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Monday, June 09, 2014

The summertime guilt of the working parent

Today is only the first day of summer for my son and I already have an immense feeling of guilt weighing me down. I remember getting to be carefree and staying home alone during the day when I wasn't much older than he is now. My friends and I would get on our bikes, ride around the neighborhood, play in the woods and end up soaking our feet in a kiddie pool at someone's house by the end of the day. We might even cap off the afternoon by running through some sprinklers, seeing what kind of critters we could find in the ditch and possibly play some badminton or Frisbee.

Unfortunately, times have changed. I can't leave my son home alone (and have peace of mind) while I have to work all day. He can't go out and ride bikes with the neighbor kids because we don't really have any. His friends are all scattered throughout different towns and he doesn't have that neighborhood friend like I used to have. We live in a small apartment complex where there isn't much outside for the kids to do....and I honestly I don't think there are any kids that live here that are close to his age.

I wish I could take some time off and just chill in the summer, especially at the beginning of summer. He really only gets one week off. He is off all this week and then he goes back to his school for "Summer Camp" for the rest of the summer. He doesn't get those lazy days of sleeping in and chilling in your jammies until your friends call or come knocking on the door to see if you want to ride bikes. He's still got to get up early and be dropped off at 7am so I can make it to work on time.

While I'm completely ecstatic that I have my job and I CAN pay for the summer program, it sure would be nice to take a nice long extended vacation and just have fun with the little dude!

Hopefully taking a week off at the end of the summer will make it up to him. We're going to go spend time with some family and friends where I used to live (about a 10 hour drive from here). I think he'll have fun. He'll get to meet some of my friends kids and spend some quality time with Uncles, Aunts, cousins and grandparents.

While the guilt seems overwhelming today I'm hoping it will fade as the summer goes on. It may even fade once he gets back into his grove next week with the summer program. While he's not excited about the academic portion in the morning he's pretty stoked about the fun stuff in the afternoons! I'll get off early enough that we can still have time for some fun stuff in the afternoon. Now let's just hope this disgusting northern California heat wave makes an abrupt exit so we CAN enjoy a few days this week!

My question to you is: How do you other working parents handle summertime with your kids? Do you plan special weekend day trips? Weekend camping trips? I need to make summer special on a VEEEEEERY non existent budget. Any tips or weekend adventure ideas are greatly appreciated!

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