My youngest hesitated a moment before informing me solemnly, “I like daddy camp better than mommy camp.” Ouch! Here are my confessions from mommy camp.
She had recently spent a glorious week with her on-vacation-from-a-real-job dad. They followed the schedule she carefully worked out and colour coded. Swimming on Monday. Movie on Tuesday. Bowling on Wednesday. And so on. Full time fun with no eye on the clock.
Then she had a week with her just-moved-into-a-new-office-entrepreneur mom. The schedule changed daily depending on what staff needed, what emails came in that I had to deal with, and what part was missing from the Ikea furniture I was assembling. Not exactly an ideal week for either of us.
I did try to make it fun for her. We had lunch at her favourite Indian restaurant one day. She had a stack of fresh books to read. I gave her art supplies and a huge box to make a fort. I thought we were doing well until Thursday morning, when she patiently waited for me to finish yet another phone call, sighed deeply, and proclaimed her preference for daddy camp.
The fact is that I find it very hard to have a proper summer vacation. I’ll enjoy a weekend, or a mid-week day at the beach when the weather is right. But I rarely switch off for a whole week in the summer. Part of this is because my office staff need their summer vacation, and someone needs to be around to manage the business. Part of this is because I feel guilty for being off for a stretch of time. It’s a lot of work to be gone for a week or two, and I hate the tall pile of stuff to deal with when I return. I prefer the one and two day getaways, scheduled according to the weather report. Note that I don’t feel like this if I’m travelling somewhere interesting. Perhaps it’s because the work involved to be away is well worth the experience of visiting a new place. May be it is just that as an entrepreneur, I need the distance of getting out of Ottawa to be able to switch off and feel that I am on vacation.
Back to mommy camp. I told my youngest daughter that I understood that she had more fun during her week with her dad. She seemed to appreciate that I wasn’t upset about what she told me. I explained to her that we were not really having a vacation week together, but that she was just tagging along while I went about my week. I promised her that I would take a few days off so that we could do fun things together as a family – like go to the waterpark. That appeased her. Or maybe she cheered up knowing that mommy camp was almost over, and she was headed to swim camp next.