Summer Camps: What The F*#$%?!

I am often reminded about the many luxuries 21st century moms have that make our lives easier than the lives of our mothers and grandmothers.

Like, for instance, my mother did not have a baby monitor — not even one with JUST sound. A video monitor?! Not even fathomable. Also, and this one floors me, she did not have the luxury of baby wipes! What on earth did she use to wipe our butts? (Never mind our hands, faces, arms, church clothes, spills in the car…) I sort of don’t want to know what she used / how she wiped our butts though, so let’s move on.

Despite the fact that mommies of today have mini-vans with back-up cameras and doors that open automatically, what’s inside those vans proves my next point. Although mommies of today have it a lot easier, things are a hell of a lot more complicated for us as well. Check out our car seats! They weigh 30 lbs, require a 2 hour training course on installation, and our kids need to be in them pretty much until they are in the driver’s seat themselves. Compared to the 1980s… you know the scene: rolling around in the “way back” of the station wagon. Not buckled. Certainly NOT in a car seat unless you were a baby. Or you were in the front seat, where you were allowed to fiddle with the radio. (MAYBE your car had a cassette player. Fancy!)
Lives of mommies of decades past were harder, but they were also simpler. This has never been more apparent to me than in the past week as I finally began the arduous process of deciding on summer camps. Holy crap! People! Seriously with the summer camps?!
Growing up, we went to summer camp. It was free. It was called: Go outside and play. Come back when hungry. Full? Good. Go back outside and play. And repeat.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a mom, I am a fan of the summer camp. The idea of having a place to park my kids for a few hours every day for a week… sounds marvelous. So let’s do this. I start with my town’s Parks and Recreation camp catalogue. I am instantly overwhelmed. There are, of course, baseball camps, soccer camps, arts and crafts camps, and even the dreaded dodgeball camp. However, did you know that there are also camps like these?
Fencing Camp (like, the sport of fencing)
Tree Climbing Camp
Jedi Stunt Training Camp
Frozen Princess Camp
Taylor Swift Music Camp
Video Game Camp
Fiesta! Camp (a.k.a. foreign language camp)
I mean, are you kidding??!! Tree climbing CAMP?!
Also, as I quickly learned, there are camps through my town’s Parks and Rec department. There are also camps available to me through the neighboring 5 towns’ Parks and Rec departments. And finally, and this is the fattest catalogue of them all, our entire county has its OWN Parks and Rec camps. And those are JUST those run through all of the Parks and Rec departments! It seems there are also 2,523 privately run camps within a 30 mile radius of my house.
I spent more time than I will admit agonizing over which camp to put my children in. My 5-year old son is ready for a camp, but my 3-year old daughter — let’s be honest — is only doing one because her brother and friends are. When my son was 3, we never considered camp because he was our oldest, only 3, and still peeing his pants pretty regularly. Well now she is 3… and is also still peeing HER pants pretty regularly.  Nevertheless, summer camp, here we come!
As I nostalgically think of my simple, happy, carefree childhood, I like to think of what summer camps for girls would have looked like in the 80s. Here is my list:
Jem and the MisFits Camp
Rainbow Brite Camp
Punky Brewster Camp
Proper French-rolling of Pants Camp
Hair Crimping Camp
Cabbage Patch Dolls Camp
Hungry Hungry Hippos Camp
I would have kicked ass at French-rolling of Pants Camp.

This post was originally featured on Karen’s blog, 21st Centry SAHM. Photo via

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