Three reasons to NOT live with your family Full-Time in a camper:
- You do not like challenges in marriage, parenting or organizing
- You are not fond of confrontation with your spouse or children
- You are not willing to change your perspective, attitude or grow in faith
It seems that we have learned a lot in the five months that we have been traveling full-time in our motor coach. Living in an RV full-time may not be for you if you have no desire to work on the following. We have learned that our spiritual strength needs work, communication is key to any successful relationship and that no matter where you live or what you live in, parenting is extremely challenging. Going into this little adventure we knew there would be times that it would not be all beautiful scenery and magical moments around every corner. We knew that there would be times that we would find it difficult and overwhelming. Finding out that we were expecting was just another added element to our already unique situation. What is even funnier is that our situation is not that unique anymore.
It has been our experience that our plans are not always going to work out just how we envisioned them. God’s plans are by far greater than our own. God does not usually just give us the faith we so desperately seek but He gives us the opportunity to exercise the little faith we have so that it can be grown into something greater. You can thank actor Morgan Freeman as God in the movie Evan Almighty for that spiritual nugget. Just the sheer leap of faith it took to buy our camper and set on the road packed with nothing but YouTube knowledge was a miracle only God could have provided. Alas here we are living within three hundred square feet reflecting upon our trip in such amazement. We have survived fairly unscathed and completely transformed. While living at home we attended mass, we practiced our faith with bare minimum qualifications but always strived to be better. Stripping away from our community, commitments and all of our stuff gave us a blank slate to rewrite our life. I wanted a more faith filled formation in our home as God as our center, I wanted more time together and a greater focus on my husband and children. My relationship with God will always need work and will always need to be cultivated. This experience has given me permission to lay down my burdens and focus completely on Him and as a result my relationships with my family have come into focus much more clearly.
“An Adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
– G. K. Chesterton
I just heard this quote in a homily the other day and no other words have rang more true about our lifestyle. I knew that leaving my family and friends would just be difficult and I knew that I would miss them, but I did not realize how much I really needed time away from my everyday distractions to focus. It has been a true gift to have this sacred time with my husband and children. We have experienced things together that I never dreamed would be possible. I was able to really see their faces when witnessing the beauty of this country we had only viewed in pictures or videos. Experiencing things together has been the best part of our travels. Just waking up knowing that my husband doesn’t need to join the morning rat race and can start the morning with us has been the biggest dream come true. I only thought that we had been communicating effectively while living in a house. I realized how much we tend to let go and not address when we have a corner of the house where we can escape, or by rushing off to work, a meeting or event. Overtime we tend to forget and minimize whatever situation has been swept to the side. Spending so much time disconnected from my husband allowed for huge gaps in our relationship. As we came together in the camper, we had to learn new roles as husband and wife and as full-time parents. We had to confront our troubles quickly and learn how to communicate again so that we could be better for each other and our family. I have always co-parented with my husband but we have not always been co-workers. Working side by side in everyday tasks can cause a number of issues especially in a small space. We are still working it out and figuring out what works best for all of us. The best part is that we both recognize that we need to change in order to work together well.
As the primary stay at home parent, it was up to me to discipline while still tending to the needs of everyone else in the house. I would shortly address the problem most days and then go about the daily chores. At times I would let my frustrations and anger take over and just give up the fight with whichever child was rocking the boat. Sometimes we would circle back and talk about the issue if I remembered. With both of us in the home we are able to tag team. If I felt myself getting frustrated I am able to rely on my husband to sub me out for a break. Usually his calm, assertive demeanor is just what my strong-willed child needs to help work through the issue. Even as I write this I am experiencing challenges with my children, I am sure veteran parents can attest to the fact that it is never ending. The only thing that I can really change is myself and awareness to what I need. I know that I always need God. Most of the time I have walked away and changed the scenery to deal with a problem. In this camper sometimes there is not a place to just walk away. Thankfully our RV sites have some beautiful walking areas for reflection. I am learning that I need to walk closer to God in order to lean into the challenges at home. The challenges need my attention and my husbands attention and a faithful attitude to work through them. It is how we grow, it is how anything grows. With time and the right attention we can all flourish.
I thought that our RV trip around the country would be a grand adventure with exciting sites and grand views. It really has been such a dream to wake up to mountains and lake views. The real gift of this experience has been turning my attention inward towards myself, my family and most importantly towards God. My faith is stronger but can always be tested with distractions outside the home, my communication can always get interrupted or misinterpreted and of course parenting will never end. I pray that perhaps you can let go of something that might be distracting you from leaning in to the challenge of growing your faith, communicating with your husband or being present for your children. Here’s another post at just over 3 months. Check it out to see how perspectives change!