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What I Imagine Parent Camp to be Like

I just spent a week’s worth of work hours navigating the arcane forms of summer camp. There were transportation arrangements, health care card signatures, emergency contacts and declaring swimming levels- all after the relentless onslaught of the end of the school year extra-curriculars. I want a break. Not just the ‘please help me think of things to occupy them these weeks before camps starts and then I can sit and have a coffee’ break. But a real break.

What if every summer, or even every fifth summer, parents got to go to day camp? Pick me up on a goddam bus every morning at 8 and don’t bring me back until I’m deliriously tired; tired enough to fall asleep on the bus even if the driver is an elderly wheezing man whose face has achieved that deeply apoplectic red from either alcohol abuse or an eminent stroke. Because we’re expected to send our kids off with that guy, too. But that’s another post. The point of this post,  just illustrated, is that I can’t stay on topic because I so desperately need a break. Not a luxury resort break. Not an exciting photography safari break. Because they expect sentient adults at those places. I need a break where I am treated like a toddler, an emotionally incoherent beast, an unreliable narrator, a wild child who needs every last detail of the day thought out for them, and who is nevertheless loved so blindly by their family that counselors are compelled to treat them just as the British treat anyone with a archaic title in their name .

And this is Parent Camp would look like.


  • Enforced Naps 1 of 10
    Enforced Naps
    No reading, no stuffed animals, no playing with your neighbor. Just stare at the ceiling and drool if you can't sleep.
  • Diversity Studies 2 of 10
    Diversity Studies
    You will spend the day with a child the exact opposite of yours, which will simultaneously create appreciation for what you have as well as diminish the McJudgy vitriol of those who insist kids don't have personalities that are beyond parental control.
  • The Talking Cure 3 of 10
    The Talking Cure
    Couples are put together at least two hours of the day to talk. About anything other than their children ... or finances ... or in laws ... You get the point.
  • Swimming Hour 4 of 10
    Swimming Hour
    Because everyone should swim as often as they can. It makes us nicer people.
  • Jeeves 5 of 10
    Jeeves
    What kids get continuously - breakfast, lunch and dinner parties where no member of the group has to cook, serve or awkwardly split the check later.
  • Playdates 6 of 10
    Playdates
    Scheduled by someone else, matching personalities and interests. A thankless task for the counselors to be sure, just like it is for us. Everyone pray for no meltdowns.
  • The Ferryman 7 of 10
    The Ferryman
    Someone else schedules all your kids activities and takes them there, but you can look it over and have the power to veto. Got to keep your hand in things.
  • Profession Swap 8 of 10
    Profession Swap
    The bankers can stare at a blank page all day, artists can feel their blood pressure rise as portfolios worth millions rest in their hands. Stay-at-home moms get to wear clothes without hummus stains on them and leave the house for the day. Working moms attend the household all day. Another study that will hopefully result in tolerance.
  • Parent IT 9 of 10
    Parent IT
    No, not for us — we're too busy swimming, playing, staring and drooling. The counselors take the panicked calls from our elderly parents who are convinced they've erased all their files or that email doesn't work anymore.
  • Special Orders Don’t Upset Us 10 of 10
    Special Orders Don't Upset Us
    Very specific information on how I, with all my character flaws, can be a better parent to my particular child, keeping in mind their character flaws. Because maybe if I was better at this, I wouldn't need such a break.
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