Surviving Summer as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

The end of the school year is fast approaching, which means my six-year-old will soon be released back into my care for all hours of the day. Yikes!

It’s around this time of year that I begin to envy working mothers. Not for their rewarding careers and paychecks, but for their completely justified childcare.

Because although I really adore my kids, sunrise to sunset is a very long time to spend with a kindergarten graduate and his two-year-old sister.

I started feeling the school-vacation anxiety—that is, what to do with your school-age child all summer—back in February. So I began registering for summer camps. Entering this arena is surprisingly stressful. At first you might think day camps are the easy answer to constructively occupy your child for a good part of the summer, and they are definitely a strong building block of what is actually a very delicate scheduling puzzle. But you must consider the trifecta of summer camp concerns: their cost (usually moderately high to way high); travel time (that means you, behind the wheel, possibly in traffic, to and from and back again); and whine factor (how much pushback is your kid going to give when you reveal what you’ve signed him up for in any given week). Given these concerns, summer camps can’t be an every-week thing in our house.

After several weeks of research, coordination with friends’ camp and vacation schedules, and pretend conversations with my son about summer plans (I talk, he pretends to listen), I mapped out a schedule that features a nice mix of camps, classes, family vacation, and free days.

I must admit, as much as I don’t want to spend my entire summer adhering to my son’s activity schedule, it’s all I can do not to find something to fill up those blank days on the calendar. I try to remember that those are time for hitting the parks and pool with friends, berry picking, daytrip excursions, setting up lemonade stands, and just hanging out. We all need those days, which will either be wonderful breaks or so boring that the next camp on the agenda will appear as an oasis of fun.

And who am I kidding? Even the “free” days will quickly be filled with trips to the store and the library, or tackling other various errands that pop up unexpectedly. We’ll aim to be active in the morning and keep screen time for the afternoons. I’ll try to keep some sort of snack and meal schedule, because my kids become serious low-blood-sugar monsters if they aren’t fed regular meals at the normal times. And those days will probably include some classroom tasks for my son like working on letters or reading aloud. Gotta stay on track for the coming school year. After all, with everything we have to do, this summer is going to just fly by.