You want the very, very best for your kids, but how often do you think about your own happiness? We’ve spent almost a decade camping with our kids because we believe it’s so beneficial to them as tiny human beings. But us big human beings are part of this story, and it’s important to spend time thinking about our well being.
RVing and family travel has helped us build amazing memories as a family, but doing anything with kids can be hard work. That means there are plenty of times when our boys might be having the time of their lives, while us old folks are feeling wrung out and exhausted.
Here’s the thing…we believe parents matter, too.
We firmly believe the adults are as important as the kids in the whole family equation. Since the earliest days of this blog and podcast, we’ve been encouraging you all to do the things you enjoy and drag your kids along for the ride. We’re okay with brainwashing of the best kind, which is probably why our youngest brought this home from Kindergarten the other day.
I’m sure Wes’s teacher did not get this at all. But we know you do…
We recently stumbled across the book How to Be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute by author KJ Dell’Antonia. This book has nothing to do with RVing, camping, or family travel and it still resonated very deeply with us as parents. In fact, we felt like it basically touched on ALL of the pain points we had been wrestling with the last few years.
In the opening pages of the book, Ms. Dell’Antonia introduces a set of mantras that are her overarching guidelines for becoming a happier parent. We felt these mantras were spot on for becoming a happier camper as well. So on this RVFTA episode, we talk about nine of the mantras and how they directly relate to anyone who tries to have some camping adventures with their kids.
We’ve gotten so much out of this book, so we hope you check it out if this episode resonates with your parenting experiences as well.
Camping regularly with our kids means that we spend way more time together than the average family. Sometimes this means we get sucked into their world a bit too much. KJ Dell’Antonia is a breath of fresh air, encouraging us to remain above the fray and not let the tiny tyrants dictate our moods and decisions. She helps us take the long view, and remember that we are the adults and fully capable of raising decent, well-adjusted children.
How to Be a Happier Parent is more of a reminder than an epiphany for us as parents. Somewhere deep down inside, we already believed each and every one of these mantras. Somehow though, we needed it spelled out in black and white. In fact, we would probably be better off if we all printed out these mantras and hung them in our RVs or laminated them for our tenting and cabin trips.
We had a great time reflecting on what we are proud of as parents, and what we still have to work on going forward. We’d love to hear your take on these mantras. Drop us a comment below or head on over to RVFTA: The Group, where there are always great conversations about RV and family travel!
Even though we travel all year long, the spring always feels like the start of a brand new camping year. This episode was the perfect opportunity for us to take stock of our parenting wins and set some tangible goals going forward. One of those goals is to be happier campers, enjoying (almost) every moment with our kids and blissfully letting the other moments fade into the background.
See you at the campground!
Stephanie + Jeremy