By Guest Blogger Jennifer Turner

Long days at the pool, chasing after the ice cream truck, staying up late catching lighting bugs, and sleeping in. That’s what summer break is all about, right?

That’s how I remember my perfectly imperfect childhood. But, for my kids, summers look much different.

My husband and I both work full time jobs. That means my kids still have to go to bed at their normal time so they can get up at 6:30am. Maybe we will make it to the pool this weekend. Oh, it’s supposed to rain. Well, next weekend we have the family reunion. The next weekend we have a wedding. But I promise we will get to the pool before the summer is over.

I’m not meant to be a stay at home mom. I work because I want to. But in reality, I only want to 9 months out of the year. I want the opportunity to allow my kids to enjoy summers the way I delighted in them. Carefree and with a little too much sun on my cheeks. I want to be making sandwiches to take to the pool or the park, not packing lunch boxes to drop off at daycare.

Summer break can be exhausting, but it is especially hard on working parents. Working parents who are trying to juggle their normal everyday tasks with giving their kids the experiences that make childhoods special.

My family is fortunate enough to have found an affordable summer camp that offers a wider variety of activities than I would be able to provide my children. This also gives them the opportunity to make a different group of friends than they have in school. I do not wish to take this experience away from them, summer camp itself can be very special and memorable, but in my perfect world there would be a better balance.

Instead, my kids will run through the sprinkler on a Saturday morning while I try to catch up on a week’s worth of laundry. We might squeeze in one trip to the zoo, but we might not. Our house will continue to be a disaster while we contemplate the consequences of going to the splash pad for the day instead of doing our weekly chores. And we will have a Happy Meal picnic after work because I haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store in two weeks.

I know I’m just doing the best I can, which is all any mom can say, but the mom guilt is strong. This summer and every summer. At least until my kids reach an age when they don’t want to spend time with me. Then the mom guilt will transition to regret. Regret that I didn’t spend summers with them when I had the chance.

Anyone else feel the same way? I’d love to hear how you manage your summer mom guilt.

Author, Jennifer Turner, and her family


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