Why Travel is Good for Your Parenting: Perspective from Lake Wenatchee, WA

There are so many reasons to travel:

  • To see family

  • To escape

  • To explore the natural world

  • To gain perspective

Travel also opens up my mind to the new, to change, to better myself, to realize, and see that there might be a different way to do things.

A friend of a friend, not a parent herself, taught me how to be a better mom. 

Only she doesn’t even know it.

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

On the quiet shores of Lake Wenatchee in central Washington as I watched Bergen and his buddy dig and create in the sand, anxiety set in.  And without thinking…

I yelled from just a couple of feet away, “Get your feet out of the water, Bergen!”

“You’re going to get your feet soaked.”

“Then your feet will get cold and you’ll start to freeze and be uncomfortable”

“Not to mention the fact that you are ruining your shoes.”

“Watch out, the water is coming closer!”

And on and on I lectured from afar.  Frustrated, worried, and nervous.

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

Seconds later, it was like a switch flipped and I regretted my outburst.  No, I wasn’t screaming by any means, but yes, I was yelling and barking orders without a whole lot of respect.  And you know what? It didn’t feel all that great.

As I stood there bouncing the baby in the ergo watching the two buddies play, I thought about that new friend and her interactions with Bergen on our hike earlier that day.  She was gentle, unhurried, and got down at kid level when speaking to the boys.

Dirty Face Trail: Lake Wentatchee, WA | WildTalesof.com

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

Of course I know its easier when they’re not your children and when you’re not the one ultimately in charge, but that doesn’t change the important lessons gained.  I realized that her approach was so much more effective, healthier, and considerate for all individuals involved.

Loud and demanding has its place (preferably reserved for an emergency), but I’ll get further, and feel better if I’m calm, quiet and matter of fact.

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

So I changed it up right then and there, and gave the whole thing a try.  I crouched down, quickly and plainly told Bergen about the potential shoe hazard in the water, and moved on.

What do you know? It worked, and then that same attitude leaked into the next day where I found myself empathizing, understanding, and listening more.

What a breath of fresh air.

The thing is, it’s not about comparing yourself to others and feeling bad that you don’t measure up.  I definitely went there for a few moments in my head thinking this new friend would be a much better caretaker for my children than me, but really that’s not the case. This lesson taught me that parenting IS about being aware.  Its about observing, seeing what works, and what doesn’t.

You try things out.

You make a change.

Is it easy? No.  Do I always find myself practicing this new found parenting attitude? Unfortunately, not. I’ve planted a seed though, in hopes that I’ll continue to grow and evolve.  I’m thankful that travel, and a tiny bit of awareness, has given me that chance.

Dirty Face Trail--Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com

Why do you travel?

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21 thoughts on “Why Travel is Good for Your Parenting: Perspective from Lake Wenatchee, WA

  1. Wonderful post. I just started on the path of parenting a high schooler and will be on this path for 10 years. I was just thinking that I hope I have it figured out by the time my youngest reaches this age. My friend with older kids once told me, parenting gets easier physically as they grow. It’s not as hands-on, and they don’t require as much close supervision. But the mental effort goes waaaaaay up. It’s been hard, and even as I’m nagging, my brain is saying, “Can you hear yourself? You’re getting nowhere.” I’m still trying to figure out the best way. I’m trying things outs. And I’m hoping that this summer’s travel will be a reset button for us.

    • Thanks so much for your comment and perspective, Michelle. I tend to nag (as you can see from the dialogue in the this post) & have to check myself often because it really doesn’t help! You’ve reminded me to savor these days–they really do go fast! Travel will absolutely be just thing for you guys! Good luck! Where are you headed?

    • Thank you, Dana. After all that reflecting and inner battling of the previous day, it was so nice to go out there in the morning & enjoy the quiet with my preschooler by my side.

  2. Beautiful pictures and a lovely post. I think we’re always learning when it comes to parenting – I don’t think that ever stops. And yes, I think travelling is brilliant for learning too, including about parenting and developing relationships within the family.

    • Yes–so good for relationships–its time when we can (usually) put the day-to-day stuff (chores, work, bills, etc.) aside and really enjoy each other’s company!

  3. Great photos, and very good point. Yes, we are forgetting how to let kids be kids and learn from their own mistakes. My daughter has noticed how much more “freedom” from parents kids in Europe apparently have on the playgrounds and even just in daily life, walking home from school as a group of friends, with no parent in sight. Giving the kids, and then teens, the freedom to choose is hard, but it can be learned. You’re on the right track.

    • Thank you! You bring up an issue (freedom & independence) that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Free Range Kids (by Lenore Skenazy) was a great read.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I definitely think that one of the best things about travelling is getting out of your daily routine which in turn can help us learn how to act in new or different situations. I don’t think we ever get it completely right as parents (I know I don’t!) but we try 🙂 Lovely photos too.

    • Thank you, Kaja! Yup, as long as we are trying and working on bettering ourselves, I think we’re on the right track–being conscious of our choices is so important.

  5. I love this. I learned this with Z as well. She reacts much better to an understanding and real chat, then to me barking orders (although sometimes a parent must bark).
    Oh my goodness, why do I travel? That’s such a big question. I love learning about new cultures, learning new languages, meeting new people. I love showing Z how people in other places live and how to get along with people of all walks of life. I love getting outside my home country and seeing it from the outside. I could go on and on! 🙂

    • Thank you–so nice to hear that someone else is having a similar experience. Loved reading all the reasons that you travel–Zoe is so lucky!

  6. Pingback: Why Travel is Good for Your Parenting: Perspect...

    • Yes! I’m always working on slowing down and enjoying the moment instead of trying to rush on to the next thing–it’s also a matter of being intentional with my time & making sure I’m not wasting it & therefore rushing later 🙂 Such a battle!

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