Our dream single parent family vacation!

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Until recently I had never heard of a family camp. I guess I had no reason to tune into that even though I’ve been a longtime lover of camping and backpacking. But now! I’M SO GLAD THIS EXISTS! Imagine arriving at your campground and your tent is already set up. Three meals per day cooked for you. And dishes washed for you. A safe community in the woods where the kids can run around in packs and everyone looks out for each other. Arts and crafts time for toddlers though teens from 9am to noon everyday. Meaning you can drop your child off to have a great time with a bunch of kids and the most amazing camp counselors and you can…go back to bed, read a book, do some yoga, go for a hike or bike ride, etc etc etc.

Well, I heard about this and it sounded too good to be true. I decided to check it out anyway and we have lived to tell you that it was sooooooooo awesome. I cannot wait to go back next year (and for a longer trip!) It was a single parents dream and the joy on my child’s face at waking up in a tent everyday was priceless. And two weeks later he is still singing the campfire songs and doing impressions of the talent show performers! It’s hilarious. Also! First s’more!!!

If you want to see if there is a family camp near you, check out this list I found on Babble. Highly enjoyed and highly recommended!

My two favorite parenting books + what I’ve read lately

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Recently, on a local parenting listserv, someone asked the community to post about what their favorite parenting how-to guides were. They were looking for something along the lines of how-to diaper, how to soothe, etc. I thought back to when my baby was a newborn and I can say without a doubt that the two most important books during that time have little to nothing to do with that kind of how-to. My two most important parenting books hands down have been Nurtureshock and Amazing Babies. A close third would be a book on baby signs. I read some other books on sleep and the postpartum period but for me a good old internet search would have been a much better use of time. Now that I have a 28 month old I can say these two books have been what I’ve needed most to reassure me about my child’s development, raise my consciousness about how I talk to my child (and what we talk about) and give me a good dose of self awareness about what I say in front of him.

I’ve read two other books lately that I would highly recommend. One is Living in the Shadow of the Cross about the Christian roots of white supremacy. It’s a fascinating read and not at all and attack on Christians as a whole – but a really interesting look at the history of Christianity and how it affects lives all over the globe everyday. It’s another one of those books that makes me feel more prepared to help my child understand the world.

A lighter read that I recently enjoyed during our recent camping trip is After Birth. It’s a story about a couple of new moms and I could relate to a good portion of it. It’s funny and thought provoking. Makes you think about the person you were before you had your child…

And I’m super excited to pick up a copy of this one today after my toddler wakes up from napping. I predict a late night of reading tonight!

*All this talk about books lately reminded me of a conversation with another single mom about a year ago. We got to talking about books and at the time I was reading several books per week. This other mom was amazed and dismayed at that fact because she hadn’t finished a book since before her son was born. I was amazed and dismayed at the fact that she had a super clean house and made elaborate meals and snacks for her child. Another reminder that you cannot do it all!

I like this explanation for why my home is a mess.

“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.” (from Women Who Run With Wolves)

I know a woman who used to organize mom’s groups. The group would rotate through meeting at the homes of each of the participants. With each new group the organizer would always volunteer her home to be the site of the first meeting. She told me she would very purposefully stifle her urge to frenetically try to straighten everything up and hide the messes so that all of the new moms could see that things being messy was normal – and that the tone was set that they weren’t there to impress each other on the surface but to truly connect. To see and be there for each other. She said it never failed – it was always the best icebreaker with the women chiming in at how relieved they were that they knew they wouldn’t have to shine and polish their homes for each other. How great is that? For being real with each other and for letting our priorities be very visible? I dig it. And I wish her mom’s groups were still going!

Check out Women Who Run With the Wolves. You can read it instead of cleaning your house.