Since September, you’ve had that (mostly) glorious school days daze…you’re able to take a shower that’s more than 37 seconds (and warm to boot) and you find, with the kids back in school, your mom guilt about the 400th hour of Henry Danger so you could get some work done is at a minimum. (Only me?) But, winter break means…they’re back! You love your children more than life itself, but what the heck do you do about childcare during winter break?
I’m that mom — I cry when I walk him into the first day of school because I’ll miss…him…so…much. That lasts for about three days, though, and by the fourth day of school, I’m right back to bun hair and pajamas for car drop-off line, and texting friends I haven’t seen all summer about our brunch plans.
Oh, and I am actually getting work done! Yes, I’m a work-at-home-for-pay-mom (because let’s face it — every mama is a working mama), and though I count the days in May down like everyone else, I often find myself at wits’ end come July because while he’s on break? I still have to work! Not quite as easy to do (or productive) when he’s home in the summer…all…day…long.
Winter break brings its own challenges because it’s a busy time, but magical time of year, and I am torn about wanting to do all the things with him but needing to do all the work I need to do. Options for childcare and entertainment are few and far between on shorter breaks, so the question is what the heck do you do about childcare during winter break?
Winter Break Camps
Believe it or not, people have figured out that kids need places to go during the winter break while both parents are working, and more and more, community businesses offer weekly camps that match the school break schedule. Whether it’s bricking it up with some Legos or doing a little wine and design (minus the wine) at the local art house, check your school’s site or your county’s parks and rec site to see if there are any offerings. Most likely there are, and you’re probably going to find businesses are going to capitalize on the need for childcare during the winter break too.
MWR: Here, Take My Kids!
Check out what your local installation offers as well! Many times, MWR will offer opportunities for the kiddos during winter break periods that will give both you and your child some much-needed fun or time (take your pick). While MWR offerings may not be nine-to-fivers (though some may; many places will have summer and winter break camps for families), a few hours here and there can make a significant dent in the workload, and every bit helps.
Send In the Sister Wives
We all know it takes a village, and we all know that the village is us! There is an excellent chance another family’s kids are begging for someone to play with (which is often a win-win because the kids keep themselves occupied), and your kiddos would probably fit that bill perfectly. Don’t be ashamed to admit you need help with your children over the break, because honestly, most military spouses pride themselves on helping one another. Trust that your turn to return the favor will come (and it will) and seek help from fellow military spouses who have kids home too.
It’s All In the Family
You might think having to work would be the worst time for the family to come and visit, but think about it…you honestly think Grandma wouldn’t go ga-ga for a little plea for help and the offer to come spoil your kiddos rotten for a while? Or to have them go to Camp Grammy and live the good life a bit? It is winter break, after all — a perfect time to be with family. Yes, it would suck for you because you still have work to do and you’ll miss out on all the good things that come with being spoiled rotten, but let’s be honest, our parents didn’t ever act like that with us, so odds are, we’re gonna be fine missing out on a few days of kid indulgence!
Make Some New Friends
Child care friends, that is — if your regular sitter can’t fit you in for the time you need to work (or even part of it) because they’re in high demand — which is likely the case since it’s the holidays — find some new helpers. Care.com and SitterCity are often great resources for finding background-checked, reliable care, and you can interview well in advance so you’ll know you have the dates you need covered and won’t be scrambling last minute.
The Time Is Now
If your spouse is home (and we know, that’s a biiiiiig if), talk about whether or not you can both take a bit of time off during the break and cover the kids while the other is working. The best-case scenario is when the holiday leave and your overlapping time off leaves days covered and the kiddos getting some special time with your spouse they might not otherwise get.
And, if all of the above just aren’t possible, consider taking time off. Yes, we know that’s not always the easiest thing to do, but the reality is when you have no other viable options, the simple truth of, “I have to be home with my kids,” may actually free you up to enjoy the time with your kids instead of worrying about what you are not getting accomplished because they are home and you feel guilty they’re in front of the television again. Consider it an investment in your family and in you — because nobody loves hearing, “The dog ate my lunch again,” when you’re trying to crank out your latest proposal in an online meeting!
Photo Credits: Unsplash