Regretting My Summer

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.

IMG_5570

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.

IMG_5697

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?

IMG_5674

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.

IMG_5700

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?!?!

IMG_5703

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.

And regret.

Just what every mother loves…

Related posts

10 Thoughts to “Regretting My Summer”

  1. JoDee

    Long-time reader, second time commenter (i think 2nd time)…

    I had two parents who owned their own businesses and remember complaining as a child that we didn’t get to do any of the fun summer things that my friends go to do. Instead my brother and I built our own treehouse, read books, looked for cool rocks/bugs, and played Oregon Trail on the computer. And we also did small jobs for our parents. We thought we were so deprived!

    Today I know that I’m successful personally and professionally because I saw how hard my parents worked to build businesses they loved (that weren’t always success by the way) and supported our family. I was always amazed at kids who couldn’t tell me what their parents did because I was an eyewitness to my parents’ jobs and their passion for their profession.

    So long way of saying that you are a great parent who is setting a great example for your kids. And some day they’ll thank you for it. And kudos for having the guts to see a problem, figure out the solution and actual launch a product!

    And some mom guilt is always a good thing because it keeps you honest in having at least some work/life balance (hence why you pulled back for a few weeks). We did a two week trip out west to Yellowstone early in the summer. For the first time ever I deleted email from my phone because I felt so guilty about how much I’d been working. It was great for everyone, including me.

    1. Katie

      I don’t think you know how much this means to me. Thank you for sharing. It lightened my load this morning. xoxo

  2. Mandy

    What a great comment from JoDee!

    While it may feel like you’re letting your kids down, I would tend to think your kids may not feel as strongly about that as your mom guilt is implying. 🙂 Honestly, as I read your post, I didn’t see anything about complaints from the kids! It sounded more like you have regrets how the summer was spent, and it’s totally ok for you to feel like that, but I do hope you won’t beat yourself up over it.

    Would it help to talk to the kids about it? If it were me, and if I could carve out some free time, I would probably say to my kids something along the lines of, “I know I have been busy working on _____ a lot lately. This project is really important to me/to our family because of xyz, but it does take some time away from our family too. I really appreciate how well you have been working together/playing/cooperating/being helpful, and I am proud of how much you are growing as a person. Why don’t we take some time to do something fun together?” Then let the kiddos pick what they’d like to do.

    So you may be bribing them a little, but you’re also teaching them that keeping a work/life balance can be really hard, and that sometimes it’s important to step back, take a look, and actively make time for those things that are important to you, but haven’t been fitting into your schedule like they normally would.

    Hang in there, Katie! You are a great mama, and even though you may not feel like it, I am sure you are handling all of this really well with your kids. I am always impressed at what a great parent you are.

    1. Katie

      That is a really great idea! I’m going to do that before they go to bed tonight! I think I’ll feel better if they know that I noticed, too. Thanks so much for your kind comments! xoxo

  3. Erin

    I intended to write an encouraging comment to you, but then I read the two comments already here and thought, woh, well said and Amen. So I’ll still comment, but mine is more along the lines of, WHAAATT?!?! You took your little kiddos on an amazing adventure to Key West, where you took them snorkeling, swimming, and exploring. With your beads, you taught them the value of saving in order to get something they really want, and with the hamster, they pooled their resources and bought their new pet TOGETHER. They are not even my kids, and I was so proud of them. And I was proud of you for how you handled that.

    As the wise commenters above me mentioned, mom guilt is normal and a little of it is healthy. But also remember that you are building something (Classmax) that is not only for your fellow teachers, but it is inherently for your children. You should be proud of that.

    As always, I love following your blog and talk about my “imaginary friend, Katie,” to my husband all the time.

    1. Katie

      Thank you so much, Erin! I’m learning to give myself some grace. Thanks for showing me how. 🙂

  4. Anna

    As a working mom, I totally get where you are coming from. That being said, I’m sure you spent a great deal of time with your kiddos, especially on your awesome trip to Key West and to visit your sis in Atlanta. Your kids will benefit from seeing you work hard on a project you care about. And their independence is a bonus for everyone. 🙂

  5. You know what I love about reading that post? I love that my business partners are as passionate about their family as they are about our business. We have been working all hours of the day and night together, and that’s why I’ve never even once thought “is this going to work?” I know it’s going to be successful, because we are helping TEACHERS get back some of the time we’ve forfeited to get ClassMax ready. Saving time means more time for family, less time for paperwork and reporting, and that makes me happy. Keep your head up, Katie. Bean and Gracie are proud of both of you guys!

  6. Sonya

    I am feeling the same way right now about my summer and I don’t have kids. I did really good at the beginning checking things off my list. Then mid-July I got in a funk. And now my list won’t be complete and it’s stressing me out! I guess it will still be there next year. But I do feel like I did a lot more reading than usual so that’s a good thing.

  7. You should listen to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique podcast. She talks a lot about Mom Guilt. 🙂

Leave a Comment