My kids are at camp. I should be rejoicing in my re found freedom by going to spontaneous movies, re connecting with my husband and eating cereal for dinner. Instead I am wandering around the house feeling like an imposter. My brain chatter goes like this, “Mother. You call yourself a mother? But where are your kids? Did you just dream you have been a mother for the past 14 years? There is no letter in the mail box again today. Have their hands been eaten off by wild bears? Why aren’t they writing? THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT ME.”
Long summer camps weren’t a part of my growing up experience. Minnesota in the 1970’s meant hanging out at home with the neighborhood kids watching countless episodes of Gilligan’s Island, playing card games and endless rounds of jacks, and swimming in a different lake every day…10,000 of them, ya know. I did go to a week long Methodist bible camp one year and the next year an Episcopal one on Cass Lake, but nothing like the 8 weeks my husband was shipped off to in Vermont. The only people I knew who went to camp for 8 weeks were kids who had drug problems or their parents didn’t love them.
But somewhere along the line I was converted. Moving to the east coast was a big part of it. Everybody I know in Boston seems to have had these life changing experiences that they attribute to summer camp. My husband, thanks to Camp Killoleet in Vermont, knows the words to every Pete Seager song and has a long standing love of biking. Other friends have life long skills in knot tying, theater and sailing. So off go my 14 year old for 3 weeks and my 9 year old for 4 weeks. And I am left. A good run through for when they leave for college, I tell myself.
Here are the tricks I am using to get through:
- Kids Room Clean Out: They aren’t around to tell me not to throw away every last candy wrapper and arm to a long gone bionicle or doll. Makes me feel better touching their stuff.
- Emailing family members with their addresses at camp to make sure they are getting some snail mail other than my letters.
- Sending a weekly package. Cheap silly stuff in a mailing envelope. Makes me feel better feeling I am doing something for them while they are gone.
With these three things done I am now feeling like I have the “Good Mom” thing covered so I can move on to enjoying my time sans enfants, such as:
- Spontaneous get togethers with friends…hey, I am enjoying playing! So fun to call a friend at 4 pm for a rendez vous for a drink at 7 pm.
- Getting in shape. Without kids around I am not eating the ice cream or the little bits of food left on their plates. Plus I can do the evening gym classes and long walks.
- Reconnecting with my husband, in the middle of the week no less. Going to an R-rated 7pm movie on a Wednesday.
- 4. Ethnic food. My kids hate it. I love it. Middle Eastern, Indian and Vietnamese here I come.
This isn’t so much about being homesick for my kids, I know they are having a great time (alright, I did call the Camp Director to confirm everything was fine) it is about me remembering who I was before kids, regrouping and getting ready to hit the ground running because they come home in 3 days…and I can’t wait to see them!
Wendy Swart Grossman, pond swimmer, guitar player, bike rider and mother of two red-headed boys has just published her hilarious book Behind the Wheel: A mother’s journal of a year on the road about her family’s life traveling 28,000 miles while home schooling in a 29’ Winnebago RV. What was she thinking? Available on kindle or paperback at amazon.com and on the nook at barnesandnoble.com. Check out her family website at familyadventureyear.com.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.