Working mother guilt really peaks at this time of year.
It’s awful enough when I feel bad about not being with my children; not picking them up from school myself, not always being able to go to the endless number of school events that require parental attendance these days. But there are two weeks during the summer when I have a double whammy of guilt – leaving my children … and obliging my mother to look after them all day every day for a fortnight.
I try to minimise the impact – I go into work as late as possible and finish as early as I can, but this increases my own stress as work piles up and I have to catch up in the evening once the kids are in bed.
Except bedtime disappears during the summer. We are lucky to live near a park on an estate where hoards of children play out until as late as 10pm some summer evenings. There is endless moaning on the internet about modern children never playing outside and never having any freedom. ‘Thankfully’ not where I live. I regularly have to go wandering and shouting around 9pm to check where mine are, texting various neighbours to try to locate them.
And it’s no use putting them to bed earlier. The screams and yells of their friends playing (are they ‘playing’ or are they murdering one another? It’s often difficult to tell) outside resonate through our house, along with the ping pong of the doorbell at 8.30pm, followed by horrified screeches from my kids at the potential humiliation of being found ‘in bed’ while everyone else is still out – and all because mummy wants to ‘finish her work’ (drink wine and watch Game of Thrones without the risk of one of them wandering in at a totally inappropriate moment).
Roll on school…