amazing mom contributor, family, parenting, summer camp, Uncategorized

Before and After Kids—Camp Experience

I admit, before I had kids, my thoughts about parenting and raising kids was set in stone. It is always easier to think your way would be better than others.  Then reality hits and you actually have kids and things are not how you imagined it would be.

Recently, my two oldest sons spent a week at summer camp. I highly encouraged, ok ok, made them go… since they had no inclination to go themselves.  Eric and I talked about the wonderful experience and how much fun they would have and the friends they would make while at camp.  Eric and I both had the opportunity to go to summer camp when we were younger and talked about what we did and how we would go back if we could.  Of course, they still dragged their feet and feigned sickness as the day came closer.  And when the time came to drop them off, I was sad because the drop off was so “sudden.”  No chance to walk around the camp, to see their cabins where they would be sleeping, the cafeteria, where they would be eating or the beach where they would be swimming.  I didn’t have the opportunity to give them a hug.  Eric hurriedly ushered me awaits saying  “I didn’t want the camp staff thinking I was “that mom.”

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While they were gone, I thought about them; were they having fun? What did they eat? Did they sleep ok?  I would get teary eyed when reading the email Eric sent them.  It also made me think about what I used to think before I had kids.  I have to admit; pre kids- I may have been judgmental towards parents; thinking how could they send their kids off to summer camp. How could they send their kids away?  Didn’t they want to spend time with their kids?  I wondered if their children were affected by spending all this time away from their parents. Were they traumatized knowing their parents didn’t want to spend the Summer with them.  Obviously, my times away at camp were forgotten during my judgement. 😉

When we picked up the boys, they talked about how much fun they had. They were able to go swimming, canoeing, played games and they even said how much they liked singing camp songs!  My boys said the food was good and was impressed by showers where pull down ropes made the water come out.  They both spoke about the friends they made. 

The oldest had the chance to go canoeing and then spend the night in the woods in tents. He talked about how gross the boy’s outhouse was so they all used the girl’s outhouse.

The conversations and shared experiences did not end there. The boys sang the camp songs to their siblings and talked about their counselors and recited all their names.

The best part; they admitted they want to go back next year.

(Yes! right decision made by Eric and myself!)

As they talked, I thought about how wrong I was thinking parents were selfish for sending their kids to summer camp. With kids of my own, and having to work during their summer vacation, I realize summer camp is not only a time for kids to have fun, make new friends and enjoy new experiences.  Summer camp is an opportunity for parents to work. Not every parent has the luxury being able to take their summer off to spend with their kids.  Parents have to find alternatives to school, and childcare has to be made so parents can work and pay the bills.  Summer camp gives parents a sense of peace of mind knowing their kids are safe and having fun.

My eyes have opened now and I offer a heartfelt apology to all those parents I judged before I actually had to walk in your shoes. Summer camp is a great chance for kids to have fun and experience summer like a kid. 

If you get the chance to send your kids to camp, please do.

Your kids will thank you for the memories.

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By : Kristine Walton

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, Uncategorized

Love & Technology

Eric and I have always loved to have friendly debates. The most hotly discussed topic has been the use of social media in our relationship. The use of phones, tablets and laptops have become the roadblocks in our conversations and quality time.

My husband argues that I spend more time on Facebook then talking about my day. He feels the phone has become my new partner, my best friend and confidant. This has been brought up many times and I have made a conscious effort to put my phone down. I’ve set my phone down when I come home from work and many times cannot remember where I have left it. Despite this, Eric still feels some kind of way with the amount of time I spend on technology. So ultimately, it’s not just the use of Facebook, it’s the use of all technology in Eric’s mind. 

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I argue, excuse me, let’s say debate that I am on devices related to work, researching information for school or even ordering our groceries from #Kroger click list. In today’s culture, almost everything is done online.  Is there a happy middle for being an active participant in the World Wide Web and having time for our marriage? At least in my husband’s eye?

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Now, on the flip side, my husband my not be on social media as much as I am but he is on his phone texting or reading the newspaper. He’s looking at #MediaTakeOut, researching home improvements and listening to music.  Is this really any different than my usage of the internet? I would say not, but for whatever reason my husband says yes.  We can go back and forth, like right now as I’m sitting here typing this blog, he’s researching shower heads.  Specifically oil rubbed shower body sprays. 

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Hmmmm

Eric and I have been together since 1994. We have been through our ups and downs and have made it through together.  We’ve actively changed how we perceive things and realize a relationship is made stronger when both partners know it is not a Disney fairytale. Compromise is required and if one partner always seems to get their way, the other one is probably slowing brewing on the inside.  Everyone always says, “Happy Wife Happy Life,” but Eric tends to argue why can’t the husband be happy also? I will agree because I sure don’t want a grumpy husband.  I asked him what’s wrong and he responded, “I’m a crab. Pinch. Pinch.” Need I say more?

So what is the compromise? Do we limit ourselves to 2 hours of screen time as we try to do with our kids? Do we pick certain days to be online? Or do we select a date night once a week to keep our relationship kindled and burning bright? Are there other couples who experience this phenomenon in their relationship? If so, have you done anything different?

As everything we’ve been through in the past, I’m sure we will find a solution to our Love and Technology; but any advice would be appreciated.

Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @

kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, pregnancy, Uncategorized

A Long Awaited Escape

As a mother, my time is divided between my husband, my children, my job and what’s left over is trying to maintain a chaotic household. Some days I pat myself on the back because I helped my kids with their homework, cooked dinner and even managed to do a load or two of laundry. Other days, I thank God I didn’t lose a child, that I managed to feed them and yeah, OK…however, the homework. We can’t win them all.

So when Eric was invited to attend the Knights of Columbus convention on Mackinac Island, I of course said “YES!” Oh, I guess Eric should have been the one to answer but I figured I would help him. We had the option of bringing our kids, but I jumped at the chance of having a couple getaway minus the children. We had not both, at the same time, been overnight without them since our youngest was born…5 years ago!  My husband does have his annual ‘mancation’ and he always encouraged me to do the same with my friends.  He’s always supported me, especially when it came to finding time for me. I’ve always felt guilty spending time away and couldn’t even bring myself to having an overnight trip.

This time around though, I felt ready. I felt no guilt in wanting to spend time away from my kids.  I felt excited to spend time with my husband.  My parents said they would watch the kids, did I sense hesitancy? Oh well.  I jumped at the chance to go to Mackinac Island. My kids would survive 2 days.  Now the question is, would my parents?! But it’s not about them.

We dropped the kids off and Eric and I made our way to the big island! No bickering siblings. No “Are we almost there?” No frequent rest room stops. This trip was looking fabulous already. Eric and I had dinner at the Grand Hotel.  We actually had a grown up meal. We had an actual conversation.  We enjoyed our meal.  Can I tell you how nice it was to really savor your food?

When Eric went to his workshops during the day, I was able to sleep in as long as I wanted. I would have coffee on the porch overlooking the water, while reading my book.

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I would walk around the island taking in all the sights and sounds. I didn’t have to constantly count 1,2,3,4,5. Ok they’re all here.  I didn’t have to say, “no fighting, be quiet, no running, stay with us.”

I took pleasure in the beautiful views Mackinac Island had to offer. I smiled when I saw other parents trying to manage their kids. I leisurely window shopped while eating ice cream. 

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I enjoyed being me. Not a mother of 5.  Not a nurse.  Eric and I found ourselves as a couple again.  We found out why we fell in love in the first place.

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Me and My Love

I encourage other moms to get away. Get away with your partner.  Renew your love for each other.  Find yourself again.  That young girl who laughed, who enjoyed life, who laughed uncontrollably.  You need to be you without your kids if only for a night.  You come back to motherhood feeling refreshed, alive and rejuvenated.   It is needed so our kids can see us, can see their parents in love.  It is needed to make our family more whole and complete.   When you feel ready, go find yourself again.  You won’t regret it.

Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @

kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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family, pregnancy, Uncategorized

A Different Kind Of Perfect

As a mother of 5 children, I look back and realize I never had a plan on how many children I wanted. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I thought about child bearing as most people with common sense do.

Kids are expensive.
How will we pay for college?
I’m too old to have kids.
What about work?
Our house isn’t big enough.

And the list can go on and on. If I had thought about all those things and planned ahead, my life would not be as adventurous, as noisy, as joyful or as loving as it is now. I could not imagine my life without having my 4 boys and my baby girl.

It’s true when people say the hardest transition is going from one child to two. It’s like you’ve become used to the daily routine but the second child is thrown in the mix, and life has somehow become chaotic multiple times over. When I learned I was having another son, I will admit I was a little disappointed. You always hear how perfect having a boy and girl is–and who doesn’t want perfection? I should have already learned perfection doesn’t exist when I entered my home. Toys, baby things–who know there could be so MANY baby items?! I found out I was pregnant again shortly after my second son. I was that 1% that breastfeeding was not an effective method of birth control. I’m not going to lie when I say I was stunned and a little scared. And then I found out the baby was a boy. I did cry during the ultrasound. And then he came along and couldn’t be more loving. After finding the 4th baby was yet another boy, I told my husband, he failed his wedding contract to give me a little girl. I had decided that we weren’t meant to have a girl. Boys were in the stars; which was fine because I was not a girly girl. Make up? Dresses? High heels? Jewelry? What were these things and how are they used?! My favorite outfit were scrubs.

Our family, our boys were fun, loving and loud. Quite often dinner somehow never happened, laundry was abundant and there was always an errand that was always put on hold. My home wasn’t perfect and did not look perfect. But who am I kidding?! I looked like a hot mess. But did I? Because most days, I didn’t even look in the mirror. I realized this when my coworker politely asked me if my skirt was inside out and horrified I quickly went to the bathroom and redressed in the light. I don’t even know when I last showered. I gave up on going to the bathroom by myself.

I would go to parties and watch my boys be boys-loud, rough, running around, beating each other with whatever they could find but laughing the whole time. I would then watch the girls sitting quietly, coloring and playing with dolls. I thought, how nice, I bet that house is quiet.

One week before Eric was scheduled for the big snip–a vasectomy; I found out I was pregnant! Dear Lord, I’m about to have 5 boys! I’ve already read all the blogs about “moms of boys” how having boys were a special blessing. Yes, if that blessing was watching your kids be daredevils and jumping off things that make your heart stop and wrestling and playing so hard that they say it hurts. But you’re laughing and it hurts?! At my ultrasound, I found out the baby was a girl. I didn’t believe it. My family and friends were ecstatic. When I delivered, the first thing I did was look between her legs. YES! A girl!

Gianna has added a whole new dimension to our family. She is the ultimate girl but who also wants to wrestle with her brothers. She still runs around, climbs, jumps and is the loudest in the family! She bosses her brothers around, they in turn tease her but they watch out for her and attend to her needs. Eric is wrapped around her little finger and with a kiss she can get him to do most anything. For me, as a mother who has a girl, there is a relationship that is different than the boys. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them all the same. But a girl makes you a little more gentle, a little more patient, and a little more self aware of being a woman. You teach her how girls should be treated. You teach her to accept her body type because you accept your extra lumps and bumps. She learns that being cute or pretty is not enough. Girls are also smart, funny and strong. Girls can conquer the world. My daughter will know that she can be a wonderfully powerful force and nothing can stop her in this life.

 

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Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @

kd_2426@Hotmail.com

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