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Mom's Honest Work Email Sign-Off Highlights The Relatable Struggle Working Parents Face In The Summer

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woman and daughter hugging, people working in office

While most children yearn for summer break, working parents often feel the complete opposite as they struggle to take care of them. The relatable struggle was highlighted by a mother's honest email sign-off, informing her work colleagues that she may be a bit busy during the summer months now that her children are no longer in school full-time.

The working mom informed her coworkers why she would be slow to respond to emails in the summer.

Meg St-Esprit, 39, recently shared a screenshot on Twitter of the updated email sign-off that she has at work. The brutally honest notice to her work colleagues, who would soon wonder why she would be taking longer to respond to emails, struck a chord with a lot of other working parents.

"Please note I may be slower to respond to email in the months of June, July, and August due to the United States' inability to provide affordable childcare for working mothers," St-Espirit, a mother-of-four, wrote.

Photo: Twitter

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During the school year, parents can rely on the structured and supervised environment provided by schools. However, once the summer break starts and schools begin to close for three months, many working parents are usually left without childcare support.

"The US is the only developed nation [without] subsidized childcare," pointed out St-Espirit. "Adding it would increase our GDP [by] over 1 trillion dollars. Not a handout — it’s a smart decision when facing a recession and labor shortages."

In 2020, the average cost of child care was over $10,000 a year, according to a report by Child Care Aware, a national network of more than 400 childcare agencies. In 2021, the average rose by 5%.

During the summer months, the necessity for childcare only heightens. According to analyzed data from the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM survey, they estimate that the average family will spend more than $3,000 on summer programs for two children, representing 20% of a typical family’s income for the entire summer.

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St-Espirit admitted that this is the reality for working parents during the summertime.

In an interview with TODAY, St-Espirit revealed that while searching for expensive camps and babysitters for her children, she hit her breaking point. "I was realizing it was all untenable with four kids," she told the publication.

She claimed that her updated email signature came after she received a "snippy" reply from one of her work colleagues because she had been taking too long to respond to their emails.

"In the moment, I was like: 'This is how it's going to be — people are going to need to know that this is how it's going to be for the next couple months,'" St-Esprit said. "I'm still good at my job. I'm still a professional. I'm also a mom of four kids and this is reality in America."

Per the American Camp Association, the average cost to send a child to day camp more than doubled in 2022 to $178 a day. The price of sleep-away camp is even higher, with prices tripling to $449 a day.

"I get anxiety leading up to summer," St-Esprit admitted. "I wish I was excited about it. I love my kids. But I know I'm going to have to be on. We joke about, 'Is it time for the kids to go back to school yet?' I wish I didn't feel that way."

"It's just burnout from trying to juggle everything."

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Nia Tipton is a Brooklyn-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.