Camping with a 3-year-old. A fun challenge? A risk? A way to practice self-care?


    In April 2022, I took a risk. 

    We haven’t camped since before I was pregnant. When my baby was born, we were cautious about taking her to the big outdoors to sleep in a tent. This time though, I took a leap of faith and booked not one but two camping trips.

    The first one was around Memorial Day to the Sierra Nevada mountains for an incredible experience of “wild” hot springs. It’s a passion that me and my husband have shared for immersing ourselves in the hot natural waters that are not organized in tiled swimming pools. Long drive to get there but worth it! They have been on my list since 2018.

    The second one was in Canada. We decided to stay within the boundaries of national parks vs. driving out for a few nights’ stay. Sometimes the time you spend on the road is less exciting when you drive in the opposite direction of your next day’s route. And so we booked our first ever international camping and waited with trepidation.

    It is July now. 

    We safely returned from both trips. Not only did we survive, We loved it! My little one is now ecstatic about camping: sleeping in tents and having your bag to crawl into are so much fun. She even has a little sleep mask to shield her from early light. The hot springs were everything and more. Shimmering stars in the utterly dark sky, being in hot water alone listening to the sounds of nature. Magical.

    And Canada’s nature was simply magnificent. So was the organization by local campground operators to make sure everyone was taken care of. Can you imagine a hot shower as part of the experience? How about a playground within the limits of the camp? What if I told you there was even a bakery wagon coming every morning with fresh coffee/tea and delicious mouthwatering goodies? 

    Would you, do it?

    I am fully aware of all the risks and potential unknowns that can go wrong and mess up any trip or vacation. Planning for some of them is an obvious first step. But planning is not 100% full-proof. Getting out of your home for any trip invites you to keep an open mind as things will surprise you. Not always with cute baby bears climbing up the trees and you observing from the safety of your car.

    What precautions would you take to make an experience fun and less stressful for you?

    For example, we camp with a tent and a queen mattress! We were sure we packed everything on the way to the hot springs. After setting up the tent, we realized that the mattress pump wasn’t in the bag. We were facing an exciting experience of blowing up a queen-size mattress with my husband’s lungs. Sounds awesome, right? 🙂 

    The same night we also realized that the mattress was deflating quite rapidly, and as soon as we came home, we ordered a new one for the Canada experience! Huge win if you ask me!

    Self-care? Really?

    Becoming a mom had me reconsider a lot of things. Finances are one of them. Camping can be a much more accessible lodging option when you need more than one bed, but it has trade-offs. I hate mosquitos, and anything that crawls can set the stage for “success.”

    This summer, I discovered that camping could be a way to practice self-care. Even with all the things that could/did go wrong, I could find time for myself on these trips. Surprisingly unexpected turn of events even for a seasoned Rest Coach™ that I am. Easiest trick – say: “I am “going to the bathroom.”

    It is usually not near your site (even if it is, walk around and hide). You can claim a long wait time. Girl’s bathrooms are known for that. Or anything else. And then you wonder. Please open your eyes or close them while sitting somewhere that resonates with you. One day I was hiding by the river while my child and her dad were still asleep. OR you can say – I need a moment to myself. Communication is key. To get something you want and need – ask for it! Using words! Other people can’t read your mind. It matters because even one single moment can make a huge difference. I see it every day with my coaching clients.

    Let me know if camping is something you enjoy. Or maybe my article gave you food for thought?

    Whether you decide to camp or stay home – know in your heart that you deserve to rest! It can take any form and be as unique as you want.

    I would love to connect and chat about your thoughts about camping with kids, guilt-free rest, or anything life-related. Comment below, visit my website [] and let’s be friends on social media.

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    Anastasiya (a.k.a. Stacey), a native Ukrainian who has called San Francisco her home since 2014, is a strong advocate for women’s rights in business and in play, and loves to promote self-care and me-time. Becoming a mom two years ago allowed her to reevaluate what self-care means and put her on a path towards freedom from the corporate world. Anastasiya is an avid traveler, speaks 5 languages, loves good food, good books and chilling on Ocean Beach after getting a much needed manicure! She has lived in Greece, traveled to 5 continents including Antarctica (the one near South Pole), visited 25 states in the continental US, and was on track to hit 30 countries when COVID hit. She has turned her passion into the profession of Travel Designer, saving clients countless hours and energy spent in front of search engines and transforming the way people think about planning for getaways.


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