Camp Humble

5 04 2012

This is my idea of camping
(That's Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland)

I, like every mom and dad I know, got into parenting for one reason; the money. No, wait. That’s why I got into junk bonds. (And look how well THAT turned out.) Now why did I get into parenting again? Oh yeah, for the rewards. Not the monetary kind, mind you, but the kind you get when you actually do something with your kids. And when I say “do something” I don’t mean stick them in front of an XBox 360 while you have margaritas out back with the other moms in the neighborhood (although that’s a thought).

No, what I mean is to actually go somewhere and do something that both adults and the small fry will enjoy. A Disney Cruise comes to mind, but since most of us have already maxed our second and third home equity lines of credit, you might want to start smaller. Disneyland itself is always an option, but unless all the kids in your family are all over 48 inches tall, either Mom or Dad is going to be sitting out Space Mountain with a crying short person, while everyone else in the family repeatedly rides it until they all have herniated necks. Besides Disneyland isn’t cheap anymore either. A family of four might as well look into what it costs to go up in the Space Shuttle instead.

I guess cholesterol doesn't count if you ingest it while camping

For inexpensive family fun, it’s hard to beat the good, old stand-by…camping. Camping is not only a wonderful way to force interaction with your family, it’s also a great source of entertainment for the kids when they get to watch Dad (the pencil pusher) pitch a tent and start a fire with two sticks that aren’t matches. Even if Dad was an Eagle Scout, remember that was a long time ago. The knowledge behind merit badges earned in 1978 has an expiration date of about 1998 whether Dad wants to admit it or not.

Mom’s also a laugh a minute on a camping trip. Kids, if you really want to see that vein pop out in her forehead, don’t forget to ask her why her rear end looks so big in hiking shorts, and by the way, what are all those purple and blue lines all over your legs? After Mom engages in a delicate discussion of the word “varicose” with a fourth grader, there’s always the joy of cooking over an open fire, only to hear “You promised us In-N-Out Burger on this trip.”

Now THIS is roughing it

So where’s the joy in camping with your kids? Okay, here it is. Nothing endears you more to your children than looking like a buffoon in front them. These little people think you are the most amazing thing next to God. Everyday you miraculously solve all their problems ranging from Math Olympiad to “Why is my brother such an idiot.” In their inexperienced eyes, you are infallible. That can be pretty intimidating, and as we’ve all read in our millions of parenting books, intimidation does not equal respect. Letting your child watch you fail, and then laugh about it, will probably make you even more extraordinary to them. There’s nothing wrong with your child seeing you struggle outside your element, because let’s face it, we all struggle everyday (but they’re at school so they don’t get to witness it). And what better gift can you give your kid than to show him the world doesn’t end if your marshmallow falls off your stick into the campfire.

So yes, camping is a cheap way to get your family together and at the same time reveal your human side to your kids. And if you’re a great camper, well, then you’re just going to have to find some other way to look like a goober in front of your children. Fortunately, there’s always bowling and the skateboard park as back-ups.

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Did you like this post? If so, please click on the banner below to vote for me as a Top Mommy Blogger on TopMommyBlogger.com. I don’t win anything except a higher search engine ranking, plus bragging rights to my kids that I’m not as dorky as they think. (Okay, well maybe I am that dorky, but at least I’ll be easier to find on the Web.)

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“Camp Humble” is an excerpt from Stacy’s hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.


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21 responses

5 04 2012
Dee Macaluso

So funny! And true! Your kids look a lot happier in their rain ponchos than mine ever did. Maybe because we never took a camping trip when they didn’t need them.

5 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

You can’t NOT have a good time at Disneyland, even when it’s raining. Plus, my husband and I had a GREAT time camping out at the bar in the Disneyland Hotel after the kids went to bed.

5 04 2012
bestintentionsmom

Too funny! We haven’t gone camping with ours yet but it looks like this year they are old enough to give it a shot. I am looking forward to it even though I am absolutely certain I will be a total moron trying to remember how to put the tent together, etc.

6 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Letting them watch you (and help) put the tent up will be one of the entertainment highlights for them. Trust me, they’ll be talking about it for years to come. My kids still do, and every year their stories about how inept my husband and I were at camping in general get bigger and bigger, much to their hilarity.

5 04 2012
Finally... Wendy Wanders

I totally agree. Camping with the kids when they were young was usually a blast, except for the occasional poison ivy outbreak or the wild banshee child running around that never seemed to be attached to a parent. But even that was an ego boost as it highlighted how remarkable my parenting skills were… lol.

As for these days, I’ll take the hammock and that margarita you mentioned please. 🙂

5 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

My husband and I had a camping phase for a while with the kids where we actually “camped” in a 1978 Winnebago that we bought used. I was determined not to have to rough it. We even had a cappuccino machine in the darn thing. But then we ended up roughing it anyway when it kept breaking down on the road. It’s a testament to my character that my husband and I are still married.

Ah yes, nothing beats a hammock and a Margarita.

5 04 2012
MJ, Nonstepmom

uh, yes…..the ‘rewards’……parenting……(it sounds better the way you say it)….

5 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Shhh. Don’t give my secret away, MJ. The “rewards of parenting” sounds much better than “Misery loves company, so I want all my friends to have kids at the same time as me. That way I’m not left behind.”

It worked. I took all my buddies with me down the rabbit hole and now we all have teenagers. Hence the Margaritas.

5 04 2012
annettevelarde

Hey – I’ve got Margarita’s going. Can your kids bring the video games?

5 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Heck, let’s just skip the video games…and the kids. I’ll be right over for Margaritas.

6 04 2012
Jinx Morgan

Why does that hammock look so familiar?
Love, Nona

6 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Because we LOVE “camping” out on one of the many verandas available to us when we come visit you! (Which, by the way, has been has not been often enough over the last few years.) xoxoxo

6 04 2012
creatorofstuff

I don’t even have to go camping to look like a dork in front of my kids.

9 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I don’t either. Usually a simple “Good morning” will do it.

8 04 2012
The Waiting

We always went camping at a fishing “resort” in Arkansas. One year my family sprang for the delux trailer you could rent on the grounds. Yesseree, we are classy stock!

9 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

At the risk of offending some people, isn’t placing the words “Arkansas” and “resort” in the same sentence an oxymoron? Although, I must say…a resort on “wheels” is an interesting concept!

9 04 2012
Drangedinaz

I always enjoy your posts. I gave you an award over at my site, the ABC – Awesome Blog Content Award.  Check out my post to see how to pass it on – http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-abc-award/

9 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Tina, for giving me the ABC Award. I like your blog, too! I really appreciate that you read my blog and that you have placed me in such high regard with your other picks. I will definitely check them out. Thanks again!

9 04 2012
metan

We have just got back from an Easter in the bush and have been taking the boys camping since they were tiny babies. We have found the trick is to stay away from large campgrounds. When there are other people around there is a good chance that there will be a high proportion of the type of people you went all that way to get away from!

20 04 2012
martinisandminivans

Great blog! I actually wrote today about my first camping experience and my Disney connection – too funny. I love your take on it. Our camping included a tornado warning. Needless to say, I haven’t been camping since. If you want to read it, check it out at http://www.martinisandminivans.com

20 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by my blog. Yes, family camping is always a great source of comedy. Hilarity ensues when you get the family out of their element and watch them struggle. Although for my family (when I was little) that could happen for something as simple as going to the grocery store.

I will definitely out your blog. And BTW, I love your handle: martinisandminivans. Very funny!

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