I love teaching and I would do it whether we had summers off or not, but I do love having that time every year with my kids. Summers have always been my favorite time of year. I love the beach. I love the pool. I love lazy mornings and late nights. I love leaving the house to run one or two errands and finding ourselves out all day long just on a whim. And I’ve always been pretty good at summering. For as schedule-driven as I am during the school year, I am much more spontaneous during the summer. I love boogie boarding with the kids at the beach, and I’m always down for an ice cream run.
But this summer has gotten away from me and as I sit here looking at preplanning on my calendar next week, I have this awful weight of regret. We only went to the beach, like, twice. We were hardly in the pool at all. We didn’t have any families over for cook outs or dinners or anything. I mean, we basically did NOTHING. I think back over the summer and I really feel like I let my kids down. Like, a lot. We did very little adventuring. Most days we were together, I was on the computer working on ClassMax or school things. When we were out together, I feel like I had my phone in my face the whole time. And more often than not, the kids were left to play with each other by themselves for most of the summer.
There are some advantages to that. Bean and Gracie continue to be incredibly close and they have been like a little pack of puppies together this summer, constantly wrestling and playing and getting into things together. And their independence has really grown. They can make breakfast for themselves, they can entertain themselves, they can read to themselves, they can help each other with things. And while that makes me really proud of them, I wonder how much of that independence was forced because I was too busy?
A lot of this is because of ClassMax. There is nothing easy about launching a start-up. Mine and Chris’s schedules are out of control right now. With our development team being in India, we have all kinds of odd working hours. We typically all “meet” virtually around 10:00 at night and Chris and our partner, Nick, set a list of priorities for the developers to accomplish over night. We stay up for a while, answering questions and checking in with the team, before all the Americans go to sleep. But we are up and back online with them at 7:30 the next morning, where we have another check in as their days are wrapping up. They brief us on what they’ve accomplished, what issues there are, what questions they have. And we work with them until about 10:30 or 11:00 our time. Then, the developers are off to sleep and our American team takes the reins. All day we are in the website looking for bugs and tweaking things like style. We make a huge punch list all day long as we go through the program and work through issues. Finally, we meet up again at 10:00 that night and start the entire process over again.
It is all-consuming – and I’m not even working full time! Chris and Nick still have full-time jobs they are doing on top of that load. And they are really leading the ClassMax development team more than me anyway. But even when we aren’t working on ClassMax, Chris and I are talking about it, thinking about it, planning for it. I’ve never been through a process as intense as this. And at the end of the day… WHO KNOWS IF IT WILL EVEN BE SUCCESSFUL?!?!
In the past few weeks, as summer has slowly slipped away, I have stepped back a little bit in order to spend time with the kids. I feel like in the rush of all this, they are the ones who have really missed out. I have tried to balance our work/home life for them with fun things, but I know that it really wasn’t enough. I shudder to think about how many hours they spend in front of screens this summer…
So, all in all, I’m basically feeling like a terrible parent right now. I had an entire summer that has always been FOR MY KIDS and I feel like I have missed out on so much with them.
Ugh. I have guilt.
Just what every mother loves…