Life

Mommy's Grounded

Working mom guilt reaches an all-time high during the summer months

By Bianca Bujan

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

My face flushes as I respond to the question that I’m asked about on an almost daily basis now that the last month of school is coming to a close: “Do you have any big plans for the summer?” .

“Not really,” I respond hesitantly. “I’ll be working for most of it.”

My response is usually met with a sympathetic side glance, and I feel my cheeks burning as I try to list off some plans that I hope to squeeze in on our summer weekends - to make up for our inevitable time apart.

As a self-employed mom, I’m able to adjust my hours so that I can be present for school drop-offs and pickups. But working for myself also means I don’t have an allocated number of vacation days to cash in during the summer months.

Because of my customized work schedule, I’m primarily surrounded by moms who aren’t tied to their desks once their children walk through the classroom doors - moms who are able to be present for their children around-the-clock during the summer months.

As I listen in on their grandiose getaway plans and day-to-day bucket lists to check off with their little ones while they’re out of school, I’m riddled with guilt.

While my children’s peers are spending quality time with their parents, I’ll be spending my days shuttling my kids off to day camps and caregivers so that I can work.

As I try to piece together the jigsaw puzzle that is our summer calendar, I worry that my children will resent me for not being home with them.

The reality is, I love what I do, and couldn’t imagine taking a 67-day break from my work to stay at home with my kids for the full duration of summer break. We make the best of our weekends together, and my children end up enjoying their camps, trying new experiences and meeting new friends.

Those feelings of guilt usually subside, but that internal tug-of-war that occurs as summer planning first takes place can be a doozy, and I know I’m not alone.

While I dream of year-round school calendars, subsidized childcare during the summer months, or a big lottery win, my plans are simple: I’ll be working away while my children play - and that’s alright.

Perhaps during the cooler months we’ll find a window of time to sneak away for a family getaway, but for the summer months, this mommy’s grounded.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @bitsofbee and at bitsofbee.com. Comments: bitsofbee@yahoo.ca.