Being a teacher is one of those jobs that is SUPER-challenging from September to May, and then SUPER-easy from June through August–because having the summer off is a huge perk! In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this unpaid vacation, because I like to keep busy and this two and a half month break tends to lag after the first few weeks. In the past, I’ve taught summer school or gotten a summer job doing something full time, anything I could do to make money during the break.
However, this is my first summer off being a mommy; it’s super-busy, super-fun, and it’s a whole new world!
During the school year, I only get to see my baby Charly for a minute in the morning, then for a few hours after work. My only full days with her are on weekends or holidays. This summer, it’s been ALL Charly, ALL the time, and even though it’s challenging, I really feel like I’m getting to know my daughter on a totally different level. I am so grateful for this break, and for the opportunity to truly embrace my role as a mom. I also realize, that while my teaching job is challenging, being a stay-at-home mom is just SO much harder (at least at this age).
Charly is turning 1 next week, and she’s at the age when she wants to touch EVERYTHING, eat EVERYTHING, and do EVERYTHING. While she was already a pretty active crawler at the start of the summer, she’s picked up speed, and is now officially walking. I was so happy that I got to see it happen, to watch her take those first steps–instead of being told about them by my day care provider.
At first, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do all summer, so I ran around signing us up for gym classes (both My Gym–two days a week, and Gymboree–one day a week), swim classes, library story time, Tot Shabbat, and Stroller Strides. Because many of the friends I made at Stroller Strides have babies the same age, five of us sort of gravitated toward each other and started doing things together with the babies each week. We take classes together, go to the zoo, various children’s museums, the movies (on baby night), the farmer’s market, the beach–anything and everything that might be fun for our kids. Finding a group of like-minded people has really made the summer special. That, coupled with a birthday party almost every weekend, has made this summer feel truly festive.
However, even though I’m seriously loving all the time we’re spending together, I do send Charly to day care one day each week–both for her to see our day care provider and the kids there (who she LOVES), and so I can have one day a week to focus on me. To work on a writing project, run errands, take a good shower, reorganize my house, or get a pedicure. I love being a full-time mom, but I realize that I really do need at least one day for myself so that when I’m with her the other six full days, I can give her everything. I know it’s selfish, and there are other mothers who will totally roll their eyes at me, but I have to do what works for me.
Now that I’ve seen how the other half lives, I can’t lie, I’m totally jealous! Going back to work at the end of August is going to be painful. But, me not working is not an economic option for our household. So, even though I’d love to stay at home, I’ll go back to working full-time at the end of the summer. But from now on, unlike before this summer, I’ll truly look forward to my summer breaks, because I know it means I’ll get to be a stay-at-home mom again, and I can’t wait!