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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do kids of working parents get cheated in the summer?

First Day of Camp 
Was my son going to get cheated out of his summer vacation because I'm a working mom? This was the question that kept racing through my mind mid-way through my son's first year of elementary school.  When he leaves Kindergarten in June, would he feel like less fortunate than his peers who "got to" stay home all summer?  It's never simple balancing work and family as a working mom, but this particular dilemma was new to me.  You see, during the daycare years, the transition to summertime was seamless and frankly unnoticeable. Why was that? Well, all of his friends were in the exact same boat. Not so with elementary school. In fact, several of my son's closest friends have moms who are teachers or freelance or don't work.  How was I going to ensure that my son had a great summer? Or better yet, was that even possible?

Back in February, my fellow working mom friends and I were frantically signing our kids up for camp, or more accurately camps. I registered my son for six-weeks at the local golf and tennis club, followed by two weeks of day camp at the YMCA, and added one additional week of
Art Camp (there is no camp the last week of summer, but that's a topic for another day).  As you can imagine, there are numerous logistics associated with singing up for multiple camps and then there's tuition, something we hoped not to see after years of daycare payments.  In fact, camp does not come cheap.  Honesty, though, the looming sign up deadlines and credit card charges were nothing compared to the unknown: would my son feel like he got robbed of his summer vacation?

To my surprise (and delight!) my son loves camp and has said multiple times that he's a very lucky kid because he gets to go to the "Best Camp Ever!" Phew, what a relief.  The kid can't wait to go each morning and is having the time of his life - playing sports, making new friends, eating chocolate cake for snack - and he can't wait to tell me about the games he plays and crafts he's made when I fetch him in the afternoon.

Sure, we still need to transition to camp #2 and #3, but I can honestly say that the first several weeks of summer have been a joy for our family and a big relief for me.  My son has his cake and is eating it, too.

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