This fall, all three of my older children will be going to the same school. They will be getting on the bus together in the morning, and getting off together in the afternoon. This blissful confluence of events warms my efficient heart. Alas, that’s in another 6 weeks. We still have camp to get through now.
This week, the three big kids are in three different camps. Yes, I signed them up, and yes, I knew this might be logistically complex, but there were particular programs they each wanted to do, which were offered only certain weeks, so there we go. Fortunately, the arrival times and pick-up times are slightly staggered. Two start at 9, one at 9:30, and then they end at 3:30, 4, and 4:15. The 9:30-4:15 one is quite working parent friendly; they have free (or built-into-the-cost) before and after care that you don’t have to book ahead of time. So it’s not quite as crazy as it could be, but it’s still a lot of running around, and the two camps starting at 9 a.m. means the routine requires two drivers. This morning, I took 2 kids and G (nanny) took one of the big kids, plus the little guy. We went in separate directions. With first-day drop-offs and check-ins with counselors, my morning run took 50 minutes (plus the time to help get my half of the kids ready). The afternoon run, which we also split, took only 20 minutes for me, but that’s because I picked that kid up on the early side to avoid the car line stack-up. I’m only traveling one night this week (hubby will be as well; we’ll see how G pulls that day off!) so presumably I’ll do this the rest of the week too.
I’m cool with it; we have some good chats in the car. But I was just thinking back to ten years ago, when I was new to the parenting thing, and I read a lot of Mommy War articles and discussions on internet forums (fora?) where people made such helpful comments on using childcare as “I can’t imagine letting other people raise my children!” And here I am, with more than full time childcare coverage, seemingly still involved in my children’s lives, to the point of doing 50-minute camp runs. However, what childcare does allow is that I can let my kids do the camps they want to do, which I simply could not pull off solo as a stay-at-home mom of four. We have such childcare because I work — flexibly, but still full-time. These things are always more complex than they appear in trolling comments.
Does childcare enable anything in your life (besides working) that you couldn’t do otherwise?
In other news: An excerpt from my City Journal article on working stay-at-home moms ran in the New York Post this weekend.