I have a confession to make: I hate summer.
I didn’t always feel like this, certainly not as a kid, certainly not when I lived in Florida where it is summer year-round.
But now I have a preschool-aged daughter. And I work from home. So summer has become a challenge.
In a perfect world, our summer would be filled with things like sunscreen, freeze pops, lightning bugs in glass jars, hot dogs on the grill, splashing in the pool and sleeping late.
In reality, it’s me struggling to come up with a cheap activity for each day that will entertain and/or wear out a 4-year-old. It’s me struggling to get a few moments to edit a few stories so I can get paid. It’s me struggling to stay awake late into the night to work after getting up at the crack of dawn (that sleeping in thing hasn’t caught on with my small person yet).
Summer is also a struggle for me, because, well, I’m a homebody. I like my house. I like being in it. I feel safe and comfortable there. But when the sun is shining I feel like I should be out doing something. I love those winter days when we don’t even get out of our pajamas. In the summer though, I feel compelled to get my daughter outside. Of course within five minutes we’re both covered in mosquito bites…
I also like structure and routine. So does my daughter. These endless, unscheduled days are a bit scary. During the school year, we’ve got it down pat. Wake up early, preschool dropoff, rush home to work, preschool pickup, have lunch, hang out, sometimes a nap, playground or playdate or playtime, prepare dinner, play, read, bath, bed. Rinse. Repeat.
Don’t get me wrong. We are spending lots of quality time together and doing fun summer stuff. We’ve been to the pool and library, we go to the concerts on the levee every Friday, we’ve done FestivALL, we’ve hit every playground, we’re learning to ride a bike, we’ve been to the Clay Center, we’ve been to movies, we’ve taken a trip into the mountains. Sometimes we just run up and down the steps in front of the Capitol. (Hey, whatever works.)
It’s the working from home thing that’s throwing me. It’s virtually impossible to accomplish that with a loud (but adorable) 4-year-old in the house.
I’m guessing I’m not alone in my summer conundrum. What do other moms do during these long summer days trying to juggle work and childcare? I’m trying to plan ahead to avoid this next summer. I’ve sent my daughter to a few camps at her preschool. But I’m wondering what the other options are in Charleston. Do you send your kids to daycare? Hire a babysitter? Any other fun camps around? Or do you just suck it up and count down to fall?
And what about moms who stay at home with their young kids, because I fit that bill too? How do you fill your days to keep yourself and your kids from going totally mad?