Summer Life Savers for Working Mums

Flea has 9 weeks summer holiday. Yep. Nine weeks.

I’ll just let that sink in for you.

Nine weeks of holiday is great if you’re six, but if you’re a self-employed, single parent, well – to be frank – it sucks. Big Time.

So, we’re six weeks in to the summer hols and I’m so frazzled you could put me in a packet and flavour me with bacon. I just don’t know how I’m going to do everything I need to do!

We have a solution, though. I get up and work early in the morning, then I go back to work when Flea’s asleep, and I work until I am on the verge of falling asleep on the desk, at which point I crawl into bed.

You’ll note I didn’t say it was a GREAT solution.

So thank heavens for two great things this summer.

First, the smartphone. What did we do before those? Mine was stolen in the burglary, but I’ve been loaned an Orange  Intel San Diego smartphone, which means I can keep an eye on emails and reply to urgent queries while I’m out and about with Flea. I do try very hard not to be one of those absent-but-present parents who is constantly staring at a screen – but I do check my messages when I get a moment through the day.

My second life-saver this summer has been King’s Camps. These are activity day camps for kids aged 5+ with more specialised camps for football and other sports. The camps happen at schools and other venues around the UK and offer full, supervised activities from around 8.30am to 5.30pm at a cost of around £35 per day.

We’ve used Kings Camps in the past, and had great experiences, so I was really pleased that this year we were invited to review the camp. We chose one local to us, which worked out brilliantly – Flea knew half a dozen of the kids on the same camp, so she had ready-made friends. In previous years, she’s been the only kid from her class, though, and has still had loads of fun, so I don’t think it’s essential for children to know people at the camp.

For working parents, King’s Camps are a great option – you can drop children off from 8.30am and collect them any time between 4pm and 5.45pm (or you can book half days for younger children). During the week, kids get a great combination of sport, drama, craft activities and competitive games. This was Flea’s first year of doing full days and she absolutely loved it. For starters, she was allowed to take a packed lunch which – for a child who goes to a school with compulsory hot lunches – was an adventure of unimaginable awesomeness.

Full reports are hard to come by, but from what I can tell there were Olympic themed crafts, a fundraising disco, a cake sale, football, rounders, Red Rover, Stuck in the Mud, tennis, and a day devoted to a group water fight. The staff at our local camp were brilliant with the children, and great at small details – offering sun cream to the children on hot days, remembering to pick up dropped coats and water bottles, and generally making things fun for the children.

As a Mum, I thought potentially Kings Camp would be a long day, but Flea was so occupied that she was happy and entertained throughout, and it was nice to know she got lots of fresh air and the opportunity to run around on days when I was tethered to the computer. I was reassured by the safety protocols at the camp, too – when you drop your child off, you’re given a code with a unique number on it, and someone can only collect a child if they provide that number to the staff. You also have to leave three contact details, so I felt confident that if something DID go wrong and Flea was upset, someone would be contacted to go and fetch her.

As a six-year-old, Flea flat out adored Kings Camp. And here, in 100 seconds, is her King’s Camp review:

Flea’s Review of Kings Camp summer camp for Who’s the Mummy? from MAD Blog Awards on Vimeo.

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