When you’re a kid, there’s nothing better than extended holidays and breaks. But for a working mother who’s juggling a dozen things at once, few prospects are more stressful.
If you want to preserve your sanity, you’ll need a plan of attack for this school year.
How to Handle School Breaks?
For working moms, school breaks can be very challenging. They require you either to take off time from work, or find someone to watch the kids. A single day off here and there might not be such a big deal, but extended time off -- such as at Christmas break or Spring break -- can be a much bigger task. Here are three essential tips you might find helpful.
Take Time Off and Travel
The first option is to simply take time off, yourself. You have vacation days for a reason, and there’s no sense in hoarding them if you don’t have any other particular purpose in mind.
If your kids have a spring break, why not make it your spring break too? Assuming you decide to take some time off, try to make it worth everyone’s time. A trip to Disney World is great every once in a while, but do you really need to go every year?
Instead, try taking the kids on a more enlightening vacation. Save up and take a trip to Rome, which offers historic landmarks, incredible vistas, museums and galleries, ancient ruins, and good food.
If you don’t want to travel that far, plenty of U.S. cities are rich in historical significance as well, such as Boston, which has landmarks steeped in colonial, Revolutionary, and industrial significance.
Split Caregiving Between Parents
If a week of vacation isn’t practical, then you’ll have to decide on an option that allows you to get a little work in. If you’re married or have an ex-spouse who shares responsibility for the kids, dividing up the caregiving between the two of you might be the best way to go.
This works especially well if you’re each able to set your own schedules so that someone is always with the kids while the other is at work.
If there isn’t another parent in the picture, perhaps your kids have grandparents or aunts and uncles that can look after them. As a working mom, Rebecca Heery says, “I have two children with two different spring break dates. My youngest is in the middle of hers at the moment and my oldest has hers in April. They have never had coinciding spring breaks so I put my parents on notice every year that they are responsible for their grandkids during spring break.”
Enroll Kids in Camps and Programs
In most communities, you’ll find various activities for kids over popular school breaks. For example, day camps frequently are scheduled during spring break to give parents a chance to drop the kids off and go to work.
These cost money, of course, but the charges are usually little compared to daycare or babysitting fees. Be sure to ask around and watch for these opportunities. They tend to fill up fast.
Take a Deep Breath
It’s easy to feel anxiety well up inside when you look at your child’s school year months ahead of time. There are parent-teacher conferences, difficult homework assignments, class projects, sports games and practices, clubs, extracurricular activities … the list goes on and on.
But it’s essential to take a breath and slow down. You don’t have to experience all these things at once, so why are you trying to plan for them simultaneously? Take the challenges one at a time -- including school breaks and holidays -- and everything should find a way of working out.
Written by Emily Green for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.