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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring break and working parents


Shortly after my first child entered public school I came to realize, the school calendar and most of our work schedules don't mesh. Teacher work days, early release and long breaks became a patchwork of childcare arrangements -- many of them costly. Now, with three kids in the school system, I gave up trying for coverage. I take vacation time every Spring Break.

I wonder how other working parents do it. For me, the economics of trying to work during Spring Break don't make sense. My part-time salary doesn't cover the cost of child care. Also, I want my kids to have some down time. Around me, my friends struggle with this too. I realize I am fortunate because of my employer's generous vacation policy. Some parents don't have a choice.

Increasingly, local kids are booked for camp, school trips, internships, sports tournaments and community service projects. For younger kids with working parents, it's day camp at local museums and attractions.

The result is that many kids yearn for unscheduled free time and many parents feel the pull between work and family. One single mom I know told me she will work a reduced schedule this week -- a good comprise. To read the Miami Herald's article on Spring Break, click here.

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