The summer juggle: Mixing kids' vacation & work
This is our first summer with a child out of school for the summer. Until this year, our kids have been in year-round childcare, where summer is no different than the rest of the year. Back in February of this very-different year, I got busy planning the summer so my husband and I could work, and the kids would be in good care, have some down time and some fun time. We mixed a few week-long camps with a family vacation or two and some visiting grandma and cousin time (they "watched" the kids). Good variety, some fun, quality care, and mostly no boredom.
Well it's August now, and I'm nearing the end of this first summer vacation after many years without. As a long-time proponent of shorter summer breaks for kids, I've been pleasantly surprised at how much more summery (for lack of a better term) life feels this summer with some real vacationers in the house.
Yet I struggle with some of the anticipated issues, too: camps are far more expensive than public school (and Multnomah county's SUN program, while excellent and very reasonably priced, came out with its schedule so late in the spring that this I-gotta-have-care mama was done planning by then), logisitcs are challenging and ever-changing (life jacket this week? snack or not?), a professional degree in planning is required, many camps don't run on a 9 to 5 schedule and so aren't an option for many, and finally, I gotta work, already!
Does parents' work trumps kids needs? I wish I was designing a great summer more with my children in mind than our work schedules. While of course we considered both, it's clear to me that our summer "plan" was driven more by our work schedules than our kids' needs.
What about your family? How's this summer thing working out for your family's work schedule? Did you recruit family to help? Get an Au Pair? Find a great, affordable, nearby summer-long program? Think summer break should remain 12 weeks, or is it just too dang long? I'm thinking about 9, myself. You?
[Thanks to wsilver & Flickr CC for the summer-y pic]