Ahh . . . summer. Long, carefree days and tons of family time. It's the stuff of vacation commercials everywhere.
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Trouble is, it's not the reality for many American families. Sixty-three percent of families with kids under 18 at home have two working parents, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And it seems for some working parents, summer is the guiltiest season of all.
This feeling led Wentzville, Missouri, mom of three Megan Brammeier to post on her blog, and it's resonating with parents everywhere.
She wrote, in part, "The teachers are counting down, the students are hyping up, the pools are about to open and everyone’s ready for some good summer fun! Everyone except those of us who don’t get a break. We have been scrambling to find childcare coverage for the summer months, and overpaying for summer camps that look really fun to compensate for the guilt of not giving our kids a break for the summer. The daily grind to get up, ready and out the door is a 12-month marathon over here, and the faint tune of the ice cream truck on a Tuesday afternoon is all the gut-punch it takes to make my eyes swell with tears."
Brammeier, who works full time as a creative director for an advertising agency, told "Good Morning America" she was prompted to write the post "on a hard day." But, she said, "not all days are so hard."
"Everywhere I turned there was another reminder that summer is near, which doesn't mean much for us full time working parents," she said. "It is hard to be inside working when you know summer is made for playing outside and the most joyous season for kids."
The response to her post has been "overwhelming that other moms feel this way, too," she said.
Brammeier said she works for a company that "invites to bring our whole selves to work, so I don't separate 'mom' and 'work' life very much. I sometimes work during the evenings or weekends when my kids are around, and sometimes have my kids around if they are sick or whatever when I'm working. It all balances it out when you have the right support system, and give yourself a whole lot of grace."
Even with that positive work situation, summer is tough.
In her blog, Brammeier reminisces about her own childhood with her stay-at-home mom.
"I remember lazy mornings being able to bum around, and roaming the neighborhood until the street lights came on," she said.
But these days, "the daily hustle prevails."
Still, she's committed to making the most of the summer -- for her family, and for herself.
"This year, we will happily and as carefree-ly as possible continue to wake up, brush our teeth, brush our hairs, get dressed and head to school, daycare and camps with the joy of summer in our smiles, and the pang of monotony in our meltdowns," she wrote. "We will be grateful for jobs we love and extra thankful when the weekend rolls around. If you’re with me mama—your heart filled with a dash of sadness and the twinge of FOMO as summer quickly approaches—I really have nothing but this statement of solidarity. You are not alone, and we can do hard things.
"I wish you weeknights on the driveway, weekends at the pool and a margarita with your name on it every Friday at 5."