Late Friday night, I walked upstairs to find my two oldest children giggling in Rose’s bed. They were waiting patiently for her Cinderella alarm clock to strike midnight ushering in the official beginning of Spring Break. (There was a big debate in our house about when Spring Break really begins. We thought as soon as school was over. Rose declared it was at midnight because Friday was still a school day.)
The kids are obviously thrilled to be out of school for a week. They can’t wait to sleep in and are ecstatic about not having homework hanging over their heads each afternoon. They just want to ramble from house to yard without a schedule, without a plan and play for hours with whatever interests them.
I know my kids aren’t alone. Across the country, school-age children look forward to their Spring Breaks, but what about their parents? Is spring break really fun or just a logistically nightmare for parents?
Stay-at-home parents have a bunch more little people hanging around messing up the house, expecting to go fun places and interfering with their normal routines.
For parents who work outside the home, they’ve either got to take vacation days, put the kids in daycare or find friends or family who can babysit. And often the whole family still has to get up just as early as normal.
I phoned and emailed friends to find out how they are handling Spring Break. Some are more prepared than others, and some have jobs that lend themselves to enjoying the break with their kids.
While I was getting my hair cut last week, I asked my stylist, who owns the salon, how she was feeling about the break. She frowned when she answered and was downright aggravated by it. Her son’s preschool closes down just like the big school and her middle school-age daughter is not old enough to watch her little guy all day. She’s hoping her mother will help out some, but she hadn’t asked yet. I think she’s hoping to catch her off guard and make her mom feel sorry for her.
Another working mom friend, who is a human resource executive, said they usually have to use a daycare during breaks, but this year they are sending all three kids to stay with their grandparents in Mississippi. The kids seemed thrilled about spending all that special time with their grandmother, and I think my friend and her husband may actually get a real break too! Even though they still have to work, coming home to an empty house when you’re used to three kids is pretty heavenly.
The other friend I talked to is an interesting case. She lives in Augusta, and they generally rent out their house every Spring Break to people in town for the Masters Tournament. So even though she works, she almost always takes vacation that week because they literally have to vacate their house. They’re taking their three kids to the beach for the week. She added at the end of her email that she worries much more about finding a full-time sitter each summer to keep the kids happy and occupied!
The last friend I emailed about Spring Break is a high school teacher. Her reply was simple and succinct: “One of the major reasons that I selected teaching as my profession is the shared time off with my kids… summers, Christmas break, Spring Break. I LIVE FOR AND LOVE SPRING BREAK!! : )” I believe this mom is just as excited as her child about Spring Break.
How do you feel about Spring Break? Is it as much fun for the parents as for the kids? Do you normally take vacation? Do you use a daycare provider or sitters? Do you have family and friends that help out? How do you plan to keep them occupied for a week?