Circle of Moms member Jennyfer S. says she's feeling the summertime babysitter blues: "I'm jealous that my sitter is watching the baby." And Stephanie S. says she feels like she's missing out on the prime playtime hours of summer, and "hates that by the time I get home after eight hours it's bed time."
It's summertime and the weather is fine, but you're trapped at work while a babysitter or other caregiver is soaking up all the fun with your children at the pool, or filling in for you at play dates. If you're feeling a little envious, it may be comforting to know that you're not alone, as these Circle of Moms members and a national survey from Care.com demonstrate.
According to the survey's findings, a majority of parents--58 percent--reported feeling envious of their babysitters during the summertime, frequently, often or sometimes, while nearly 11 percent said they always felt envious.
As Wendy Sachs, editor in chief of Care.com says, "When my babysitter texts me that she's at the pool with my kids eating ice cream and I am at work, I've felt envious. You want your babysitter to be enthusiastic about playing outdoors and going to the pool, but parents want to be there too. After all, it's summer."
Visions of sandcastles, swings and ice cream cones dripping down t-shirts cause working moms to want more from their babysitters during the summer. Sixty-six percent of parents expect caregivers to "be outside, playing in the park, going to the zoo, and planning more," says Care.com's Sachs, adding that this only increases their feelings of remorse for not being there themselves.
To stave off the guilt, here are a few creative solutions for keeping your cool at work while your kids are out having fun this summer, gathered from Circle of Moms members and Care.com's Sachs.
1. Enlist your "momtourage": Sachs recommends maximizing your summer flex-time and vacation days by rounding up working moms of similarly-aged children in your neighborhood and alternating care or trips to the pool on assigned days. Circle of Moms member Diane B. says when her kids were little and she was working part-time during summers, she rallied with other part-time moms in the neighborhood to take shifts during the days they were off. "We set up a neighborhood 'Science Club," she says. "We would make toothpaste, homemade ice cream, leaf rubbings, etc. We would get the neighborhood kids together, and they really enjoyed themselves. So did we." Knowing that she was spending some time with her kids and that her kids were with other moms helped ease the summer working blues, she says.
2. Let your kids chill: You don't have to schedule every minute of every day for your kids (and then feel guilty that you aren't there for each moment), says Sachs.
3. Create flexible hours: With some creative juggling, self-employed moms can find a little more flexibility in their schedules for summertime fun, suggests Courtney L., a mom of four who also runs a family businesss with her husband out of their home. She takes her kids on neighborhood adventures to the pool or park, and then works longer hours in the early morning or later at night to get her work done. Otherwise, she laments, they're "glued to a television or computer" while she works.
4. Consider summer school and camps: During the summer, you're less likely to be envious of camp counselors than you are of a babysitter who would be spending one-on-one time with your kids, says Sachs. It's also comforting to know your child is engaged in fun or educational activities all day long, as they are during the school year.
5. Take a vacation: "Unfortunately, I will be working all summer, " says Grenita, a mom of three year-old twins. "But we are going to take a road trip to Atlanta, and that combined with their ballet lessons hopefully will make summer fun for them."
6. Enjoy your own summer: Most importantly, try to take some summertime moments for yourself to just breathe and soak it in, says Tracy B. who works full time. And especially during the summer, says Rene A., "don't stress if the house is messy," and treat yourself to an dinner-in at least occasionally to make the most out of your time with your kids after work.
Image Source: South West RDA via Flickr/CreativeCommons
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