Mommy A to Z

Motherhood, Alphabetized.

C is for . . . Camp (Or, My Love/Hate Relationship with Summer)


Like a lot of moms, by the end of the school year, I was getting a little impatient. I was tired of trying to pass off raisins as “nature’s candy” every time I stuffed them into my daughter’s lunch bag, much to her chagrin. I was bored of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was fed up with the letters X, Y, and Z, who had the audacity to arrive late to the alphabet party, expecting to be admired like their predecessors who had shown up when I still had energy to fuss over them. I was ready for summer.

That said, once camp arrived, I remembered everything that slowly wore on my patience last summer. For the record, here is a completely objective, factually accurate list of the pros and cons of summer camp.

Pro: No packing a lunch. Yes, it’s a mindless activity that only takes five minutes every morning — or would only take five minutes, if I weren’t constantly interrupted by pleas of “Mommy, I need more yogurt!” and “Da da da da da!” (The little one is still learning how to properly goad Mommy.) But when you perform the same monotonous task every single morning, over the course of months, you begin to feel like you’re trapped in Groundhog Day, reliving the same turkey and cheese sandwich, which may or may not be covertly plotting your demise from its tin-foil packaging. It’s a slippery slope from sliced deli meat to involuntary institutionalization.

Con: Child arrives home from camp hungry every day. And not just hungry, but “I’ve been running through a sprinkler and bouncing on a trampoline for three straight hours” hungry. There’s nothing like a full morning of camp to transform your nice, civilized kitchen into an episode of Survivor.

Pro: Your kid can wear a bathing suit every day! That means less laundry, right?

Con: Wrong. Unless your kid has a secret career as a swimsuit model, there’s no way she has enough bathing suits to get through the week (or even the first couple of days). You can look forward to hand-washing wet and/or paint-covered bathing suits pretty much every night (and don’t even get me started on the towels…)

Pro: Many camps (like my daughter’s) are only half-day — lots of extra time with the kids!

Con: Many camps (like my daughter’s) are only half-day — lots of extra time with the kids. I’m wondering how often Mommy can pass off going to the bank as an “outing.”

Ultimately, the school-versus-camp debate is a draw. The real “pro” is how much my daughter loves making new friends, racing down waterslides, and, best of all (to her, at least), taking a well-deserved break from the school bus. But like all things, even the novelty of camp eventually wears thin. Come August, she’ll be tired of swimming pools and ice pops, and begin looking forward to raisins and construction-paper ABCs. And Mommy, who once lamented these (excessively) short camp days, will begin to dread the arrival of that big, yellow bus, come to take “baby” away. Because, no matter how long these summer days get, I know I’m blessed to spend them with my favorite little camper — paint-covered bathing suits and all.

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  1. While I do not have a child in camp, you made a lot of good points. You want to have some free time, and less chores but that’s never how it ends :)

  2. While I don’t have a child in camp, you made some good points. You want your free time, and less chores, but that never seems to happen :)

  3. i don’t have a child in camp either – but all the memories i have of going to camp as a kid…. 😀

  4. As a child, I loved when I got to go to girl’s camp which was an all 5 day outing. I’m sure my mother loved having the house quiet for those 5 days.

  5. I have never been to camp nor have I ever had a child in one. I’m sure they would absolutely love it though! :)

  6. My kids stayed with me all day long during summer break, no camp whatsoever, it gets tiring sometimes but that’s what mommyhood is right?

  7. My kids camp does not start until next week.. They are so bored.. i cannot wait to drop them off.

  8. When I was a kid, I went to a day camp. It was something like 9-2, but it was because my mom worked. Now that I have my own kids, I am home, so I hate to spend the money on camp when I am right here and want to spend time with them. You know?

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever been to camp as a kid and I certainly don’t have a child at the moment but I think I can consider camp as an idea for the future. :)

  10. We avoided camp this year – my eldest is joining my youngest at her daycare for the summer. She’s just four, so I know this stage is coming though.

    That said – we just finished kindergarten, so I’m still pretty excited about not having to make a lunch every day and not having to rush out to make school bus pick-up. Our mornings just got way more leisurely!

    This is my first visit to your blog – so happy I found you! I think I may check out your hop later tonight once the kids are in bed.

  11. I swear swimming laundry piles up faster than regular laundry.

  12. Swimsuits and towels do pose laundry dilemmas. :) Of course you have to wash the suits, and of course the kids can’t wear them wet (I wouldn’t), so having plenty on hand if there’s camp is a must. :)

  13. I homeschool, but I can relate because this was my former life, even if for only 1.5 school years. I still enroll the girls in Summer Camp, just because they have so many good ones out there and they meet so many friends and learn so much of what they love to do.

  14. This sounds fun!! For the kid I mean, haha

  15. I don’t have a child in camp but I loved going to camp Echo in school :)

  16. For some reason I think of camp as staying overnight for several days. I did send my kids to a YMCA camp and each week was a different theme. The plus was that they fed the kids for me and it was for the entire day…yay!

  17. Too funny. My kids don’t do camp (yet), but this was still a fun read.

  18. Haha. My daughter goes to a pseudo-camp. She attends a program after school for children with special needs and during the summer she attends all day. They work on independent living skills, social skills, etc. and she loves that they have water play/swimming once a week. WAY more laundry, lunches and exhaustion. LOL

    When she is older, she will attend an epilepsy camp hosted by her neurologist.

  19. I never sent my daughter to camp. I had the luxury of having a husband who was off during the summers. So, we packed up the car and took long vacations with our daughter or just went on picnics and outings. I loved those summers, but when the fall came I was ready to pack her off to school. I was exhausted!

  20. Totally relate with the wet suit dilemma. My son is swimming everyday for the past three weeks and i hate hate that his bathroom smells so damp from hanging his swimming trunks. It takes days for them to dry as you cannot have them under direct sunlight. ugh

  21. I have to admit I am lucky my two older girls (12 and 9) are very independent so during the school year they pack their own lunches, gym clothes, get dressed, walk to the school bus etc etc. During the summer my 9 year old goes to my dad and stepmoms for the whole summer as she is very close to them and we live about an hour and a half away so during the school year she doesn’t see them often. My oldest (12) works during the summer (no no not slave labor haha) my partners family owns a produce store (small/independent) and she has for the last 2 summers and this one worked about 3 days a week there. She also goes to tutoring two days a week so really nothing changes for me in respect to school vs summer I have to make dinner and take care of the baby (6 months old) and blog :)

    • Wow, you have your summers all set! I’m jealous! It’s always a scramble here filling the summer days. This year we decided to enroll my oldest in like 4 different camps, from science camp to dance camp, so she can have different experiences, and I’m barely keeping track of it all. One day hopefully I’ll have it down to a system like you! Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Awe, what a sweet post. lol @ ‘nature’s candy’. My parents used to trick me into thinking that Ritz crackers were cookies when I was a kid. Washing a boatload of towels is the worst!

  23. super cute and sweet!! love your writing meredith! happy summer days to you!

  24. Oh boy. Is this what I have to look forward to? Camp will be about three years down the road for us, but I’m taking notes :)

  25. I am the director of a YMCA child care facility. The school age class is having summer camp. The kids are loving it but us adults are about worn out already!

  26. I wish there was a camp around where I live. The kids are going to be driving me potty though the summer holidays

    • No camps where you are? It’s a whole competitive industry around here. Next week my daughter goes to a camp where they are building robots. Should be interesting! Hope you find lots of fun stuff to do :) Thanks for stopping by!

  27. Pingback: As seen around the blog-i-verse | Life As A Convert

  28. I’m SO happy that I’m NOT packing lunches too. I know it sounds weird considering I’m still making 3 lunches daily but I’m doing it on my time. The kids & I are enjoying relaxing this summer we needed it. Happy Summer!

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