On the Road with My Kids: What I Learned
Sitting atop Scout's Landing in Zion National Park, I dreaded going back to the campsite where I had left my disgruntled 12 and 14 year old kids. On Day 5 of our 8 day road trip, they announced, "We want to go home!"
From Scout's Landing I posted on Facebook, "This is my look of resignation." What would you do, I inquired. I felt like my attempt to travel as a way to build connection with my kids had backfired.
I was surprised by the amount of comments and intrigued by the varying perspectives on parenting.
"Take their phones away."
"Give them a break."
"Stand your ground"
"You are not a failure"
Many people suggested that if I had involved them in the planning, it might have felt more cohesive.
I involved my kids in the planning to the extent that I gave them a list of the places we would be visiting. I invited them to research the areas and suggest fun activities to do. "If you don't make choices, then I will choose for us."
They didn't make choices and then later accused me of being selfish for making them do everything I wanted to do. Catch-22.
I felt backed against a wall. It was a no win situation.
I could bag the trip, surrender control and make my daughter "happy" while simultaneously sending the message that if you throw a big enough fit, you will get what you want.
I could be a hard ass and force them to follow the trip plan and harbor resentment and risk losing all the progress I had made in building relationships with my kids.
We stayed at Zion. I hiked. I enjoyed the creek by our campsite building a lovely spa out of rocks in the water. I took the kids to our one restaurant night out. My daughter chose to sit in the car. On the drive home, I took time to stop and enjoy the scenery despite their complaints.
I cut the trip short by two days and, truthfully, I appreciated the extra time to get settled before jumping back into a work week. My daughter continued her silence even after we arrived home and I sent them off to their Dad's for the week.
In my time of reflection, I have realized a few things:
1. The tools I ended up using to get through the last leg of the trip are mapped out in my book You Are a Supermom.
Self Care. Stay Present. Shift Your Mindset.
Set Healthy Boundaries. and Surrender Control.
2. I was overly ambitious. A shorter trip in less rustic accommodations is better for my family. I will save the outdoor adventures for my solo travels or retreats in the future.
3. It is NOT my job to make my children happy. I can model happiness through the choices I make. They can choose to be happy or stay stuck in a state of scarcity i.e I am not getting what I want so I am going to make everyone else miserable.
4. I am still a supermom. I jokingly created a title for a book sequel
You Are a Supermom: Girl,You Ain't All That!
I felt like such a failure, yet I realized that I was comparing myself to all those happy photo sequences that others post on social media. I remembered that a supermom lives in her fullness. She accepts the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful of her life and she lives in appreciation for everything that arises.
"The truth is, Mom, when your kids see YOU living your dreams,
they will be inspired to do the same." ~ from YOU ARE A SUPERMOM
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