What does Family mean to you? Does blood relation make you a family? Does a marriage certificate, birth certificate or adoption certificate make you a family?
Family has always been a difficult subject for me to tackle due to my childhood and life experience. Sometimes the people you started out life with aren’t always the people you want to end up with.
After the last few months, I would probably put forth that the gold standard test of a family should be the ability to coexist peacefully in a 30 ft trailer. Throw in cross country trips for fun to really up the ante.
Here are the X things my RV has taught me about being a family (with the aid of memes)
1. Sh*t gets REAL really quickly
[Image Description: A scene from Spongebob Squarepants. It is Spongebob and Patrick standing with butterfly nets. They look very serious and Spongbob is wearing glasses and holding onto them. Caption says “Damn Shit Just Got Real”]
You know that lovely honeymoon period when you start a new relationship or the first day (or first hour depending on the kid) of summer break with your kids? The period of bliss when everyone is on their best behavior and you put up this facade of harmony even when something someone does annoys the crap out of you? It is a bit like a pressure cooker system when you start swallowing your own discomfort until you hit breaking point eventually.
When you live together in a 30 ft trailer, that process is accelerated. By a lot.
You may have to start addressing the things that don’t work well, the disfunction a LOT earlier than you would outside of this kind of living arrangement.
2. You have to deal with your problems immediately
[Image Description : Business Cat meme wearing collar and tie looking at the camera sternly against a multi-colored backdrop. Caption says “Deal with it. Right. Meow”]
That spilt chocolate milk. That half a bowl of cereal strewn on the floor. Even that pesky disagreement about whose turn it is to take the laundry out to the laundromat tonight.
The mess is going to get in your way if you don’t. And that applies to both the practical mess of spilt food where you next walk or sit as well as any unresolved conflict between you because you are going to see each. A lot. And it’s really hard to give someone the cold shoulder when they literally have to brush up next to you to get to the bathroom.
3. You’re going to need your sense of humor
[Image Description : Close up of Will Farrell as Ron Burgundy looking directly at the camera. Caption reads “People with a good sense of humor have a better sense of life.”]
With all that being said about having to face your problems head on real soon, I would suggest finding your sense of humor and keeping it on lockdown.
Life is not always going to be easy and still being able to crack a joke when your water heater is broken in the freezing cold or you’ve been lying in bed for 2 days straight from a deadly cold/flu will help a little at least with your spirits.
Even with the worst thing is happening, we can always use a bit of a laugh to keep us going and remind us that this is still an experience that we will one day be able to look back on and have a story to tell.
4. You have to be a team player
[Image Description : Close up of WWF Wrestler Big Show who is crying with eyes shut and mouth open. Caption reads “This team is overflowing with awesome”]
There are no free rides in this RV. When we get home in the evenings with the babies, Michael and I are basically executing all the evening tasks to children’s bedtimes like a well-oiled machine. Our tasks from cooking to changing diapers to changing clothes are all interchangeable and there is no room for any nonsense like “I don’t know how to use this kind of diaper” or “I don’t know how to cook this”.
Except for breastfeeding. Michael can’t do that but he makes himself useful while I am breastfeeding MJ.
5. It’s OK to own up to some things you miss
[Image Description: Close up of woman crying and holding part of her face. It’s the image commonly used in the “First World problems” meme. Caption reads ” Loves RV Life but misses full sized bathtub”]
We took on this journey of RV Living to minimize our lifestyle and use of space. With that comes certain adjustments we have had to make.
One of these adjustments that Michael has had a hard time with particularly is the lack of a full sized bath tub. Going from a daily long man-bath down to quick 5 minute showers has taken getting used to.
I miss having a large washer and dryer at home. We have to go do laundry at the campground laundromat every weekend that closes at 9pm which makes it really inconvenient for us because all my laundry was always done in the late night.
It’s OK to acknowledge the difficulties no matter how trivial they may seem.
We’ve been full timing for a bit over a month now and have made a couple of cross country trips with the RV. I would hate to jinx it but I really think this lifestyle suits us and we are making it work for us.
Yes, some days it looks chaotic and I still have a mountain of clean laundry I can never get on top of for folding but I love how our family functions together despite the constraints of small spaces and a 40 gallon hot water tank 🙂