Everyone needs a little time away from reality once in a while. A chunk of time away from the rat race of life. A time to step away from the laundry, and the cooking, the cleaning. Time to turn “off” just for a bit….
Having a Mom’s Night Out is a popular way to escape for a few hours; the occasional Mom’s Weekend is great as well (if the stars align and you can somehow pull that together!). Recently, I was invited to a Mother and Child Weekend Camp at the Boone YMCA camp. My good friend from high school and her two girls had gone in the past and had had a wonderful time, and she thought the boys and I would enjoy it as well.
There’s a new thought… getting away from it all with my kids! Hmm… maybe my kids need an escape as well!
Well, when I found out that I had the boys for that weekend, I immediately called up and registered for some good ol’ fashioned outdoor camping fun! Giddy seems like a tame way to describe how excited I was when I saw the itinerary and all the activities that were planned. I told the boys of our plans to go camping and they, too, were beside themselves with anticipation.
The Mother and Child Weekend was planned for the middle of October, which can be iffy when it comes to weather. But, the weekend came and it ended up being gorgeous weather and the foliage was peaking in its beauty. Even if the weather hadn’t cooperated, we stayed in cabins that were equipped with heaters, so that was a plus.
When we got up to the Boone YMCA camp, which was a pleasant 45-50 minute drive from West Des Moines, we unloaded our gear and picked out our bunks. We had a bit of time to explore the camp before we had to head back to meet up for some get-to-know-you games with the other moms and their kids. Super fun. After that, the afternoon was ours to choose from activities including archery, fishing, climbing tower, pony rides, and trail rides. (We did them all!)
For dinner, we were treated to a family-style fajita meal. The boys loved it and it was so good to have no responsibility for the preparation and minimal responsibility for cleanup afterwards.
The evening plans included a hayrack ride and a campfire, complete with songs and s’mores. It was wonderful—and huge props to Alex, the man who knows his way around a guitar and wasn’t afraid to belt out Taylor Swift and “Let It Go!” He picked up a few fans that evening.
Breakfast was at 8:00, which allowed us to sleep in a bit (because I certainly wasn’t about to shower and make any effort on my appearance—another plus!). Then we hiked up to a beautiful chapel overlooking the river. The view from up on the ridge was spectacular. When everyone was settled, Alex, our fearless leader, led a few songs and gave a quick sermon that both the kids and the moms could appreciate.
The rest of that morning was spent carving pumpkins and hiking to the lost cabin. My boys did not want to leave! We decided to keep enjoying the beautiful day and weather. We stopped at Pizza Ranch in Boone for lunch and continued on to Ledges State Park for some more exploring and hiking. As we headed home, we had so much fun reflecting on what our favorite part of the weekend was. (We just couldn’t decide on one part!)
The YMCA holds these Mother and Child Weekends (running from Saturday afternoons until Sunday at noon) a few times a year. The dates for the 2015 winter and spring campouts have been set: January 24-25 and May 16-17. (They also hold Father and Child Weekends: January 31-February 1 and May 9-10). These camps are geared for children ages 5-12 and are very reasonably priced. For the three of us to attend it was around $120. (How sweet is that?)
I am very thankful for this weekend I got to “escape” with my boys. We removed ourselves from the day-to-day distractions and got to enjoy God’s creation and fun activities together. I think they needed the time away as much as I did. I truly believe “fun time” with Mom is so important for kids. In fact, I think it is crutial to balance out all those times when we have to be the responsible parent. I urge you, moms of older kids, to find moments in time like this where you can get away, create memories, and let your kids know that you enjoy spending time with them. Maybe I’ll even see you and your kids for the next Mother and Child Weekend?