I know we can make this life look so enviable. We shoot and edit photos of beautiful locations, fun adventures, or picturesque roadschool moments and post them to our IG and blogs. We gush in blog posts about how perfect our current location is or how much fun we had at the latest National Park we visited.
The truth is this life can be hard. I share 300 square feet with one adult, one six-year-old, a 65 pound dog that is mostly deaf and mostly blind, and a cat. And this time of year, that adult is only here about 10 days a month.
That means I’m solo-parenting a moody, growing, opinionated, insanely intelligent six-year-old. In 300 square feet. We can’t go to a splash pad every day. We can’t go hike Zion every day. We can’t go to a new park every day. Sometimes it gets boring if we need to have a day of laundry and cleaning or run errands all day.
It gets hard.
The worst part is not having a babysitter. Now, I know most people would say it’s pretty easy to fix that, but I’m not most people. We don’t have any family anywhere near our summer Utah location, and I have pretty high standards about who I’m willing to trust with my child. I think it’s a combination of the struggle it took to have him, knowing he’s the only kid I’ll ever have, and my own anxiety, but I’m not just going to find someone on care.com and cross my fingers that the worst won’t happen.
So, it gets hard.
I’m sure that most days he’s just as ready as I am for a break. He’s done hearing me ask him to put away his toys, or to finish his meal, or to brush his teeth. Some days he just wants to go do something fun. Some days I just want to be able to get my hair cut at the salon that doesn’t allow children. Some days I just wish Ben was here to defuse the situation (#riverguidewifeproblems).
So, it gets hard.
Then, I remind myself how much better this life is for us now.
When we still lived in a big rental house in Southern Arizona I worked full-time as a teacher and yearbook adviser and rarely saw my son. I worked 14-16 hour days teaching literature, helping kids learn to take action sports photos, staying after school until 10PM to chaperone them while they took those photos, and meticulously editing every single letter and punctuation mark in the yearbook. All to help pay the $400+ summer power bills. Now I see him every day and it brings tears to my eyes that I can finally raise my one and only little boy that I worried I might not ever have.
When we still lived in a big rental house in Southern Arizona, we only saw Ben about 5 days a month during his summer river season. We have doubled the amount of time we see him by going mobile and being so close to his summer work location. That extra time is priceless for this little boy of mine who calls his Daddy “buddy” and lights up with joy each time he comes home off a river trip. That extra time is so valuable to the man who was just as worried as I was about possibly never having a child to call our own.
It gets hard, but somehow it’s so much easier when you think about all that you had sacrificed in your old life to show you how much you would benefit from this new one.