MADISON, NJ - July 26 marked exactly 42 days since the fifth grade “moving up” ceremonies at each of Madison’s elementary schools and 42 days until the first day of school. In recognition of this milestone, I -- on behalf of TAPinto Madison -- left the comfort of my air conditioned home, slathered on some sunscreen and sacrificed my hair to ungodly high humidity levels to explore how parents and kids feel about reaching the official halfway point of summer.
Generally speaking, most of the kids interviewed weren’t exactly happy to hear that summer was halfway over. “It feels like we graduated a week ago!” said a rising sixth grader. “The best part of summer is not being in school,” said another. “I hate homework,” said a rising fourth grader.
Not surprisingly, many parents took the opposite view and were relieved to hear that there are only 42 days left of entertaining multiple kids and their friends of varying ages for hours on end, and also driving them in 27 different directions every 3-4 hours.
“While I love summer break for me personally, Holy Cow is it difficult being home 24/7 with my kid! We definitely benefit from a daily routine, structure and time apart,” said a mom of a rising sixth grader. Another sixth grade mom said the most challenging part of summer is “prying the PS4 controller out of my kids’ hands to do some reading.” A working mom shared how she isn’t looking forward to the annual child care juggle during the last two weeks of August when most summer camps are over.
Still others -- if you can believe it -- admitted they actually like having their kids home for summer. I was certain one poor woman I interviewed was experiencing the effects of heat stroke, so I made sure she sat down in the shade with some ice water before she continued.
“It’s true! I love the relaxed summer vibe and wish it could last all year!,” she said. “Now that my son is going off to college, I see how fast the time has gone and try to make the most of each day that I have everyone home.”
Incredibly, other parents echoed a similar sentiment. “I love having no schedule and getting to sleep late every day,” said one mother. “I am not looking forward to packing lunches again,” said a mom of a rising fourth grader, and another parent was worried about her daughter entering the junior school and all of the uncertainties that come with such a transition.
I have to admit, these parents have a point. Also, I found that this cohort was larger than I first anticipated. In fact, I would say that the groups are pretty even, with 50 percent being pro-school and 50 percent being pro-summer. Determined to break the tie, I sent an email to another parent, but I never heard back. I’m thinking that he either sustained a serious hand injury prying a PS4 controller out of his kids’ hands, or is simply too busy entertaining multiple kids and their friends of varying ages for hours on end and also driving them in 27 different directions every 3-4 hours.