Two years ago, when the children were home from school for the summer; I increased my freelance writing and communications work, as well as worked to sell one house, buy another and move... and did not hire adequate childcare.
Last summer, I found myself working at least 28 hours per week as an editor and writer... and did not arrange enough babysitting coverage.
This summer I had a newborn at home, as well as her two older siblings, and I committed to a few hours each day of freelance work.
So what did I do? Did I finally wise up and sign the big kids up for camps, or track down a lovely nanny to assist our family?
Nah, I followed my typical insane pattern, declared that this summer was my "maternity leave" with only a few hours per day of working, and I did not hire any help.
Now, please do not worry that my children were left to run amok through the streets or parked in front of the television all day as I tapped-tapped-tapped on the laptop, oblivious to their cries for food, water and love.
I promise I provided a fun, stimulating, summery summer for my children. They participated in our neighborhood's swim team, our church's vacation Bible school, and almost every day were treated to a playdate and or a fun field trip in the community.
I just fit in the work at the expense of my own sleep at night, or personal time on weekends and evenings. I usually typed these columns and other writing submissions with one hand while breastfeeding the baby with the other. (Alice says "hi").
It took a good deal of juggling, but I think the keeping-the-balls in the air stress was worth getting to spend oodles of time with the kids this summer.
However, that stress level is now wearing thin. So, while I am thankful for our camp-less, nanny-less, very-heavy-on-the-family-time summer; I am even more thankful that school is starting in less than one week.
And you know who else I am thankful for?
TEACHERS. I am more than happy to relinquish my two oldest into their very capable hands on Monday.
Jessica McFadden is a parent in Silver Spring who writes the aptly-named website for parents, A Parent in Silver Spring.