What mom doesn’t wish she could be in two places at once?!
I am fortunate to have a meaningful, interesting job that I love. I am happy to be a working mom most of the time. I know there are benefits to Zoe being in daycare, especially since she’s an only child. And I certainly don’t have the fortitude to stay at home with her full-time!
But oh, sometimes I mourn the loss of my Wednesdays off with her. Working part-time, while it had its challenges, was pretty much living the dream. Our 3.5 years of “mommy and Zoe” days off together, from August 2010 to January 2014, were truly wonderful. I had good reasons for going back to work full-time this year – and I think the timing was right for her, in terms of her age and development – but oh, I do miss those days, and sometimes I feel guilty that I’ve taken away her fun Wednesdays off.
This May, as the weather began to get nicer and people started talking about summer plans, I started to feel especially guilty. Kids with two working parents – aka daycare kids – don’t get summers off. For them, there’s not much difference between the school year and summer. Sure, we can call it “summer camp” once they are school age but let’s face it, it’s still daycare. It’s still not as much fun as a day off with free time, a beloved parent doing cool stuff with you – or even hanging around the house moping that you’re bored. You know, the kind of carefree summers many of us had as kids.
I was aching with guilt one day when I posted to Facebook about my woes. Many people suggested taking her out of school one day a week for some summer fun via alternate childcare. I loved this idea! I mean sure, my perfect solution would be for me to have the day off too – but just because I have to work, why should Zoe miss out on the kind of fun days we used to share together? I was beyond elated when a friend with two daughters who is a stay at home mom said she’d be open to taking on an additional kidlet. She’s pretty much a goddess. And now Zoe has summer fun Wednesdays again!
I can’t tell you the joy I feel on Wednesdays when I drop her off at our friends’ home instead of at school. We make a big deal of it, giggling excitedly in the car about how her school friends will be missing her all day because she gets to have a special day off. She’s giddy with excitement to spend the day doing fun things outside of the daycare setting. And then the best part of all is that my friend texts me wonderful pics of Zoe having fun throughout the day – something I don’t get during her usual daycare routine.
Like most things when you’re four years old, this is also a great developmental and learning opportunity for Zoe. As an attachment parented babe, she has never spent a whole day with anyone before except her daddy, her mommy and her daycare providers. So going to a friend’s house for an entire day on her own is a big deal – and she has taken to it like a champ. This gives me high hopes that someday soon we’ll be able to let her stay for a day with her grandparents, cousins or other friends. This opens up a world of date day fun for her dad and I!
Most of all though, I’m just so happy that she’s happy. I feel lucky to be able to provide her with a little extra fun during the summer – in addition to all the other summer fun we can possibly pack into evenings, weekends, holidays and a few vacation days over these gloriously sunny, warm months.
What do you think – do you make special plans for your kids in the summer time so they don’t have to be “stuck in school” all year round? I’m curious about how other working moms have handled this. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!