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Working mommas with older kids - how do you handle Summer?

803 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  dessismama
In October I found a WONDERFUL job outside the home. They actually let me PICK my hours around my kid's school schedule. I drop them off - go work 6 hours and leave in time to pick them up from school. Although I miss volunteering at the kid's school, I LOVE my job! The pay is fantastic and they've been great about sick kids and such.

So, now summer is creeping up. I thought I would put my 2 kids (age 8 and 10) in some cool summer camp a few days a week and my neighbor offered to watch them 3 days a week - perfect, right? WRONG!

All the camps I've checked out (and I've check out EVERYTHING locally from community to YMCA) want a commitment of 3+ days a week. They are only 9:00 - 3:00, so I don't even have lunch or drive time, unless I use there after camp program that charges $20 a day per child for 1 extra hour. The camps have anywhere from $25 - $80 one time registration fees per child and charge about $160 for 3 days, per child. My neighbor charges $40 a day. At that rate I'm paying;

$160 for 3 days x 2 kids = $320 a week (for summer camp)
$20 for 3 days x 2 kids = $120 a week (for the extra hour latchkey)
$40 a day for 2 days = $80 a week (for my neighbor)

This is a total of $520 a week for me to work 30 hours - between the cost of gas and child care (my work is far from home) I'd be bringing home a very small amount - not really worth my while.
I've talked to the kid's friends mom's and I only have one family member who can help out 2 days a month. There are NO neighborhood kids I would trust and the one neighbor we all adore, I just can't ask her to watch them 5 days a week (she's 70 and I think it would be too much).

So, how does you mom's do it?
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My oldest attends the Y camp. Next year my dd will be going, too. I use the before and after care and he goes 5 days a week. It sounds like you are really only taking a financial hit for the 2 summer months. In the big picture it may still be worth it.
Our plan is to hire a high school or college kid. Do you happen to live near a college campus?
I work two days a week, and every other weekend, so for me, its not so bad.

On those weeks that i am working my almost 16 yr old watches the 7 yr old, and even then, I leave for work close to 1pm and my husband tries to come home around 5:30pm on those days.

I am thinking about signing my 7 yr old up for camp at the Y those two days, because he will have more to do. But he loves being with his older brother too.

I would be hard pressed to come up with that kind of $$ MM. I have two friends that do, and have no idea how they do it.
I am a stay at home and have no experience to share, but I did think about the fact that Y's usally have financial help available - maybe that would help?

Good Luck!
Honestly, when I had to deal with this I made no money during the summer and just figured it as the cost of having a job. I used the before/after camp care at the Y day camp, and once I paid for it I made like $50 a week.

Now DH and I work separate shifts, and our local park has a program from 1-4 every day so he drops her off at the park and I pick her up, and that covers the gap. But day camp irks me--it's so expensive that I couldn't afford to send her if I didn't work, but of course the hours only work for SAHM's!

our local chain day care centers do have "summer camp" that is basically day care for older kids...I think it's like $200 a week per child. But I don't know if that would work for you, since it's still kind of day care.

Grrr....good luck.
Last summer I took a leave of absence for 12 weeks to take care of my kids. It was wonderful. But, at my place of employment, you can only do that once every five years.

So, this summer we are looking at:

DD (age 2) $800/mo daycare
DS (age 7) $880/mo (summer camp @ @220/wk)

Total: $1680/month. (!!)

For two months, (July and August) I will literally be making NO money. I am asking myself it is worth it and whether I am better off just quitting my job and staying home until DD enters kindergarten.

Any chance you could take a short leave of absence or vacation time for at least some of the summer?
Do you have any libraries near you that are even moderately sized?

Many libraries offer baby sitting clinics for teens to learn how to baby sit. They are CPR and infant CPR certified, as well as a bunch of other really important skills.

The youth/teen departments in these libraries often have lists of teens who have completed the programs and even referral programs. Maybe you could find someone that way?

Their rates are WAY more reasonable than day camp or summer care places.

Good luck.
Friends of ours had very good luck with a young girl in their neighborhood. She took the kids for walks, played games and eventually learned to drive. She sat for them for several years.
My high school had a job assistance officer. If your local high school has someone like that they can usually help you find a good sitter.
I struggle with this EVERY summer! It's so frustrating. Our town does a summer day camp rec program which isn't terrific, but is cheap. ($85/week). My son goes there (age almost 11). My 7 yr old daughter and the baby go to a home provider for total of $120 per week. I work 4 days, and about 30 hours. I give my son the option not to go the camp on my day off and depending on what they have planned he makes different choices each week.

Two years ago I started socking away money during the year to pay for summer care because otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford it within the timeframe it occurred.

I hope you can figure something out!!
WOW, you mamma's are the best

The hardest part, is that we live in a bad neighborhood. They do have a babysitting clinic, but I wasn't happy a few years ago when I interviews a few girls.

The Y is by far the most expensive that I've found so far. I'd really like to find a camp for 2 days a week, but I havn't found anything yet. I could use the Boys and Girls Club if my in-laws will watch them for an hour in the morning, then take them (it's right by their house and my work).

Right now we have it set up so the neighbor is watching them Tue, Wed, Thur. My sister will take them every other Friday and my husband get's the other Friday's off. This leaves Monday... But hey, yesterday I had nothing!

It's nice to know I'm not alone in this sturggle. Thanks again for your suggestions, it really is helpful.
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I find it interesting the Y camp is the most expensive. Here it is the exact opposite.
I know? Everyone keeps telling me to go to the Y camp and so far they're the most expensive. There's a Y walking distance to my work, so that would be ideal.
My DD is still little, so I have yet to be in that position. However, I am having to give up my DD's spot with her care provider for the summer--it will hopefully be open again in the fall! I'm a student and my financial aid doesn't cover summer. I did the math and to make it worth my while a summer job would have to be like $10/hr full time. No way do I want to be away from DD full time hours (or cope w/ commuting in the summer heat with no car in the desert, etc.). I do have a college student friend who will work for very little and who I would trust DD w/, if I decide to pick up a part time job. She works in the dorms during the school year so will be unemployed and trying to pay her rent over the summer.

When I was a kid and my mom worked, we were in daycare. Once I was ten (close to 11) I got to stay home alone while my sisters were in daycare. But I was in walking distance of the town pool (where I had a summer pass), friends' houses, and bicycle riding distance from my mom's work, where I would often park my bike to go to the library across the street from it. She worked in a print shop, and sometimes her boss would pay me five dollars to do some collating.

I was also in summer camps (sleep away) for a total of 2 weeks that summer--1 week at girl scout camp and one week at G/T camp. The G/T camp was in my town, the girl scout camp was half an hour away, and partly paid for with my cookie money from the preceding year. I may also have done girl scout day camp, I don't remember. If so, that was another week. And I may have gone to a VBS for a week.

By the following summer she'd had to stop working because of back probs and it wasn't an issue again.

Now everything is "day camps". Here the local university has a Kids Kollege day camp program, the Science Center and the Y's have day camps, and for lack of daytime volunteers and participants many Vacation Bible School programs are now done in the evenings.

I expect my DD will mostly go to "Camp Grandma" when needed. Then again, I'm planning on homeschooling, come Hel or high water...
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Our older child goes to the same home daycare that younger child goes to, on a part time basis now, and in the summer he'll be full-time.

A co-worker of mine just plunked down $4k for the summer of camps and other activities. I can't even imagine!
My two oldest ones go to a day camp through our Park and Rec deparment. It is quite nice and very cheap!!

I have friends who hire a college/high school student to babysit.

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