My Love/Hate Relationship with Camping

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About once a year, my husband talks me into going camping.
I’m not really sure how he gets me to agree. Maybe I’ve forgotten all the
hilarious problems we had last year or maybe I’m too exhausted to argue.  My favorite things about camping have never
really been quite the same since we started bringing the kids along. I have a
fantasy about how things will go perfectly, but we always seem to encounter
some unexpected surprises.

 
 

Sโ€™mores

Fantasy: Everyone sits around the crackling fire.  We create perfectly cooked marshmallows that
are a beautiful golden brown. They’re so good.

Likely reality: My son’s marshmallow catches on fire. He
starts waving it around in the air. We narrowly avoid catching the tent on
fire. Then, my daughter gets marshmallow in her hair and starts crying
hysterically.  Her second marshmallow
falls on the ground and she tries to eat it anyway.  The kids eat too many marshmallows and have a
killer sugar rush. They are literally bouncing off the walls of the tent.

 

Sleeping in the tent

Fantasy: The kids are nestled all snug in their sleeping
bags. A cool breeze gently blows through the campsite. My husband and I snuggle
up and look at the stars.

Likely reality: The kids won’t go to sleep. They toss. They
turn. They argue. I end up between them to stop the fighting. We get a
thunderstorm in the middle of the night. It soaks the edges of the tent and
snaps a pole. Then the kids wake up at the crack of dawn after just a few hours
of sleep. In fact, I’m not sure I actually slept at all. Between that tree root
in the middle of my back and my soggy sleeping bag, I had a little trouble
getting comfortable.

 

Fishing

Fantasy: We all sit in our camp chairs on the dock and wait
for the big one!  I’ll snap an awesome
photo of my son holding a fish that’s bigger than he is.

Likely reality: We never catch anything bigger than a
minnow. In fact, I see a lot of bugs bigger than the fish. The kids are sooooo
bored! My son drops his pole in the water and my husband has to fish it
out.  My daughter gets worm guts in her
hair. On the plus side, I find a few of those hooks that got spilled….in the
bottom of my foot. When was my last tetanus shot?

 

Hiking

Fantasy: We enjoy the beautiful scenery and sunshine on the
way to a picturesque waterfall. 

Likely reality: What our campground host described as a
“short, easy” hike is an uphill climb over boulders. “Are we
there yet?” “How much further is it?!”  A storm cloud moves in, we get hailed on and even
see some snow flurries.  My daughter’s
feet get wet and cold in the waterfall. 
She screams and cries the entire way back.  My son discovers a tick on his head and my
daughter has five mosquito bites.

 

Bathrooms

Fantasy: Running water and a toilet that has been cleaned in
the last week. A girl can dream, right?!

Likely reality: The boys are going to use a tree anyway.
I’ll try not to breathe while using that lovely pit toilet. My daughter will
use her training potty that we brought along… except when she goes in her
underwear.  Repeatedly.

 

Bonding time

Fantasy: We all sit around the campfire and magically get
closer as a family

Likely reality: By the end of the trip, the kids aren’t
speaking to each other. My husband and I are so sleep deprived that we can
barely drive home. And, I will spend the next two weeks doing laundry.

 

By next summer, I WILL be able to laugh about these things.
And you MAY be able to trick me into going again.  I mean, what else could possibly go wrong?
 
 
Have you experienced any crazy problems during your camping trips?  What do you love (or hate!) about camping?
Related:  The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

7 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with Camping”

  1. Oh my gosh…this would be hilarious if it wasn't so true. The realities would be exactly what it would be like to go camping with my boys…which is why I refuse. Maybe when they are older.

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