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Week 29: Research, Research and more Research

Those that know me know that I like to have a plan and I like to have information and data to drive said plan's creation; this often-time includes preparing for pretty much every eventuality. I do my research based on anything I can get my hands on: online reviews, cost comparisons, and where possible, touching, feeling and seeing. If you still aren’t sold, ask my husband about our family vacations to Walt Disney World; every single base is double and triple covered. I can't really explain it, but I guess there's something I find reassuring about executing a well thought out plan.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder I was feeling a bit stressed after the dreaded news that our beloved and long-awaited summer camp would not be opening this summer, thus leaving our boys with no plans and no ideas for how we would fill the void. I couldn’t stop worrying about what they were going to do all summer, especially having spent so much time on "lock-down." I needed to cover all my usual bases such as level of activity, fun, cost, and feasibility, but I also needed to include additional "COVID" factors like health and safety and even the societal stigma of signing my kids up for organized group activities. With all that in mind, this summer's plan was going to need extra special consideration.

To get me started, I looked into everything from online “virtual” camps, to activity subscription services, as well as the more traditional day-camp options. I researched programs, interviewed directors, analyzed information on infection rates in cities and countries that had reopened, and even joined several webinars on the new federal and state guidelines for summer camps. Basically, I asked as many questions as I could.

In the end, I decided to go with the more traditional summer camp experience, but with many camps cancelling or reducing capacities, it was not going to be an easy task; underlined by the fact I landed on 4 separate wait-lists! After a lot of hard work, I managed to make arrangements for just about every week of the summer, including one or two weeks at home where we can spend time exploring local spots; I've already compiled a list of Connecticut's top hikes and swimming holes for us to check out. Amazingly, after all that's happened, this still has a chance of being a great summer.

My advice: if there's something weighing on your mind, do something about it! The ability to remove the weight off your shoulders is extremely important and should be treated as a top priority. Most importantly, make sure you know what’s best for you and your family and use that as the driving force behind your decision; try not to get caught up in what other people are doing and saying. In a digital world, it's extremely easy to get sucked into Mom (and Dad) shaming, but I firmly believe we're all doing the best we can in a difficult situation and no matter what that looks like, it's OK.

Having a solid plan in place for the summer was a total game changer for me; my mind is clearer, my stress levels are back within normal range, and the "Mommy-guilt" that had started to creep in to my head regarding how I would possibly make it through the whole summer working full-time while the boys have nothing to do is finally locked back up in the little box where it belongs.

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