Thursday, June 27, 2013

What I've Learned at "Camp Mom"

To clarify, "Camp Mom" is not a camp that moms go to, although that would be all kinds of awesome!  "Camp Mom" is where I attempt to entertain/occupy my children during various weeks of their summer break from school instead of sending them to camp.  


I know, I know.  You feel sorry for my kids now.  But, I'll have you know that at "Camp Mom" today we went on a field trip to a movie theater where they were having $1 summer movies, only it was one of those movie grill places, so my kids got to eat pizza in a theater WHILE watching the movie How to Train Your Dragon which is WAY better than making lanyards while sitting outside in 100 degree heat.  Just sayin'!

Then today's session of "Camp Mom" ended with the fun that was well-child check-ups for the two boys.  Reading eye charts, being weighed, getting your blood-pressure taken -- what's not to love?!!


And tomorrow?  This is how I phrased it to the kids, "We need to get an allergy shot for the 7 year old, haircuts for the two boys, and if all 5 of us survive all that, then we'll cash in the free ice cream shake coupons you earned in the library summer reading program!"

If I've learned anything as camp counselor it's that incentives (we don't have to call it bribery) help -- always save the fun/best activity for last!  "You guys want to go to the pool?  Okay, sure as soon as you finish your 15 minutes of handwriting practice!"


I have to say we are rockin' the library summer reading program.  The 3 youngest kids have managed to read 30 books; the oldest counts by pages and he's topped 3,000 pages -- amazing!  But, most amazing is that we haven't yet lost a library book; I'm thinking the Mom camp counselor deserves a free shake for that one!  


There are not many pictures from "Camp Mom" because I'm typically too busy counting heads and generally managing the chaos to take pictures.

But, we have hatched dinosaurs:

We've done some thorough cleaning out of a few areas of our house.  (I feel certain at regular camp kids totally miss out on vacuuming under beds and cleaning baseboards!)

We've had some playdates/sleepovers!

We've gotten up early for swim team practice that is now over -- hurray!  Let the sleeping in begin!


There have been times of big fun and times that were the complete opposite of fun!  

Like, taking 4 kids grocery shopping.  I want to like it.  I want to be able to shop with my kids.  I don't want to have to use precious evening or weekend time to do that errand when the stores are more crowded.  But, even if the kids are displaying their most perfect behavior (which only occasionally is the case), just the shear number of people around the cart is a logistical nightmare!  The children are all pretty much too big to ride in the cart, although much to her dismay the 4 year old does typically get forced to ride.  So then there are 3 children either walking next to my cart and thus blocking the aisle for any carts wanting to head in the opposite direction or they are somehow preventing my cart from moving easily.  The whole time I'm like, "Okay, you walk here.  You hold on here.  Wait, now we need to turn left.  Watch out, I don't want to run over your foot!  Honey, that lady needs to pass, you are blocking the aisle."

Then there was the Trader Joe's incident, which is usually a happy place to take the kids because they get to search for Woody and get a prize for finding him and it's smaller so less navigating of the cart, but this week the 6 year old managed to spill his spill-proof cup of water all over the floor in the check-out causing a manager to have to clean it up while the line of people waiting to check out looked on.  At least we lived up to everyone's expectations as they stared at us and thought, "That's too many kids!"


 All in all it's going well and I wouldn't trade this precious time with my kids for anything.  Even as I sat next to a mom at an event recently who was about to send both her kids away to camp for a week and she was musing about what she was going to do while they were away, I wasn't jealous.  Really I was mystified by the idea, like I couldn't really comprehend it.  I just couldn't stop thinking about how crazy it would be to be childless for an entire week!

I even marveled to my husband later about all I could accomplish.  I was like, "World Peace?  No problem.  You give me a week without children and it's DONE!"

Happy Friday, Friends!


  1. I was head counselor for a week of Kids Camp and we made them use brooms and SWEEP under their beds so yours getting to use a vacuum cleaner had it a lot easier. ;-)

  2. I loved this post. You rock as a mom, at least in my eyes. I am happy that your children are READING. I need to start some sort of reading campaign here in Honduras. Of course, the incentives needs to be in place, too.

  3. You sound like a great mom! We have beds with dresser underdrawers so we can't (and don't need to) vacuum under them. Both my boys could use haircuts, and dental appointments, and good stuff like that, but they are currently at XBOX camp, in the the basement, while Mom is at blogging camp, snuggled up in her bed. I am sick though, so I have an excuse.
    This is my first Friday Fragments, so nice to meet you!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  4. I always LOVED the summer library program as a kid... The smell of the place was kinda oddly magical and the huge collection of books always kept me busy for a hour of rest for my mom.

    Love the little dino!

    Happy weekend, jj

  5. Sounds like if you let them go to real camp, you would get some peace, no? I do like your "mom camp" idea though and how you save the most fun thing for last. That's smart!

  6. It sounds like you run the best camp ever. Makes me wanna come and join.


I'd love to hear what you think!