Summer Is Peak Season for Working Mom Guilt

Heather Chaet
2

babysitter funThe days are getting longer. The coats are shoved to the back of the closet. The summer days ahead for Kiddo will be chock-full of trips to the park, sliding on the playground, looking for bugs, maybe popping to the zoo ... all with her babysitter. Even though she does lots of stuff with her babysitter during the whole year, for some reason, my twangs of babysitter jealousy and my pangs of Mommy Guilt get stronger in the summertime. I see the bright sunny days and know Kiddo is having a rockin' time ... without me.

I am not alone. A new study by Care.com showed that nearly 70 percent of working parents felt envious of their caregiver during the summer months. The whole "I should be slathering on the sunscreen and trekking to the park with her" feeling you get when you see a text from the sitter with a cute photo of them playing is pretty universal. And it universally honks.

I adore our caregiver, she is part of the family without a doubt, and I wouldn't want anyone else with Kiddo if I can't be with her, but, sometimes, as I am typing away, I get wistful and wish I could be the one playing. Especially when it's bright and sunny, especially now as Kiddo is more curious, I want to be with her as she explores her world. I know I feel this when it's cold outside too, but, for some reason, it hits so much harder when I'm wearing flip-flops.

I admit it's kind of comforting to know I'm not alone, that other moms and dads feel the same way when the nice weather arrives. I was dropping off Kiddo at preschool last week, walking to the subway with two other moms, all of us heading to work. It was a gorgeous day, I'm talking picture-perfect. All of us had caregivers picking up our kids, taking them to the park after school. One mom piped up, "I wish I could play hooky today and pick him up and just play." We all nodded in agreement. Believe me, we all felt it in December, but not as much, not as forcefully for sure.

Then she went on, "But if I did that, I would be working the whole weekend to catch up." Many of us have to work. Many of us need to work to pay the bills, get the benefits, make ends meet. Many of us have only a few sick days, a certain number of vacation days, which we usually try to save for the wintertime when we try to avoid the Stomach Flu Cha Cha Cha. Even now, with my more flexible schedule, it's tough. But what's a working mom do to? Not much except to remember that your caregiver is awesome, Kiddo is having a great time, and you will have your fun time together soon ... and then get back to work.

Are you more envious of your babysitter in the summertime?

 

Image via D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr

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