If you’re old enough, you can remember the old Enjoli perfume marketing jingle, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never let you forget you’re a man, ‘cause I’m a woman!” The 1970s marketing campaign that emphasized the strength and beauty of the working woman has well outlasted even the popularity of the product it was touting!
According to research conducted by Catalyst, from 1976 to 1996, 83 percent of new mothers returning to the labor force within 6 months after childbirth. How do we do it all? Is there a wonder woman inside of all of us just waiting to be unleashed? Somehow, we manage.
In my experience, just about the time a working mom feels that she has at last achieved an equilibrium in her routine, kindergarten peeks out like a mischievous child. A new routine is born.
Tears flow down with one final glance at the backpack you purchased with love. Strapped to the child you seemed to give life to just yesterday, you watch it disappear into the crowd, knowing that the first day of school is one of many times your heart will break as a mother. You quickly run a tissue across your cheeks, for there is no time to waste. Your job awaits and for Heaven’s sake you forgot to use the waterproof mascara!
After 54 days at school, you suddenly realize that you’ve settled in to a new phase of life. You are on autopilot. “Isn’t it great to buy new clothes with the money I’m not paying the daycare?” You smugly tell yourself as you look at your reflection in the rearview mirror. “I love school!”
Then, Summer comes. School goes away, but your job doesn’t. You are inwardly removed from your Wonder Woman throne. Your confidence is tested again. You question your decision to remain in the workplace, but either enjoy the vocation too much to quit or simply can’t afford to live without your income. What’s a woman to do?
First, don’t panic. Remind yourself that lots of women do this every day. There is a solution for you. Second, get yourself ready to do a little research. That’s all it takes to find the right fit for your family. And third, have a piece of chocolate. That always seems to help.
Here are all my hot tips on summer childcare:
1.) Summer School. Many schools will offer a summer program to children that includes educational, fun-filled activities to keep students reading or socializing while you are away earning the dough. Check with the communications office of your local school district to see if your child's school has a summer program.