Summer Guilt

Dawn Davenport


Working from home can be difficult when you want to spend time with your kids in the summer.

Working from home can be difficult when you want to spend time with your kids in the summer.

I love summer—especially the beginning of summer.  I live in the southern mountains so we can leave the windows open to the sounds and smells of June without the annoyance of air conditioning.  The garden is at that robust, yet still orderly stage, and the farmers market is full of glorious peaches, beet greens, cantaloupes, and strawberries.  I love absolutely everything about summer, except the guilt.

I run a nonprofit (I imagine that’s not news to you since you are reading this at the website of that nonprofit) and like most nonprofits, we try to save money wherever we can. It’s hard to beat free office space, so my office is in my house.  Most of the year I love this arrangement.  I can take a break to start dinner or throw in a load of wash mid afternoon, I can take my laptop to the porch to work, and I can’t beat the commute– a short climb up 24 creaky stairs.

But starting June 11, the first day school is out, along with the glories of summer comes the guilt.  It’s an odd sort of distraction.  I accept that I will have less time to actually work during the summer because of keeping one ear on what’s happening downstairs, what rules are being stretched, and who needs a distraction, but my husband also works from home, so we share this job.  The guilt thing, however, is mine alone and is harder to get a handle on.

I feel guilty if I’m not doing things with my kids if they are around.  I feel like I have to, or should, maximize this opportunity to be with them.  To influence them, to instruct them, but mostly to have fun with them.  School time is guilt free time.  Summertime is another story all together.

When my kids were younger, I worked part time out of the house, so there was much less juggling of work and home schedules.  When I was home, I was home to do home things.  Each week I would plan an art project, a cooking project, and a field trip.  It was almost like running a summer camp, and I loved it.  I know my parenting role has changed now that my children are older and so has my work schedule.  But I still think they need my time and attention and summer days present so many opportunities.

I know it’s a cliché, but I’m more aware than ever that this time with our kids is fleeting.  All too soon, they will have lives of their own.  Actually, “too soon” is not the right description.  If we are lucky and if we do our job as parents right, it will be at the right time and they will be ready to phase us out of their everyday lives.  But, thank goodness,  most of mine are not there yet, and I want to relish every moment of the time I have left.  Now, the funny thing is, my kids are at the age when the last thing they want on most days is more undivided time and attention from dear old mom. But knowing that they feel this way doesn’t change how I feel.

So, this summer I’ll be feeling that peculiar mommy summer guilt–wanting to spend my days with my kids and needing to spend them (or at least some of them) at my work.   So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll succumb to the guilt and go rustle up a kid for a game of badminton, a cow race on the Wii, or some cookie cooking.


Image credit: DioceseFDL

16/06/2009 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 9 Comments

9 Responses to Summer Guilt

  1. Avatar Dawn says:

    I do agree that the balancing part never goes away, but it does get easier when they are in school. But then you always have summer to figure out. 🙂

  2. Avatar BooBoo Justthemomforthejob says:

    Must be nice….we are in N. Texas and it's over 100 degrees today….ICK!

  3. I feel you pain. We moved here from Texas and I feel like I have found paradise. I don't miss the hear or the air conditioning at all.

  4. Must be nice….we are in N. Texas and it's over 100 degrees today….ICK!

  5. Avatar Cheri says:

    Hi Dawn, Thank you so much for your comments and for your website. I so appreciate your take on things and I am glad to know that I am not the only one to experience mommy guilt! My son is 19 months and while I enjoy the balance of my part time work schedule, when I am home I feel like all of my time should be devoted to bonding time with David. My husband (who works full time) doesn’t seem to have this issue and is fine to go to work and then spend saturday morning cleaning or running errands, whereas I am always focused on quality family time. Or maybe it is just that I am not to fond of house work! 🙂 Anyway, I don’t mean to lump the males together in a stereotype, but I wonder if this is some sort of male-female difference?

    I’m still trying to work through the mommy guilt and the balance between a happy baby, husband, self, and clean home. Who am I kidding, who cares about the clean house!

  6. Avatar Paul's Mommy says:

    I so agree with your blog and the previous comment. Balancing parenting and work and life is HARD! We waited a long time for our son and I feel like every second I should be doing things with him. But honestly, sometimes I just want some me time. I’d also love to go back to work part time. We could use the money, but how could I balance work with him. I thought it would get easier when he got older and didn’t adore me, but your blog killed that idea. *JK* I love it that you post on the same day. I always have something to look forward to on Tuesdays.

  7. Avatar Queenie says:

    I saw on LCFA that today’s show is about weight and fertility. If you get this before today’s show, please be sure to mention that being slightly underweight can be a problem, too. I am naturally thin, but always had regular periods, so I didn’t think much about how my weight was impacting my fertility. I had a BMI of about 17, which isn’t too far from “normal”. However, I routinely ovulated after CD21. I got pregnant, but miscarried. My RE ended up telling me that women with high or low BMI’s compromise their fertility, and caused wonky ovulation. He said that routinely O-ing after CD18 can mean compromised egg quality. Gaining as little as 10 percent of my body weight might make a difference…and it did. Within three months of gaining a tiny amount of weight, my ovulation sprung to CD16-17, and I’m now 10 weeks pregnant. I was shocked that such a little thing made such a huge difference.

  8. Avatar In Due Time says:

    It’s hard to balance (for myself) even without having kids. I hope you find a balance that leaves you with the least amount of guilt possible. Maybe try waking up earlier than the kids so you dont have as much guilt or distraction, even just an hour.

  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Hey, nice post, really well written, but then your blog always is. This is my first summer to have a kid who was in school and I can see what you mean. Right now, I kind a miss the time off, but I’ll try to remember to maximize my time with him. I like the idea of scheduling things to do to make sure I actually do some stuff with him this summer rather than just let the days go by. Thanks for the idea.

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