From The Outside Looking In
Last weekend I loaded up my vehicle with as much camping gear as I could, and the kids, and headed up into the mountains. I left a list of things for my husband to pick up after work before he joined us (because bedding and camp chairs for seven people takes up a lot of space and it doesn’t all fit in our SUV!). I was going to be an independent woman and get everything done that I could before he got there.
If you’ve been a bystander and arrived when my husband did, you would’ve thought that I had accomplished it. I had picked out a lovely site to camp. The tent was up and our vehicle unloaded. There was a laundry line with wet bathing suits and towels hanging on it showing that I had taken the kids to the river to have some fun. The fire was going and dinner was cooking on the camp stove. It looked like the picture of a serene, perfect camping trip. I had done all this with my five kids in tow, one of them only five weeks old.
|My crew and I|
But let’s take out the magnifying glass and look closer.
Let’s look at how I hustled and nagged the kids to get everything together and get out the door that morning, and we were still an hour later than I wanted to be. I had to apologize for how frustrated I had gotten with them.
We had picked out a great camping site, but that’s because we’d been driven out of my first choice by a swarm of mosquitoes. The mosquitoes were at this site too, which is why I had to let the baby cry while I frantically put up the tent so we could change into our swim suits and head down to the river to escape the bugs. That was a stressful ten minutes! I’m thankful for my two big girls that helped me.
After the river everyone was starving so I tried to make a fire for hotdogs. It took three attempts. I hadn’t brought any wood with me, so I had to gather from what was around the campsite, and it was pretty slim pickings to find twigs that were not green. As soon as I would get a few poor pathetic flames going, I would leave them to check on the zucchini that was sautéing on the camp stove and my little ones would try to help by either loading too much wood on the fire or blowing it completely out (because they knew that fire needs air, fuel, and heat from our science lessons). It’s pretty comic to think back on it now, but it was frustrating at the time! Especially since the pesky mosquitoes were still buzzing around and biting us in spite of our essential oil bug repellent.
If you had arrived when my husband did, you wouldn’t have seen the whole picture. And if you look at my pictures of our trip on Facebook, you won’t see the whole picture. You won’t see the mosquitos or the grouchy mama moments or the squabbling kids or the fussy baby moment. You’ll see smiling kids swimming at the river and making s’mores around the campfire.
|My hubby and kids had the chore of breaking down the tent. I'd been traumatized by putting it up, haha!|
It’s not that I’m trying to deceive the world into thinking we only have good trips and I have it perfectly all together. It’s just that, who’s going to want to look back five years from now to the negative parts of the trip? I hope that’s not what my kids will remember! And who has time to take pictures when they’re totally stressed out, anyway? And if I did post all the negative things, I’d probably get feedback about being a whiner. I don't want to be like that.
Nobody has it all together, mamas. It may look like some do, but you aren’t seeing the whole picture (especially if you are judging their life by what you see on social media!). I feel extremely under qualified to write this blog, but it has helped me because most of the time I am preaching the message that I need to hear to myself as well as trying to encourage you.
You are loved. You are worthy. You are doing a good job. It doesn't have to look perfect (and it can't). Keep it up!