“Where is Alex?” she asked.
I am assuming she was curious as to why it was so quiet in the background.
“He’s at summer camp”, I replied.
There was a moment of awkward silence.
“Summer camp?” she scoffed.
Yes! I sent my son to summer camp every day for a month and a half during a global pandemic.
Three and half months into the #saferathome my son and I were quite frankly, sick of each other. We were arguing with each other like an old married couple. gasp Yes, my five-year-old son was arguing with me. Stop acting like your kids don’t ever talk back to you. Ok, does bicker with each other sound better? The point is, we were tired of being around each other. Being at home, not getting up early to drive an hour to work and an hour and a half on the way back home was great at first. But after a while, I was craving the alone time that I was used to having in my office. And my son was longing for some interaction with his friends from school. I never would have imagined I would ever have the thought of actually wanting to go back to work. My child wanted to go back to school. “I miss my friends and my teachers, Mommy”.
3 tantrums in one day led me to a desperate online search at almost midnight. I had enough and I knew what I had to do for my sanity. BOOM. I found it. They were still hosting summer camp in my area. In fact, there was a waiting list. Despite the world suffering a global pandemic, parents still needed to find something to do with their kids and probably for several reasons. I had mine.
Working From Home
At some point, I noticed I hadn’t really found much balance when it came to working from home. Some days I’d be extremely focused on work and almost completely neglect my son. Other days, it was the reverse. It was fine until work started to pick up and things started to get demanding. The kid would come into my workspace, begging me to play a game with him. If I didn’t agree he woul
d be so upset. It was already challenging working without all of the things and supplies I am used to in the office. Having a little five-year-old tugging on my shoulder made working from much more difficult.
I am a firm believer no matter who you are and what responsibilities you have, everyone needs time to themselves. Alone time, outside of work, pre-COVID was rare. Once we started working from home, it dawned on me… work served as my quasi alone time. I wasn’t necessarily alone. But I was without the kid. I wasn’t serving as anyone’s lunch lady. I didn’t have to build any LEGO structures. There wasn’t someone calling me my slave name, Mommy, every 2-5 minutes. Work was my break time. I allow my son to be honest with me. Some times he blurts out, “I need a break from you”. And that is ok with me because I can just imagine how it must be for him. He’s constantly receiving orders, wake up, take a nap, eat your lunch, clean up your toys, brush your teeth, take shower, go to bed. I would need a break from that too.
Although he can be bashful, my son thrives around other children. He interacts with other kids very well. Social interaction helps children as they start to develop who they are. It assists with developmental milestones as well. As children develop and perceive their individuality they also gain communication skills and learn how to process their actions. Summer camp did wonders for my kid socially. He gained a new sense of individuality and maturity. He was able to use his natural leadership qualities. My son learned new things and encountered new challenges which I hope stick with him.
But what about the risks? Weren’t you afraid he would catch Coronavirus? Yes. I was apprehensive. But I took the time to research and investigate the safety measures the camp instated and relieved some of my fear. I did take a risk but aren’t we always taking risks as mothers?
It wasn’t the risks I was most concerned about. It was the judgment. This virus has given folks the go-ahead to share unsolicited advice laced in judgment. Don’t do this? Are you sure you want to do that? Why would you let him go? I am so glad I didn’t give in to the judgment. Gratefully, we survived the entire month and a half of summer camp without becoming ill. I did what was best for my child and me and essentially that is a part of Motherhood I love. It’s an individual journey. There are no manuals to prepare you for what is ahead. As my son and I grow individually and collectively as a family unit, we learn what works for us and what doesn’t. Summer cam worked for us. I am so glad it did.