How Parenting is Like Camping

All the parents who hate the dirt, bugs, and lack of showers implicit in camping already know from the title why having children is like camping. Dirt. Bugs. Lack of showers.

But I feel the need to expand a bit more for those who have not experienced the wilderness joys of small children.

1. If it’s not locked up, wild things will eat it.
My toddler climbing the fridge to eat what’s in the freezer = your teen eating a week’s worth of groceries in one sitting = bears. They all need it, they all want it, and they all *will* get it unless it’s properly stored.

2. You’ll be surprised at the end of a day how much dirt can get on one person.

3. Rain is the least of your worries.

4. You will learn to handle bugs. Don’t care if you like ’em or hate ’em. Children and camping are both inextricably linked with bugs.

4. People tend to plan for the first day (year) and forget to brace for the third. If this blog teaches you nothing else, let it be that Year (day) Three is the hardest.

5. Someone won’t like the food.

6. You’ll get less sleep than you think.
Nope. Even less than that.

7. The fun is exhausting. So are the frustrations. So is the worrying.

8. You can never have too many washcloths.

9. When you forget sunscreen or bug spray, bad things happen.

10. No matter how prepared you are, you’ll forget at least one thing.

11. No matter how many times you’ve done this, at least one really obvious thing will surprise you.

12. Good luck using the phone, shower, or bed.

13. It will be your most ____________ experience ever.
(You fill in the blank. Rewarding? Amazing? Annoying? Memorable? Frustrating? Give me a status update on your camping or parenting below.)

13 thoughts on “How Parenting is Like Camping

  1. This is a fantastic way to describe parenting, especially parenting boys! Once upon a time I wrote a post about my MIL sharing with me that my youngest son had put a caterpillar in my bed because he wanted him to have the softest bed in the house – he deserved it because he was a pretty caterpillar! I had the creeps for weeks just knowing I was going to wake up with a caterpillar on my nose…
    And the eating??? My boys are ONLY 6 and 7 and I already can’t keep enough food in the house. I’m thinking soon we’ll be homeless so that I can afford to feed them!

  2. Yep. To every item.
    Threes. Dude. No one old me! Everyone is too busy talking about the freakin’ twos! I’m lodging a formal complaint with the Ranger.
    As for the madlib, all of the above, every day.

    • Ahem.
      I was raised never to say this, but since you gave me the opening by saying no one told you…*I* told you. I believe I even wrote something like “nobody else will tell you, but I will…Three is so horrible you’ll cry every night.”
      Something like that.
      Twos are annoying. Threes are HARD.CORE.

    • Three brought me to my knees. And I have a two-and-a-half. I have to admit I’m ter.ri.fied. to go through it again.

      But I really, really like 6. With a few caveats. So I’ll drink myself into a stupor for next year, and come out of it when Butter hits 4. Or maybe 5.

      Glad you are here, Alexandra. I just wish your blog would accept my comments. I’ll keep trying.

  3. My oldest is 2.66. At 2.5 his brain short-circuited and he turned on us. Lots of angry and crying and drinking (2/3 for him, 3/3 for me). Its “NO! I DON’T WANNU” from way-before-dawn til way-too-late-past-dusk. You tell me 3 is worse? I am really really frightened.

    • Of course, all children are different. Some have painfully awful phases at Two or at Four. Or both. But in my limited experience, Three is a maelstrom of language and independence and fear and lack of emotional control that makes Three Year Olds a special circle of Hell that Dante couldn’t even imagine.
      I’m sure your son won’t have rough Threes. I’m just saying for future reference that everyone else does. ;-)

  4. Please stop!! My son is only a bit more than 14 months old and he is already having tantrums like hell!!!! Guess I have to leave him at his grandma’s for… a year.

    • Let’s see…14 months to 5 years = I think four years at grandma’s is better. On and off for four years? You miss the adorable that way, but you’ll also miss the *insane*. Every kid is different. Some freak the hell out at Two and some lose it at Four, but the conventional wisdom among my friends is Terrible Twos, Throw Me Under the Bus Threes, and F***ing Fours. But at least you’re not alone.
      Good luck! ;-)
      And try sign language. Works WONDERS until they speak really well.

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