up. We get dressed. We eat breakfast. We leave and lock the house for approximately 10 hours, during which time we go to work and our kids go to their various programs. We come back home, make dinner, eat said dinner, clean up and start bedtime. During the summer months my girls are often in bed when the sun is still miles above the horizon and the laughter of other kids still outside playing waft through their windows.

I can tell that the days are already beginning to get shorter. I can tell because my mom guilt of putting my kids to bed in broad daylight is being eased, since it's no longer broad daylight when I put them to bed. Yet I feel badly because I'm wishing away my children's summer.

So I try to focus on the things my kids get to do in the summer that I never did.

Lindsey got to go to ValleyFair with 20 of her classmates. Twenty. I can guarantee you I would NEVER agree to take her and 20 of her closest friends to ValleyFair. Apparently it was fun and involved some screaming and laughing. She also takes approximately 2 to 3 field trips a week to various museums, regional parks, water parks and all kinds of other places that I am pretty sure I would have never had the ambition to take on.

Marissa was able to take a soccer class with her classmates as well, an activity I can guarantee you I would never organize had I been at home with her. She also took part in a music class and cooking class where they get to eat their mistakes. Sounds delicious.

I'd like to hear from other working moms -- how do you cope with summer mom guilt? What are your kids' favorite parts of summer?


  1. I already worry about this and Penelope is not even 2 years old. Then I remind myself that Chris has great memories of summers and he was at daycare and summer camps. The girls probably think they are the lucky ones, not those kids who have to stay home all day with their mom :)

  2. Thanks, Laura, that is reassuring to hear! I have to remind myself of that -- their memories will not be my memories, but hopefully they will be as good, just in a different way!

  3. Well as a farm kid starting at around age 7 or 8, we got the privilege of working all damn day on the farm. Summer vacation was not all that great as I could not wait until school started each fall. Off the farm and chance to interact with friends was so much better than the daily grind of farm life.

  4. Jenny, I have those same thoughts so often. My summers were much like yours - doing a lot of nothing but complete freedom and fun. However, since the girls have never had that experience, I'm not sure they are missing it either. Our girls love the camps they go to and have plenty of fun. The couple of days when they don't have camp and happen to be home all day, no one else is ever around so the reality is that if I were home full-time, I would probably still be signing them up for camps so they would have people to do things with. I can't say that I never compare my childhood summers tho theirs anymore but being a few more years into this program than you, I can say there is a lot less guilt than a few years ago...

  5. Thanks, Sue, that is reassuring to hear. It's been difficult lately because my eldest has not been wanting to go to her summer program. The other day she said she wished it were the school year because then her best buddies would HAVE to be there. That has made the guilt extra heavy of late.