Ah, the lazy days of summer: playing outside all day, going on adventures with friends, and taking extended family vacations to somewhere sandy…
(insert record scratch here)
Not for this working mom, and sadly, not for my daughter.
What does summertime mean to me? It means trying to find time to take vacation in between meetings, and wading through the tar-like sea of mom guilt because my daughter will be in her school-setting daycare for the summer, and not off frolicking through a field of dandelions or lounging on a beach blanket somewhere.
It means my daughter likely won’t ever know what it’s like to have a school-free summer, and that makes me immensely sad. It means that I will not be able to spend summers with my daughter and watch her discover things for the first time, and it means we have to squeeze in learning to ride a bike and fly a kite into evenings and weekends, and that hurts my heart. A lot.My father and stepmother worked, but they owned their own business so my stepmother stayed home with us during the summer. Also, I had three older brothers, so I think they may have shouldered some of the kid-watching too. I distinctly remember having no idea what day it was, having no concept of when school would start (hint: it was forever away), riding the days away on my bike or roller-skating with my next-door bestie.
It was glorious and freeing, and “back-to-school” was a really exciting time for me: finding out my teacher, who was in my class, picking out the PERFECT first day outfit. Was it my summer at home that made that so exciting? Maybe, but I am going to do my best to make those things exciting for my daughter too.
I have a great job, and to be honest I am not sure if I could be a work-at-home (because trust, staying at home with kids is WORK) mom. We would not be able to afford our “lifestyle” (read: roof over our heads) if my husband and I didn’t both work, and between us we have an excellent healthcare package that will cover just about anything that could befall our family. So before you start yelling at me, yes: we could sell our house and move somewhere smaller, and give up a car, and change our “lifestyle” so that I could stay home with out daughter, but who does that benefit? We are not living in the lap of luxury by any stretch of the word, but there also isn’t anything we couldn’t do with a little scrimping and saving.
So I lament the missed summers, and the summers that my daughter will spend “in school”. I will deal with the guilt because she doesn’t know what she is missing, thankfully, and we will do what we can to give her happy memories in the time we will have.
Because it’s the quality of the time, not the quantity, right?