Summer time is more than popsicles and fireworks for academic folks. It’s the time to GET THINGS DONE. While seminars, conferences and teaching are at a lull, you have a great chance to write, think and focus without swarms of folks on campus.

For academics who are parents, this is not going to happen unless you plan for it now. (Now as in right now, yes, before the flowers have even bloomed.) Your kids are going to be in camps that, surprise, get out at 3 pm because apparently a full day of swimming and hanging out by a pool is exhausting. And those camps will want you to drop your kids off miles away from your regular work route and wash piles of muddy, slimy pool clothes every night. Oh, and that theater camp? They want you to come by at noon one day to watch your child’s performance as Tree #2.

Did I mention that you’re going to get an email about a week after school is ‘over’ informing your delighted children about their summer reading list. Save yourself, your sanity and your writing time now.

Hire one of those recently freed undergraduates to shuttle your kids around from 3-6 pm every day so that they can have the community pool pee washed off them, a couple of calories put in them and maybe a load of laundry started before you get home. Don Draper would have them mixing cocktails for him, but that’s some next-level parenting we haven’t mastered.

How can you make this happen? Put an ad in the college newspaper. Make sure they have a car. Or maybe use Care.Com (a Fighty Squirrel favorite) because it does background checks to post your job.

These tiny people will pick your nursing home. Be nice to them and take them on a vacation.

Next…Plan a vacation. A real one. I know, you can’t afford it because you just dropped money on camps, extra bleach now that you are thinking about pool pee, a college helper, and cocktails. State parks. They are things. That let you rent cabins for $40 a night with stoves, toilets, and beds. Cabins next to lakes and trees. Actual trees. Your kids will get to play with fire and marshmallows. It will be delightful. Promise!

All these undergrads and cabins are only available for a limited time. You need to get on that.                                                                             

Ninja level – 4 out of 5 stars (extra stars if they make your cocktails)


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