I stopped "entertaining" my kids- this is what happened.
My husband had this idea to borrow an RV from a family at church so we can go "camping." The reason I put it in quotations is because as you know sleeping in a comfortable mattress in a small house that has electricity and a microwave is technically not camping. From now on that's the only kind of camping I want to do haha!
Day one of camping: we come to the campsite and plug in our RV to electricity and water and we have a fire and have Smore's. Yum! The kids get soot and sand all over their little hands. They love the taste of nature all over their marshmallows I guess. My son, who is two, was already ready to go home. "Home" he kept saying. I kept having to remind him that the RV was "home" for the next two nights.
I only brought two boxes of library books for the kids' entertainment for two days. I meant to bring more toys, or even DVDs, but with a photo shoot that morning before I went camping, my brain was not functioning.
Day two: we took a walk to the local beach area. We had forgotten to bring beach chairs, or beach blankets or even beach toys. The kids weren't even wearing their swimsuits. Shame on us! You couldn't believe how much fun the kids had just getting dirty and wet! They wanted to stay there all day!
I got back "home" and we just sat around the campfire and talked with our Grandma and Papa who can over for a visit. The kids entertained themselves by playing in the sand under the picnic table and finding random seashells.
We thought that it would be fun to go out for pizza and do a mini golf that night. But what we ended up finding out that going to a place and creating "entertainment" for the kids actually was more work. A lot more work.
My daughter cried the whole time that she was at the mini golf course and my sons didn't even enjoy it. My older son was half asleep the whole time because he had just woken up from a nap.
I was trying to take pictures and entertain my older son enough to keep him from throwing his ball into the pond. Meanwhile, my husband held our one month old in a baby carrier, and tried to keep my daughter happy while playing mini golf and trying to teach her the rules. Of course it was all too competitive for her and she didn't understand why she kept losing. She just crawled in the fetal position and cried half the time and we had to let people play through us.
I thought it would be a good idea to get ice cream and funnel cake- but the whole time my kids fought over which side of the ice cream they wanted to eat, and how many funnel cake pieces they could both eat. Of course in their fighting they left barely anything for mom and dad.
At the pizza place of course the pizza took too long and my kids are getting antsy. The cheese was too hot, the drinks were too cold, and of course the air-conditioning was up too high. My kids started shivering in the booth while eating their hot pizza and drinking their cold lemonade.
All I wanted to do is go back to the peaceful beach and just have them play with seashells and get dirty- at least I wouldn't have to hear them fight. The last day of the trip came and of course it was raining. Since we already had a membership to the aquarium, we thought that it would be a good place to spend a rainy morning. So did everyone else in Virginia Beach. The place was so crowded with kids screaming and having meltdowns it was difficult to even do anything.
I felt like such a failure. I was exhausted when I came home. All of our planning, trying to do the "right things" for our family and I felt like all we did was deal with drama.
----- Honestly traveling anywhere with children is a huge hassle and a headache. Sometimes I think it's more trouble than what it's worth. I felt like all I did all weekend was brush sand out of the RV, cleanup poopy diapers, referee fighting matches between kids and nurse through the night. Honestly, our "staycation" was more a "workcation." Can I get an "amen," moms? ------
We were so busy playing outside and collecting seashells on the trip that I didn't even hear the dreaded "b" word- bored. But as soon as we tried to go somewhere, then the B word started coming out- in different ways. My daughter would say "It's taking too long." ----- So what was the point of all of this staycation/workcation? Was it to entertain our family or to entertain our kids? Or was there a deeper meaning? How about learning to have memories even in all the chaos. Or about finding peace even in tears.
Just like my kids spending hours digging for seashells and not caring if there were toys- maybe just being okay with simple pleasures is a treasure. Maybe instead of trying to be "parent of the year" and trying to make memories happen through going places and seeing sights, maybe just sitting around a campfire is the most "entertainment" that my kids need to really be complete. -----
I remember on the last night of our trip, I tucked my daughter in and I kissed her good night. I asked her what her favorite thing she did all weekend. She didn't say the aquarium, or the ice cream, or the funnel cake or the pizza place, or the mini golf, she just said hanging out in the RV and going to the beach. If I would've known that those things we're going to be her favorite things to do, we could've saved a lot of money and not gone anywhere. Oh what I have learned as a parent.
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