My kids are officially out for summer but I refuse to call it a “break”. My husband and I both work so any time school is out we are scrambling to find reliable, safe, fun child care for our 2 kids.
The childcare options that working parents have are limited and expensive. Remember that time Twinkies were discontinued and everyone was going crazy trying to stock up? Yeah, it’s like that. And trying to navigate all of the options to find the one that’s right for your family is no less stressful than trying to find a life partner. All you need is one bad date to realize that you didn’t REALLY mean you were “up for anything”.
You can choose from day camps, overnight camps, baby sitters. Do you need full day coverage? Good luck! My favorites are the “full day” camps that start at 9 am and end at 4 pm. It’s cool… my boss likes paying me for an 8-hour workday when I can only really work for 6. (Please read that with the level of sarcasm with a tinge of anger that would make George Carlin proud).
It was easy when they just went to daycare. No decisions to make, no change in routine. But then it happened. My daughter said the magic words, “I’m too old for this”. We knew we needed to find an option that she would be excited about. All kids deserve to have the type of summer they look forward to! So we saved up, talked to friends who had gone through the same thing, and planned ahead (something I never do).
Last year we were so excited. We got ourselves a NANNY (ok, really a babysitter but I feel fancier when I say NANNY!)! Finally, our rising first grader and rising fourth grader could stay up late, sleep in, go swimming whenever they wanted, have play dates with friends, HAVE A REAL SUMMER BREAK!
But our hopes for the type of summer that my husband and I grew up experiencing were crushed in the most wretched way when I discovered just a few weeks into summer that the babysitter physically assaulted my son! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! We VETTED HER! She seemed nice, had references, was just graduating from high school and going to college. She was supposed to be FUN! Not SATAN!
Ugh… there goes us EVER trusting a nanny/babysitter. Back to square one. The promise of a fun summer was replaced with waking the kids up before Jesus wakes up (you know, the “unGodly hour”), to get them dressed and ready so my hubs and I could take turns dropping them off at the local YMCA. It was the only place that checked all of the boxes: close by, fun activities, won’t beat my kids, extended hours (that’s what “they” call “true” full day camps).
It turned out ok. A few lice outbreaks but nothing that couldn’t be remedied. We decided to stick with what works so that’s where we went back to this year. And to my surprise, the kids were actually EXCITED! They had friends that they already knew, they had fun, they were exhausted… #yay!
All of this to say, if you see a working parent out and about and it’s summer, buy them a coffee and give them a hug. They’re prolly a little defeated. And broke.