Got young kids and a stack of camp guides staring you in the face? So does Meagan Mulloy, who shares this awesome look at the no-fun-to-solve riddle that is the summer schedule. Thanks for the repeat appearance on MotherBoard, Meagan – we love your funny and honest pieces!
It’s late February. I just finished cleaning up from our eighth and final Valentines celebration. As I pack away the heart-shaped stickers and doilies, an overwhelming feeling of panic creeps up… the summer schedule.
Fellow moms, I know you feel me. It started with the release of the camp guide in late January. Ok, I lied. It started in early January just anticipating the release of the summer camp guide. The detailed reference guide from our local paper seems to taunt me every time I walk by, “You’d better get your act together. Time’s running out.”
The anxiety quietly grows as you hear rumblings that Mrs. Smith has registered her boys for sports camp and it’s nearly sold out. Or when you run into Mrs. Jones to find out only two spots remain in the Wednesday slot at sunshine camp.
It is both a blessing and a curse to have so many options for our little ones throughout the summer months. The built-in childcare and routine that school affords is temporarily on hold. And camp coordination, comparison and information gathering can be entirely overwhelming. No one, and I mean no one, seems to follow the same schedule. Couple that with coordination of work schedules, babysitters, nannies and daycare and you’ve got yourself a college level math equation.
My mind is racing as I try and review the options. They could do nature camp, but there are only spots for new members pending last year’s sign-ups. They won’t have camp the second Tuesday of each month, so be sure to come up with alternative care. Or they could do the farm camp. But it’s only offered for two weeks in July. Oh wait- there is that ONE camp that covers all your bases. You just have to commit your mortgage for the summer. Otherwise, good to go. And then of course you find the second camp that covers all your bases, but they’ve decided to release registration in late March meaning you are in some trouble if you wait and don’t get a spot.
As I tried to explain the challenge of the summer schedule to my dear husband, printed monthly calendars laid out in front of us, his head nearly exploded. There were so many moving parts we ended up erupting laughter at our desks. This is summer, for goodness sake. The very word suggests ease, relaxation and fun— but the planning is nothing of the sort.
I liken summer scheduling to a game of Tetris. There is a sense of panic in the final stages of the game where the blocks are stacking higher and new pieces are coming faster. You had better get those pieces lined up before you miss your spot and the whole schedule combusts. Then you’re back to ground zero. And that is not a place you want to be in early April, mommas. We all know you’ve just jumped to another level of difficulty if you do get there. You had better get your game face on.
I got a message from a Mom a few weeks ago. She was also struggling to figure it out, and wondering what camps we had decided on in hopes of coordinating our young ones. We exchanged some messages, me relenting that I had not yet solved our puzzle. Her simple text brought me such comfort “I completely understand. All the juggling working moms have to deal with. Thanks for letting me pick your brain.”
A couple days later another mom messaged. “Thank God the camp schedule fits my work schedule this year.” Girl, don’t we know what a good feeling that is.
And another, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do.”
The reality is, many of us are currently in the midst of this mostly silent struggle of summer scheduling.
Our family has still to date not figured out our schedule, and I do feel the weight of those Tetris blocks coming down. But the messages from these moms were like those perfect Tetris pieces that slowed things down for a bit and relieved the pressure. Hellooo. There are so many moms in this camp. We are in great company. We are all trying to fit a whole bunch of little tiny pieces perfectly together. And while one game might combust, another one is waiting with a fresh foundation.
This challenge will too soon pass. For now, take a breath and know that we’re all in this camp together.