Ah, summer, that time when working parents everywhere balance guilt and budgets to determine the best course of childcare options for the next nine weeks. It is times like this when I honestly wonder what prompted me to believe I could have children and a career. Who am I kidding? I wonder about that every day.
Part of me wishes my children would hurry up and grow up, so they could be independent and amuse themselves while the Carpenter and I go off to work. That thought is right up there with the ridiculous fantasy that they would also have dinner ready for us when we got home, have the dishes washed and would enjoy each other’s company in peace and harmony. Fat flipping chance.
Of course, the other part of me is grateful that my kids are still young enough, because the truth is, they are growing up too fast as it is, and while they aren’t quite old enough to be home alone, they are at the tender age where I still like them, more or less, (kidding, sort of) and, for the most part, they don’t mind me (cough).
The Carpenter and I are right on the cusp of being the embarrassing, idiotic, totally uncool parents we always planned to be. As we are on the threshold of being ignored by our offspring, I realize this may be our last summer to really be relevant to them until they are about forty years old, (because let’s face it, you don’t fully appreciate your parents until you become one).
This summer I will be working full time, managing work deadlines and juggling children’s play dates, sleepovers, and temporary kid-care with unsuspecting relatives and coordinating sports schedules. I even booked one of my precious few holiday days for a sports tournament. Instead of a mental-health spa day, I traded time for lacrosse in Whitby? Call my therapist.
When I worked from home, I could manage my work schedule by not sleeping at night so I could be Super Mom all day. The children and I had action-packed summers that included kiddie pools and picnic lunches, painting rocks in the garden and eating popsicles on the lawn, and gloriously long naps. I miss naps.
Yet, as fulfilling as motherhood is, I missed earning money and, frankly, like most families today, we could not exist in this region without two incomes. I love my kids, but I yearned to get back to work too. It’s an ironic predicament to be a stay-at-home parent; the grass is always seems greener on the other side. But no matter how you look at it, it’s still just grass and either way, you have to mow it.
This summer, I will work to keep the children in the lifestyle they have become accustomed too. There is the re-mortgage financing to pay for a series of summer camps, (which is just a clever way to say child-care). There are the sports teams this summer and the account started to save for the next season. Don’t even get me started on the shoes required for constantly growing feet.
I promised myself I would not live to work, but work to live. That is easier said than done. But, no matter what side of the grass you’re on, at some point, you just have to kick off your shoes and go barefoot, to remember to appreciate what it is to just be in the moment. Grounded.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.