Updated 4:25 AM ET, Thu August 22, 2019
(CNN)As my son’s camp brochures told it, summer’s appeal remains as timeless as popsicles and dappled light. It’s the season of freedom; a time to commune with Mother Nature and our unfettered selves.
Conveniently left out of these bucolic scenes were us, his parents, hollow-eyed and deflated from the Herculean effort it takes to get kids to camp today.
For grown-ups, summer is the antithesis of freedom, a season we look forward to ending once it begins. It marks the end of having somewhere safe and free to leave our children during the day while we work; the end of a reliable schedule that has wormed its way into acceptance by our supervisors and colleagues; and the end of reliable schedule that has wormed its way into acceptance by our change-averse children. Only the return to school can save us from this mess.
Summer break is a system built for another time, during which a 10-week break could be slotted somewhere between “opportunity” and “minor inconvenience” for parents. But changes to the way we work and play have made the season untenable for many.