For Working Moms Summer is Expensive & Exhausting: Suggestions Needed!
Today’s post comes from Kerala Taylor in Portland, Ore. An expanded version originally appeared on Medium. A lot of moms — and dads — will relate. Let’s hear any hacks you’ve come up with!
It’s almost summer…yay???
As a child, summer used to mean 10 weeks of freedom. As a working parent, it means 10 weeks of figuring out sh*t for my kids to do. Ten weeks of logistical headaches, 10 weeks that cost thousands of dollars for the privilege of continuing to work.
I work from home now, and it would be different if there were children reliably running up and down our street. Then I could just send my kids out to play. It’s not that I’m worried about them being bored. A healthy dose of summer boredom can breed creativity and curiosity, but these positive effects can only be realized in environments rich with play opportunities — including, crucially, OTHER CHILDREN.
These days, all the kids are either inside with their screens or getting carted to and from camp. As families have become more isolated, the logistical burden of childcare has only increased — and it’s a burden that falls disproportionately to women.
In her seminal and unfortunately still very relevant article, “Why Women Can’t Have it All,” Anne-Marie Slaughter shared what her assistant had to say when it came to women and work/life balance: MAKE SCHOOL SCHEDULES MATCH WORK SCHEDULES.
I heartily agree, and would also propose a parallel all-caps plea: MAKE WORK SCHEDULES MATCH SCHOOL SCHEDULES.
How about our kids spend a little more time in school AND adults work a little less? Can we align both schedules so that parents — and yes by parents, I still mean mostly mothers — aren’t spending a majority of their “free” hours piecing together childcare? And while we’re at it, can we follow Lenore Skenazy’s lead and commit to re-creating “Free Range” neighborhoods where kids can roam at will?- K.T.
Let Grow here: We will be posting some suggestions for parents who are up an expensive, annoying tree like this! And we want to hear your suggestions, too! Please comment below or on our Raising Independent Kids Facebook group and we will do a follow-up post!