Mom defends her decision to send children to sleepaway camp for seven weeks

A mother has hit back at criticism, after revealing that she would be sending her children to a sleepaway camp in another state for seven weeks over the summer.

In a viral video posted to TikTok, Florida mom Rachael Potash shared that her two daughters would be going to a camp in Maine. The influencer shared footage of herself cooking tacos for her daughters, ages 13 and 11, before they left for the airport at five the next morning.

Potash later shared a video of their trip to the airport on June 22, as she filmed herself saying goodbye to her daughters. Although the mom explained in her video that her daughters have been attending sleepaway camp in Maine for many years, it didn’t stop fellow parents from criticizing Potash for the extended stay.

“Oh my gosh… I could never do that, I would miss them way too much,” one TikTok user commented. “There are so few summers with kids. That’s family time.”

“I could never do seven weeks,” another person wrote. Potash replied: “I know it’s hard. I’m OK right now. Around four weeks I get super anxious then I get to see them on visiting day.”

A third parent chimed in: “Wow, I can’t imagine being without them for that long. We get so few summers with them as it is.”

While some parents applauded Potash for allowing her daughters to have a sleepaway camp experience, and also unplug from their cell phones and devices, she still took the opportunity to call out mom-shamers in a separate TikTok video.

“How could you send your kids away to sleepaway camp for seven weeks?” she wrote over the clip, as she filmed herself in the car putting on lip gloss and making a talking gesture with her hand.

“The kiddos want to go and there are so many positives,” Potash captioned the post.

One user defended the TikToker, writing in the comments: “Good for you for letting them make their decision. I bet they’re having a blast!!”

“I wish people understood different things work for different people,” another parent said. “My kids never wanted to go to sleepaway camp and that’s OK. I bet your kids are confident and are developing important skills.”

“Sleepaway camp gave me the best memories of my childhood,” commented someone else.

In an interview with Today, Potash revealed that her daughters have attended the same all-girls sleepaway camp since they were each eight years old.

“Their father passed away four years ago and he grew up going to summer camp, which I never did,” she told the outlet on June 26. “He said that camp made the best summers of his life.”

The mother explained that her daughters intentionally chose to go to their late father’s “sister camp”, and it was “his wish” that they have a similar experience. She also noted that the camp runs for seven weeks and doesn’t offer shorter stays, though she and her husband Adam will be visiting the girls during week four.

“It’s a digital detox – anyone with a teenager can appreciate that,” Potash said. “They return more independent and strong. They’ve learned teamwork, how to get along with others and share a room. They face the types of problems that some kids don’t encounter until college.”

“If they didn’t want to go to camp. I would never force them,” she added. “They go because they want to go.”

The Independent has contacted Potash for comment.