Everyone is Lying or We’re Doing it Wrong

Betsy and I just got back from camping with our three kids. It was one night. In a yurt. And it sucked. I’d like to think I’m not alone in the abhorrence of camping with small children. And yet, according to social media, I’m doing something wrong.

I grew up camping and have very fond memories of it. As an adult I feel okay about it. It’s great when there are a lot of people to share the work, less fun when it’s was just Betsy and me.

Every Spring Betsy proposes going camping with the kids. Last year she even “practiced” by sleeping with the big kids in a tent. When March rolled around I was ready for her enthusiastic pitch to go camping. I caved. All these friends made it look easy. Surely, we could handle it for one night in a yurt. I could not have been more wrong. I’m just going to throw out a list of why “What the fuck was I thinking” went through my head about a thousand times in the 16 hours (that’s all we lasted) we were roughing it. (Some of these apply to children, others just camping in general.)

  1. Given the growing population of Colorado, you have to book a site roughly six years in advance. If the forecast calls for hail two days before your trip you’re screwed. But of course you don’t want to waste your site so you agree to go anyway. Because nothing is more outdoorsy than sitting in a yurt for hours while in rains and hails.
  2. I have pee anxiety. I pee before getting into my sleeping bag and if I don’t fall asleep right away I lay awake thinking about whether or not I should go pee again. Which is a vicious cycle of thinking about going pee, conceding and going pee, hoping to fall asleep, and then thinking about going pee again. On repeat.
  3. Cooking a meal takes forever. So when trying to feed three kids dinner you should start cooking around 3:30PM.
  4. How the fuck do you get three toddlers to fall asleep at a decent hour in a 100 sq ft space? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
  5. How do you keep three toddlers entertained in a tent or yurt when it’s pouring rain for hours? Puzzles. Check. Games. Check. Coloring. Check. I didn’t go camping to do the same shit I can do in my living room.
  6. How do you warm milk at 1AM when the baby decides he needs a bottle? Sit in the car with the heat on at full blast hoping it warms up before he wakes the other kids with his screaming.
  7. One of the kids will wake up at 5:30AM. Which in turn wakes up everyone else. So now you have three kids that have gone to bed at 10PM and wake at 5:30AM. Not sure how your kids handle life with less than 10 hours of sleep but mine are tiny devils. Tiny devils in a yurt with nothing to do. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
  8. Things one year olds love; fire pits, crawling on camp chairs, falling off of camp chairs.

I’m sure there are more, but I’m too sleep deprived to think of them. Point being, those Instagram pics are lies. Camping with toddlers and babies isn’t glamorous. It’s terrible. And if no one else will tell you, I will.

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