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A Week of Summer Camp: Using the Time Wisely

One Lutherville mom feels guilty when her brief kid-free time isn't spent shampooing the carpets.

I made a friend of mine jealous today when I ran into her in the checkout line at Target. She was with her daughter and asked where my kids were.

“They’re all at camp this week,” I gloated and then waited for her to tell me that she was envious.

She did, but my self-satisfaction was short lived.

For one thing, my house feels creepy when it’s this quiet. Even my dog is jumpy. For another, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get all kinds of huge tasks completed when my kids are gone for several hours a day. As I write this, a brand-new carpet steamer/cleaner thing (total impulse-buy at Kohl’s) is silently chiding me from the corner of my room for not even reading the instruction manual yet. Time is ticking.

But the biggest reason I can’t let myself just relax and enjoy the mommy alone-time is because of how much it’s costing me.

Ever wonder how much it costs to put three kids in a week of day camp? At least $600, and that’s probably a conservative estimate. Except for church-run camps, it’s tough to find ones that cost less than $250 a week per kid.

No wonder I put pressure on myself to use the time wisely!

And no wonder so many of my friends have said no to camp this year. I admire them for their frugality and ability to stay sane during the dog days of summer.

I need to figure out their secrets.

I’m lucky that I don’t work during the summer so I don’t have to pay to put my kids in camp for weeks at a time. But, I also value my sanity and think camp can be a good enrichment experience for them. So, every winter I start researching, planning and budgeting.

This summer my kids will do two separate weeks of camps. Right now my daughters are in drama camp at a Lutherville church. They come home happy every afternoon and practice the songs they’ll sing in the play at the end of the week. My son is in baseball camp, happily working on his skills.

I know it’s money well spent. I just need to make sure I make the most of it. The new carpet cleaner is calling.

Julie July 06, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Just say NO to the carpet cleaner!! You need time to recharge your batteries, just like the kids need time to unwind after a long year at school. Or at least, that's the excuse I use for blowing off my own house projects. :)
Steve Bauer July 06, 2011 at 04:15 PM
What is the name of the drama camp in Lutherville and which church?
Sarah Edell July 07, 2011 at 04:49 AM
We need to discuss carpet cleaners as impulse buys. Anything from the vacuum aisle just cannot qualify as impulse. Maybe compulse. Return it, pay a service, then send yourself to "mani pedi camp".
jenny atwater July 07, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Hi Steve, It's simply called "Drama Camp" and it's at Grace Lutheran Church on Valleyfield Road. It's not advertised, but you can call or stop by the church office for details. It's a great, affordable camp. My daughters love it.
jenny atwater July 07, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Indeed it is a "compulse". I finally got around to using it yesterday and the thing is a beast. But, the carpet in the girls' room has been cleaned for the first time in six years. :)
Joanna Franklin Bell July 07, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Jenny, you're still free tomorrow, right? Come do mine! ;)

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