The Summer Camp Scramble: Working Mom Struggles

The Summer Camp Scramble: Working Mom Struggles

One thing parenthood continues to remind me is that today’s world is not setup to accommodate working families. There are so many responsibilities to juggle day to day that don’t align well with the traditional work schedule. Things like doctor appointments, school drop-offs and pickups, and now I can add summer camps to the list of inconvenient realities I’ve encountered as a working parent. No one prepared me for the summer camp stress, and I’m mind blown by it.

The Chaos

Finding a camp is much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Some camps open registration as early as the 1st of the year, before most parents have even thought about summer. Other registrations start launching throughout the first quarter of the year, and if you aren’t aware, prepared, and quick, they are full almost as soon as they open. This just adds even more stress and another thing to prepare for months in advance, further burdening the overloaded brain.

Piecemeal Solutions

What is the most mind-blowing for me is that the structure of most camps does not cover the entirety of the summer break. I registered my son for camp at his current school and there are still weeks of coverage I need between the end of school and the start of camp, and the end of camp and the next school year starting. This leaves parents piecemealing different camps and schedules together to cover the entire duration. Leaving a mess of logistical headaches, carpool nightmares, and additional expenses. Many camps also operate with hours that don’t align with parents’ work schedules and offer limited or no before or after-care options.

Different Ages and Interests

Let’s not forget that many families have kids of varying ages who have different interests. Different camps have different age restrictions that may limit siblings from attending camp together. Kids also have different hobbies and passions which adds to the challenge of finding an option that will cater to all. Additionally, for my fellow moms of younger kids, finding camps for 3 and 4 year olds is tough.

The Financial Strain

The cost of camp is another huge barrier to overcome that can’t be ignored. The costs add up quickly once you factor in multiple kids, sessions, t-shirts, meals, etc.

Work Schedules

The vast majority of parents don’t have a comparable summer break and have to continue working their normal schedules during the summer. For those who don’t have the luxury of a flexible work arrangement, summer camp is almost a non-negotiable item. Many working parents can’t work remotely, adjust their schedules, or bring their kids to work with them during summer break. Without camp, these parents are relying on PTO, family and friend help, or paid babysitters to support.

Back to Daycare

For some parents who have younger daycare-aged children or a strong relationship with their previous daycare providers, sending their school-aged kids back to daycare over the summer or to cover breaks during the summer is an option. This can often be a cheaper option than paying for an additional camp, but usually not the preferred option for the kids.

As working parents, we are no doubt accustomed to the scramble of managing logistics for our kids and navigating challenges to finding unique solutions. But this summer camp scramble is just a clear reminder that things simply aren’t set up to match the world of families with working parents. While I may not have all the solutions, I want to empathize to other working parents that you are not alone in facing these challenges.

Have you had to deal with the summer camp scramble?

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in 2019 and son Beckham in 2021. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of People and Culture in the local healthcare and education industries. She is learning to embrace the chaos of life as a Mom. Danielle’s current struggle is navigating preschool options for her oldest and managing the endless appetite of her youngest. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys trying new things, thrifting, and is always in the middle of glittering or a DIY project. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.


  1. I would adjust this article to clarify that there are almost no daycares opening during summer in New Orleans and other cities surrounding it. I have a 9 month old and 2 year old, and have found nothing available in Slidell. New Orleans and other areas required you to be enrolled for the whole year to even consider enrolling or be added to a huge waiting list.


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