Hold on, Let me Just Wipe This Puke Off My Kid’s Face… The Realities of Parenting in the Outdoors.
Camping and adventures are full of ugly realities and experiences that aren’t always the glam that you see on social media. However, those small moments experienced in the great outdoors make the experience completely worth the crap (metaphoric and literal) that you go through on occasion.
You are not alone in your struggles. Let’s vent for a moment shall we?
Outdoors are HARD.
Everything becomes 10x harder with a kid in general. Then throw in some outdoor adventures and you suddenly have books worth of writing material, whether it be funny, disgusting, helpful, or “you are not alone parents!”.
The most simple things turn into a full on workout: Putting shoes on, eating food, sleeping, going to the bathroom…alone…without a little person sitting on your lap while you pee, making sure your child doesn’t die in a fire, etc.
The realities of parenting in the outdoors are not always what you see on social media.
You don’t see pictures of parents struggling to get their kids to enjoy the hike or dragging them by their limbs.
You don’t see pictures of the meltdowns because you won’t allow your child to throw rocks at people.
You don’t see the fact that sometimes we drive one hour to a trail only to make it 200 yards before having to go back to the car.
Nor do you see pictures of pure exhaustion from lack of sleep while camping.
Let me Prepare You for the Realities of Parenting in the Outdoors:
Expect Problems to Occur
Problems will definitely occur, and it’s best to just know that right up front. Problems you never even thought about will occur. It’s best to just be flexible, and not freak out when something does happen.
Yes, you will be packing your car to the brim of stuff you may never use. You might be thinking, “Hells bells, I am only going camping for one night, do I really need 87 blankets?”
Yes. Yes you do. Over Prepare.
For instance, it is very difficult to ever get your kid to take a nap if you are in the outdoors. I suggest a hammock. It is the only thing I could get to put my kid to sleep because we can rock in it, and it is very comfy!
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Over prepare because you never know when “sh*t is going to hit the fan”.
Here’s an Example.
On our latest adventure, my almost two year old and I finally made it up to Bridger Lake after going 40 miles off course. The drive through Wyoming is miserable. You all know this even though you may have never been there before. Horrible drive.
I set up our tent, get us some food, finally calm the screaming/tired child and get him to lay down next to me with the lights off, and we are ready to go to sleep. VICTORY!
Then I hear a funny sound.. a heaving/gagging sound. I jolt up and start to yell”NNnnn…!”
All over every blanket we brought, the sleeping bag we borrowed from my aunt (still sorry about that), the sheet, the air mattress, his pillow, HIS FACE. The poor kid’s face was completely covered. He could barely open his eyes, his eye lashes were soaked, every inch of his pajamas were completely drenched with puke.
I left him in the tent and ran out to where my family sat roasting marshmallows to find those wipes.
“Hey Rach come join us!”
“Hold on…I have to wipe the puke off my kid’s face.” Actively searching for the wipes they looked at me not knowing if they can or want to help with that situation. Still searching…WHERE ARE THE FREAKING WIPES?
Oh they are back in the tent of course. I am an IDIOT. The kid is screaming from the burn in his eyes. After getting his face clean and his pajamas off, I look at that adorable face, now smiling, and ask, “Feel better?” He giggles.
All of our blankets are now disgusting. I wiped them off as best I could, but the night is freezing so they will not dry. Cuddle time to keep warm!
We managed though. We are alive and well.
If I had over prepared I would have been a bit better off.
Be Prepared to Ask For Help
I probably should have asked for help long before then. There’s always that pride issue.
Luckily the second night we slept in my aunt’s trailer with dry blankets and no puke. People will help if you let them. Go hiking with other people who also have kids. They are more willing to help you out because they know how it is and can empathize.
Many people have the same goal: To help their kids unplug a bit, and enjoy the beauty of the earth. It is completely possible and well worth it. Fight through the tough times to get those amazing experiences.
The realities of parenting in the outdoors are hard. The glam comes in small moments that are world changing. Keep trudging parents! Sometimes ya just gotta laugh. Enjoy the crappy parts as well as the magical ones.