Monday, June 8, 2009


I grew up camping and expected to raise campers myself. We took the boy camping for the first time when he was five months old. That trip was the biggest you-are-a-parent-now reality check, I have ever experienced in my now ten years of being the Mothership to this fleet. I kept sitting down to read my book, but just as I'd pull the bookmark out of it's place, the baby would need something. Sit down to dangle my feet off the dock and . . . nope . . . up again; the baby needs something. Take a doze on the mossy forest floor, er, just kidding; baby needs something. Add to that the regular tasks of cooking, fire building, house keeping and warding off UV rays and mosquitoes and you have, well, not the camping of my childhood. I came home from that trip completely exhausted--and we still had to unload, wash and stow all of the gear. I called my mother and asked if she ever enjoyed camping. She just laughed (probably in glee that I finally recognized how doggone hard she and Dad worked).Baby Pod, eleven months old and an old hat at walking.
Today, I offer instructions on how to camp with a site full of pods (in no particular order):
  • prepare as much of the food as possible before you leave your kitchen (wrap the apples in foil, mix the dry ingredients of the pancake batter, cut up the vegetables, etc)
  • don't forget anyone's shoes (including yours and the baby's)
  • leave your book at home, but be sure to bring several for the little people (packed in a Ziploc, of course)
  • bring along a case of baby wipes
  • mentally prepare to spend a lot of time with various pods in the stinky pit johns
  • make bacon or sausage every morning--there is nothing like waking up to the smell of frying bacon
  • don't look at your water before you drink it or you will likely become quite dehydrated
  • cut everyone's fingernails short so they can't scratch mosquito bites that turn into bloody pits that won't heal for months
  • expect to do all of the work so when you get help, it will be a delightful surprise
  • learn the names of wildflowers, trees and wildlife so you can point things out on the trail (after a while, the kids will wander away from your annoying chatter and you can have a lovely quiet walk alone)
  • remember propane, matches, Off!, and a comfy pad or mattress for your postpartum hips

Maybe I'll pack my book in about ten years.


  1. Real pine trees! Looks like fun! In the South most people camp in the spring & fall because of the temperatures. We haven't quite adjusted & so our boys don't really know the joys of camping beyond BSA. (IOW, they don't know that mom could actually camp with them.)

  2. Don't know how I stumbled upon your blog ~ but I love how you write! Our girls are 11 and 15 and I still remember when we took our oldest camping for the first time. So memories never fade ... even the ones you want to!! Let's just say she was one HUGE mosquito bite by the time we headed home. Oh, my, the lessons I've learned along the way. Loved all your camping advice ... especially the one about NOT looking at your water. Thanks for sharing your humor! Blessings, Patricia

  3. Hi ! I came to your blog from a comment your left on Pioneer Woman. Isn't she great? I have been reading several of your past posts and I love your writing and your love of family. I LOVED the olive oil bath story. That sounds like something my husband would say. I have four sweet kiddos and we are currently in the adoption process. I am going to mark your blog so I can come back and visit.

  4. Yes, camping as a parent is the biggest wake up call EVER. I can't stand it. Aren't mothers amazing? You forgot fifteen extra pairs of socks because they are always wet.