Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Guilt

The baseline amount of mommy guilt I suffer from takes a huge upswing during the summer. 

Summer as a child was magic for me. Hot days stretching on forever, endless possibilities, lazy afternoons, the very real possibility of boredom.

After stressful school years and busy schedules, I want to be able to give my children the same summer experience.

But having two busy working parents doesn't allow for such things. The boys are off to day camps and other activities. We wake them up at the same early hour we woke them at during the school year. We hurry them through breakfast, dressing, and tooth brushing. We pack backpacks and lunch boxes. We rush from one activities to another, one appointment to another, always busy.

Summer just feels like any other time of the year, but with less spelling homework.

I love summer so much. I just hate that it has to be like this.

So I'm doing my best (probably in my typical overcompensating way) to make summer as summery as possible.

I let them eat inordinate amounts of popcicles and watermelon. I let them use water balloons every day. I try not to fuss when they leave the hose running after chasing each other with it. I let them wear their swim suits all weekend. I let them stay up way passed bedtime, either watching movies together or chasing fireflies or riding bikes.

Times like this, when I know that stay-at-home parents are able to spend limitless time with their children, makes me feel heart heavy.  I'm not about to quit my job, especially because I'm the only income and I actually really like my job. I just value my time with my children so much that I'm always eager to have more.

I like to think that we are still having a great summer. My boys are tanned, their blonde hair sun-bleached even lighter. They smile and rough house and stay up way too late. They smell every day of fruit juice and cut grass and sunscreen. 

Even seeing that the boys are having a good summer doesn't completely ease my guilt. I'm always thinking about how much better I maybe could have made it. Which is ridiculous. It should not be about having the perfect summer, or perfectly recreating what I had as a child. It should just be about enjoying what we are able to have.


  1. From what little I know, I'd say that guilt never goes away. Even if you were home with them all day every day, you'd feel like you weren't doing enough of something. I'm glad you're enjoying the time you do get and making the most of it. How could you NOT love spending time with those boys??

  2. Excellent point, Karen! And Katherine, you are doing exactly what you are meant to do, in exactly each moment you're doing it! Believe that! Your boys are not going to remember what MIGHT have been able to do (sleep later, stay up later, stay at the pool longer, etc.) ... they are going to remember chasing the fireflies, eating popsicles and playing baseball with their dad. They will always have those wonderful memories because you are a FAMILY and spend quality time together, the quantity is not what's important, it's the quality.

    1. Thank you so much! We give ourselves a similar pep talk on days when the feelings of coming up short are strongest - quality, not quantity.