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You’ve said your goodbyes, maybe wiped away a few tears and pushed down the lump in your throat–especially if it’s your child’s first time at sleep-away summer camp. But now, with the hard part over, it’s time for some fun. Your own.
Few moms enjoy, on any regular basis, the luxury of a good long breather from the daily grind of motherhood: Shuttling kids back and forth to school and activities, doing endless loads of laundry, whipping up a few solid meals every day (and wiping away the crumbs). You know the drill.
Needless to say, sleep-away camp can be as liberating for moms as it is for their kids who are spending a week, a month or more sleeping in cabins with their new BFFs, taking to the woods and the water for days on end, and singing Kumbayah around the campfire. In fact, I spoke to some local women whose summertime hiatus from mommy duty made them feel like they were the ones at camp.
But for some, guilt and worry come first. A friend of mine whom I’ll call Jane recalled to me the scenario a few weeks ago, as she dropped off her little guy for a two-week stint at sleep-away camp for the first time: “Because he’s my youngest, I was so nervous for him,” she said.
That quickly changed when her little guy scrambled up on to his bunk bed, plunked down with his favorite stuffed animal, and asked her in blasé fashion when she was leaving. That gave her the green light she was waiting for.
Once Jane got the mounds of laundry out of the way, the expert gardener got to work in her yard—clearing out weeds, beautifying her flower beds, even building in a little time away with the hubby (Note: this woman wisely signed up her other son for sleep-away camp during the same time). With both kids away, the couple enjoyed a romantic weekend getaway without the highly orchestrated, detailed and complex schedule shuffling of children typically required to make even a short ‘adult-only’ trip happen.
Jane seemed to accomplish just about everything a gal could want to do in her free time. In addition to alone time with hubby and getting the house and garden in order, she caught up with old friends and stopped at historic monuments when she was on the road because there was no one in the back seat protesting. But she still wanted to squeeze in more. “You get real idealistic about all the things you want to do when they’re away, but there’s never enough time,” she said.