Last week Sean and I eagerly packed our trailer to join a large group of school friends for camping in Carpinteria. This would be our inaugural trip with our tent trailer.. the entre into “princess camping” and I was ready!! The only glitch was that while Sean was driving up with us to help set up (yay!) he would be heading back home that same night. “No biggie” I thought, “I’ve camped on my own with Lucas and Maya before, and that was real camping, being in the trailer will be easier.”
And it was, at first. Wow, we have running water!! Hot water even! And electricity! It was raining and chilly at first, and we could even plug a space heater in for some extra warmth! I was loving princess camping so far.
Lucas and Maya were also in seventh heaven, running from trailer to trailer doing their own assessments of where the fun was, joining the gang of children in sand play, games, and general outdoor fun. There was a giant bush outside of one trailer which the kids quickly termed “the cave” and they would disappear in there, eager to have a land of their own.
In the excitement of it all, mine and theirs, things began to unravel. Whenever I would try to call the children over to eat or do something, I was met with major resistance and attitude, “What Mooomm??” but my friends are doing something!!!” Lucas who is very friend oriented and social, always had this tendency at school, but here in friend dreamland, it was magnified enormously. And it was worsened by food drama, because we had mostly healthy food while everyone else was eating typical camping food, so there were complaints at every mealtime.
This might be livable (not really) if it were attitude from a teenager, who can take care of themselves. But the fact was that, I was working hard taking care of my “mini-teenagers”, prepping healthy meals, washing dishes, sweeping sand out the camper, keeping the small space clean and organized, not to mention simply helping when they needed help, going to the potty, getting dressed, treating owies, etc. Then there were later nights and my idea of a 7:30pm bedtime (which I need and deserve after a day of solo camping w/ kids) was being pushed to 9:30pm because the festivities continued and it was hard to get Lucas and Maya to leave the party.
Finally, on the third night of being off kilter and extremely tired, I lost my patience in a big way. I yelled at the kids and put myself to bed because there was nothing nice I could say. I hate when I get to this place. But I do know that this helpless anger I feel, is always here to tell me something. The next morning, I left Lucas and Maya with a friend, took my phone to an isolated bluff and called Sean. I told him I wanted to do an anger process and needed him to listen, because we need to work together on this dynamic with the kids. Thankfully, he knows the drill and patiently, lovingly held space for me.
Then I proceeded to let it all out!!! I was mad at them for taking me for granted, for being rude to me, for not appreciating all the work I was doing! And using the Inner Bonding anger process, I also talked about what I was mad at myself about. I was mad that I had allowed them to treat me this way, that I had not been doing what I wanted to do while camping, that I was still doing all these things to make their day fun at my own expense!!
Lately, I have been integrating the concept of living like a Queen, honoring my own power, ‘royalty’ and self-respect, and extending this to honor Maya as a princess, Lucas as a prince, and Sean as a king. It has been a fun way to ensure that we are treating ourselves with utmost respect, honor and integrity.
Well, that morning, it struck me! I am not princess camping, I’m servant camping! And instead I need to Queen camp!! A Queen would not allow this type of treatment. A Queen would insist on loving and respectful interactions or not engage. A Queen would set loving boundaries and ground rules to ensure peace and harmony! A Queen would go to bed when she needed to! And a Queen would take the whole royal family home back to their King/Queendom, rather than hang out in an unhappy forest (i.e we could go home if this was not working out. I was not stuck with unruly subjects).
Now, of course this did not mean being authoritarian, but it did mean being authoritative and setting some clear family rules and boundaries. So this Queen gathered her royal family (sans the King who had heard enough) and let them know what I would do and would not do. I would be happy to stay in our camping Queendom so long as we could work together: speaking kindly, coming when called for, checking in before heading out on activities, coordinating efforts (like potty trips and meal prep and clean up). We also talked about what ‘our family does’ (that others might not) which in this adventure, meant eating mostly healthy meals, taking family time to re-connect, and going to bed at a bedtime that works better for us.
Once I was clear and set loving limits, Lucas and Maya settled into a rhythm. Sure there were still challenging moments, but remembering the Queen in me, helped me to take the high road and connect to my spiritual Guidance in those moments, ensuring royal treatment for all.
I highly recommend nurturing the Queen in you!! And trusting that when the Queen is happy, everyone is happy!