Dear RV Moms, I Think You’re Killin’ It.

08May
Dear RV Moms, I Think You’re Killin’ It.

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Just days after launching our new RV Family Travel Atlas site a couple of years ago, we received this comment on the blog:

Having been camping and traveling with little tykes (our grandchildren), we’ve found that, later, they have little recall of most of the scenes and sights they’ve seen, although they seemed to have enjoyed the trips, mostly. Just a thought.

At the time, I shook my head, sighed, and wrote a brief response, basically telling the gentleman that he was missing the point altogether.

But now, on Mother’s Day, I want to elaborate.

You see there is an easy answer to this comment, and it goes something like this:

Dear Sir, Children are not just formed by the scenes and sights that they remember. All of the experiences they have, the very act of traveling and exploring itself, impacts their development and helps them grow into curious, adventurous, thoughtful human beings. Best, Stephanie

All of this is true, and I believe it deeply. So pat yourself on the back because, whether your kids remember all this RVing or not, you are giving them a super-fun, super-cool childhood.

But that’s not my real answer. Or maybe I should say it’s only about 30% of my answer.

Last week down in Charleston, we were lucky enough to be camping with some other families. After 5 days of spending time together around the picnic table and camp fire, I can say this: parenting young children is HARD. Traveling with young children is HARD. RVing with young children is HARD. Camping with young children is HARD. Being with young children, day in and day out around the clock, is HARD.

And yet all of us parents were having the time of our lives.

In this cultural moment, we are encouraged to give up all those pesky elements of our individual personalities when we become parents. I lost track of the number of times Jeremy and I heard people say, you can forget about that part of your life now that you have kids…

I’m so glad we didn’t listen to those people.

We didn’t start RVing because we had children. We started RVing because we love travel and adventure and exploration, and RVing is a great way to experience those things with kids in tow. Sure, I think RV travel is great for our kids. But that’s not always the point.

We are not just parents. We are parents that are living our own lives to the fullest. We are parents allowing our children to see us having fun, taking risks, discovering new things, and (yes) overcoming the obstacles of family travel.

For me, being a great mom doesn’t mean living my life in service to my children. It means modeling a life worth living. I don’t really care if they remember the forts from our trip to Charleston. What I care about is that they saw their parents navigating a new city, having conversations with locals, trying new foods, reading historical pamphlets, making compromises about day to day plans, and spending time around the campfire with friends.

They witnessed us having the time of our lives.

So this is my message to moms out there today: doing things that matter to you, enjoying life on your terms, embracing your passions, and dragging your kids along for the ride can be a really awesome way to parent.

To all our RV moms…Congratulations, I believe you are killin’ it.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Stephanie

10 Comments

  1. JP

    Steph, you nailed it there. It is a blessing and a curse that our children grew up with us exploring and traveling and experiencing things. Of course the blessing is obvious, they have all grown up and have been shaped by the experiences. The curse, two out of the three of them have explored so much that they live pretty far away, so the grandchildren are always a road trip away. None of our children are satisfied with a week “down the shore.” They go camping, backpacking, especially the daughter in Boston, or just vacation at some place outside most people’s comfort zone. I am so glad that we found camping, thanks to a friend who was selling a popup and our English friends who caravan every chance they get and who sold us on the ease of exploring in an RV. Your podcast has also helped us to see new and different ways to the world with RVs. So a big thank you to the two of you.

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      And thank you both for inspiring us to look forward to amazing international adventures in the future:-) Every word of this post is, of course, applicable to RV dads, also!!!

      Reply
  2. Tatiana

    Yes, yes, YES!! I want my kids, particularly my daughter, to witness a woman who is strong, fearless, inquisitive, compassionate, loving and adventurous. I can be all those things at work, but my kids don’t see that. I can show them these attributes at home, but it’s kind of hard to model this between homework, meal preparation, transporting to sporting events, etc. However, when we have unadulterated time together on weekends or vacations, the kids get to see Mom interacting with the world and they will remember what they see.
    Happy Mother’s Day, Stephanie and all camping moms!

    Reply
    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      What a great point, Tatiana. Stepping outside of our everyday ‘tasks’ can give our children a picture of Mom that they don’t get otherwise. I love that perspective on family travel!

      Reply
  3. Inn Town Campground

    Life at home is hard too, why not breath in the fresh air and spend quality time together?

    Reply
  4. April

    Love it! I so agree! I actually only went camping (in an Airstream) a handful of times with my grandparents when I was young. But I actually do remember big chunks of those trips with them. I think I remember is because it was so outside of my normal childhood activities. I was outside from dawn to dusk and we rode bikes all over the campground and explored. I want that experience and memories for my kids too. I am so looking forward to many more trips and adventures with my kids camping!

    Reply
  5. Tom Burkett

    This past January we were scheduled to attend a winter campout in the UP of Michigan. I was recovering from surgery and couldn’t go, but my wife kitted out the RV for winter travel and went by herself. All three of our grown-up girls (19, 23, and 30) were amazed. “I can’t believe you did that by yourself. You camped on the snow? And you snowshoed? And you cooked? Do you think I could do that with you next time?” Killin’ it indeed. Moms rule.

    Reply
  6. Sally

    It was the time we did the most together as a family, when we went camping. At home, dad went off and isolated himself in his room or garage most of the time. Camping, he was there and interacting all the time. It was his ‘happy place’ and we all had a great time.

    Reply
  7. Jessica Meinhofer

    This is so true. We just started our RV life 6 months ago and in that time our kids have blossomed. Adjusting to life without date nights has been a challenge, but the growth we have all experienced has been amazing. I can’t wait to see who we all become as we continue this life and this grand adventure. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Kelley

    Thank you! Parenting is hard and camping with kids is hard (especially in a tent). I want my kids to remember the good stuff. I love them and I love spending time with them and my husband. When they smile. I smile. Happy mothers at!

    Reply

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