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What are your kids doing for the summer?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Other moms keep asking me this question and I’m like, um, chasing fireflies? Making s’mores? Running through sprinklers? Collecting shells at the beach? Eating too many ice cream cones because the $&!@# ice cream man goes by my house 12 times a day? I don’t know. What these other perfectly well-intentioned mothers mean, of course, is am I putting my kids in camp or other fun summery programs that abound out here. And if so, what camp/program, and how many days, and how many hours, etc. etc. etc. Why does this question bother me? Because I just hadn’t thought about it and having to think about it now—when summer is practically here—makes me feel like a bad mom. Sort of…


I’ve been really busy lately so it’s amazing there’s even food in the fridge (actually, there’s just a dying cucumber, baby spinach, eggs and a few yogurts so perhaps I shouldn’t brag). But I also didn’t think I had to plan something for my kids this summer. They’re so young and I’m not a mom who schedules a whole lot of stuff (this is not because I’m a free range parent, it’s because I’m lazy). Alex’s school has a summer “camp” program and while it’s certainly nothing magical (i.e., he’ll be splashing in plastic water tables not kayaking on a lake), he’s also three. And Nora? Well, despite the fact that she thinks she’s five (her new trick: hitting Alex over the head with her sippy cup then laughing maniacally saying, “funny! funny!”), she’s only 16 months old. She can hang at home this summer. That said I do need to enroll her in a class or two stat—the poor kid doesn’t get out much and when she does, she’s so happy she can’t stop shrieking (the dry cleaner is like Disney World to her).


I definitely plan on slowing my workload so I can spend more time just chilling in the backyard with the kids (in my dream world where my kids chill.) My hope is to send Alex to “camp” only three days a week so we can have playdates and home time and visit friends and maybe even get away a bit. I’m lucky that I have that flexibility. And Nick is pretty flexible too. And I just know that even with no formal kid plans we’re going to be just fine. To be honest, our summers are pretty awesome as is. We’re at my parents’ or sister’s house a ton swimming in their pools, we go out on the boat, we barbecue, we eat outside, we go out east, the kids get muddy and sandy and chloriney and hosed off instead of bathed. That’s how my summers were as a kid (add in riding bikes till dusk and it’s an exact replica). Can that be enough at least for one more summer? There’s a great little day camp on the beach I want to send Alex to next year when he’s four, but for now I think we’ll just go freestyle.


So, what are your kids doing this summer? At what age did you start sending them to camp? Are you super structured with summer or more laissez faire? I suppose all of this depends on whether you’re a SAHM or working mom. Do tell!