Carter brought home his first field trip permission form of the year a couple of weeks ago. I love the fact that my kids get to go on quite a few field trips during the school year. It gives them a chance to get out of the classroom and experience learning in a new environment. But with each field trip, I have to answer that dreaded question, “Can you come mom?” Almost always, I’m torn on the inside. I want to go, but I don’t want to go. Here’s a little look at why.

Why Go

  • I enjoy the places we go almost as much (if not more) than the kids.
  • Going on field trips provides a good way to get to know the other kids in my son’s and daughter’s class, and also get to know some of the parents.
  • When I go they don’t have to ride the bus home, which means we can often supplement the trip with another fun activity, either staying at the place we went longer to really soak it all in, or stopping by somewhere else on the way home.
  • I feel like I’m helping out by chaperoning on the event. Sometimes the teachers really need those extra sets of adult eyes.

Why Stay Home

  • Sometimes it’s good for the kids to experience things without me there to influence them.
  • While I enjoy the places we go, most of the time with field trips you’re pretty structured and even rushed trying to get through everything in time to make it back to school on time.
  • Going on a field trip usually means I lose an entire day at home, including a few hours, if not more, of work time. This is a biggie. Being gone for a day means I have to rearrange my schedule, plan ahead for interviews, and reply to work emails on my phone.

While the reasons to go outweigh the reasons to stay home by a hair, losing work time makes it more even. Most of the time, I’m usually leaning towards not going. As a work-at-home mom, the time while the kids at school is precious, and when I miss an entire day I usually have to make up for it somewhere (nights and weekends). But when my kids ask, with that pleading look in their eyes, it’s hard to say no. After all, how much longer will they want me to go on field trips with them? I might as well enjoy it now, while I can. Work can wait, I have 20 second graders to go have fun with.

Caroline and some friends at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Caroline and some friends at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.