Q: What are some of the best things about traveling in close quarters with your family?
A: I get this question phrased in many ways. The most generous and upbeat of which is reflected above in a question from my friend Penny. Other, less positive variations include “Don’t you ever just want to get away.” or “You are so brave” or “I bet you want to throw them overboard sometimes.”
Truth be told, I have actually threatened to throw the kids over once or twice, but I felt like the tone was understood when Miles replied “Dad you’re jokin’.” When I asked him how he knew I was joking he replied, “Because you just said something redicUlous.” He’s right, that whole line of talk is ridiculous. I spent almost half of my life dreaming about being a cruising dad and now that I have it I’m not going to complain.
That’s not to say that things are always roses. Our kids are kids after all. They have social lessons to learn and, to be honest, so do I. Being on a boat (or confined to any small space for that matter) amplifies issues in the short run, but in the long run it forces all of us to fairly and decisively resolve our problems. So if, for example, I have a problem with one of my children interrupting all the time, that will come to a head much faster than it would if we lived a “normal” life (one where I was at work all day, and we had activities and school for the kids to go away to). But it will also get resolved in a more comprehensive way. In this case that means that I will have to address the fact that I interrupt all the time too. Sure I’ve figured out a way to do it that looks to the bulk of society to be a leadership quality, but to a 7 year old it looks just the same as shouting “DO I EVER GET TO SAY THE NAME OF OUR BOAT WHEN PEOPLE ASK” every time I say “Convivia” to someone.
She’s right, of course, I need to work on it too. So as a family we’re going to work through this one. In the end, I hope, she will feel like she has a voice, and will see that even adults can improve their behavior. She’ll also stop bugging the heck out of me which, in a super tight space, is always a good thing.
So, the best things about being packed in like sardines are:
1. Issues get resolved holistically
2. We get to be together… which is why we had these children in the first place
3. We get to learn from our kids. I think so many parents miss out on this gift.
Note: Please feel free to ask other questions on our Facebook page or here in the comments. I kind of love answering these, so if your questions aren’t left field wingnut ones, they’ll probably get a good long response 🙂