Work-at-home summer prep

Consider this a PSA to all parents of elementary-aged children: We’re down to less than a month before the end of the school year.

Summers have always been hard for me as a self-employed person who works from home. September through June, I have a solid work routine and guaranteed time to focus.

July and August are pretty much a dumpster fire, professionally speaking.

Transitioning to summer has always been tough, but this year I’ll feel the pain more than ever. This has been the first time both of our children are in elementary school and I have been treasuring those precious weekday hours.

Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., I sequester myself in my basement office and my fingers are pretty much glued to my keyboard. Most days I’m so busy that I don’t eat lunch until I remember to choke something down in the five minutes before I leave to pick them up from the bus.

I have other self-employed friends who are semi-dreading the end of the school year, too. In theory, it would be nice to take July and August off from our work. We could spend buckets of quality time with our kids, sleep in, soak up the (limited) good weather and not jump every time our phone dings with a new email.

Of course, that’s not an option for most of us, since our businesses wouldn’t take kindly to a two-month hiatus. We are also fans of paying our mortgage and, like, eating …

So what’s the solution to keeping our children happy, fed and alive while we do the work we need to do? Camps! Lots of ’em!

This is the time of year when camps open the registration floodgates and parents start frantically writing cheques — hoping they don’t accidentally write the amount in the payee section because what millennial parent even writes cheques in 2018?!

Of course, camps aren’t cheap. There needs to be a balance between how much you’re going to earn that week and how much you’re paying to unload your kids for a sweaty week of themed day camp. 

(Ooh — here’s an idea, camp owners. Registration really should take place the August before, when frustrated work-at-home parents would tearfully pay twice as much to have a quiet house the following summer.)

And so, I clicked around and read numerous fliers to compare costs. I scrutinized the calendar for July and August and decided which weeks would be toxic for my mental health (a.k.a. which weeks my husband would be working or sleeping off the night shift during all of our kids’ waking hours). I checked with friends to see which rugrats were going where.

I ended up signing the kids up for two weeks of full-day camp — one week in July, and one week in August to spread out my sanity. They’ll also attend a free week of half-day VBS (Vacation Bible School) at a nearby church, since they went last year and declared it to be the best camp they’d ever attended. 

I have a good friend who babysits, and I can hire her to watch them — at her house — if I need the odd day or half-day here and there. The kids will spend time visiting my mom in Halifax, and there’s also the fact that their dad will have days off to take them to the playground, the Wildlife Park, etc.

Heading into this summer, I feel more prepared than I ever have in the past. By combining the powers of day camp, a babysitter, a doting grandmother, and a husband who does shift-work (and is therefore off certain weekdays), I hope I can make it through July and August with my career and my sanity intact.

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You feel this pain on a spiritual level? Here are some related posts to scroll through while you sip a comforting hot beverage …

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