Children love summertime. They feel free without the constraints of bedtime, homework, and school. Do you remember the awesome feeling of doing whatever you wanted, spending hours playing with your friends, and splashing in the pool? Most children like the idea of summer and the other activities that come with a free schedule.
But, as a parent, particularly a working mom, summer brings a feeling of dread. It usually starts sometime around Spring Break when we think, “One week of no school isn’t so bad,” but then start pulling our hair out on Tuesday.
Child care during the summer is a constant thought on our minds right up until the day they go back to school. Military moms are rarely lucky enough to have family nearby to help out. Our options are often limited to the installation’s child care (which fills up quickly and can be pricey) or some other structured day camp.
Last year, we moved to a new location in June. Therefore, I missed all the sign-ups for camps. It was terrible! We did a lot of Vacation Bible School hopping and some random other events I could squeeze them into without paying an arm and a leg.
This year, I was prepared. I began looking in March. We decided on a six-week summer camp for my two school-age children. Here’s why.
We All Need Structure
This won’t shock you. We are a military family, and even before marrying my soldier, I was very structured and organized. With camp, we have a start time and an end time. We have a routine. We know what the next day will bring. We have managed expectations and created structure, with minimal stress.
It Is (Relatively) Inexpensive
I’ll be open with you, I prepaid for six weeks of camp for my two oldest kids. The camp is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and includes lunch. It cost me $450 per kid…total. That’s it. Are you rejoicing with me? That’s $75 a week. That’s $15 a day. That wouldn’t even get me three hours at hourly care. Yes, I call that a win.
It Makes Us All Happy
My kids are super excited about their time at camp. I am thrilled to have designated working hours. When I pick them up, they have so much to tell me, and I can put away work for the rest of the night. We won’t be fighting over not going to the pool because I’m on a deadline. We will be enjoying our time together.
It Gives Us Balance
I know there are more than six weeks of summer, but that’s the best part. The weeks they are in camp, I can work full-time. The weeks they aren’t, I can work part-time. I can move things around so we can enjoy those extra weeks together. We can spend mornings lounging about and afternoons at the pool. It forces us to manage our time well.
For the first time in a few years, everyone is looking forward to summer. We have a plan, we have a schedule, and we have stability. (Dare I say that out loud?) I know my kids will be cared for, they will have fun, and I will be able to work. Win-win-win!
Photo Credits: Pixabay