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, 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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