Full-timing with kids is more popular than ever. For many of these families on the road in the age of Coronavirus, pandemic RV parenting is still better than living a traditional life. This is what Two Moms and a Trailer have to say about it while on the road with their two boys and two dogs.
One Family’s Story of Pandemic RV Parenting
Full-time RVing with kids isn’t as weird as it used to be. With more parents than ever who can work remotely online, young couples are traveling by RV while raising kids and pets along the way. Shay and America are one such couple from California.
Currently traveling with Damien (age 9), Oliver (age 3), and their two dogs Emma and Penny, the duo has traveled coast-to-coast since hitting the road three years ago. They decided to do it when they realized that the rat race was running them into the ground.
“For us the inspiration to begin RVing really came from life kicking us to the curb,” explains Shay. “We worked all the time …and had nothing but piles of bills, a house full of junk, zero time, stress, and debt to show for it. Everything came to a head and we had to make a choice; go under or rise up and make a change. We took a chance and chose change. We sold everything… house included and hit the road. All while pregnant with our second baby might I add! We moved into the trailer when Oliver was 2 weeks old.”
Full-timing was the best decision they ever made, but they don’t do it without careful planning and saving. America and Shay discovered that staying out of debt is critical for being able to afford the lifestyle. Seasonal workamping allows them to save money on rent and take time off to spend time with the kids. By trading work hours for rent and some compensation, they are able to build a solid savings account to cover unexpected costs and crazy events, like a pandemic throwing them out of work. COVID-19 forced them to leave the West Coast and drive a stressful, expensive and scary 1400 miles in the other direction to shelter in place in Texas. Through bad weather and uncertain travel circumstances because of the virus, the entire family felt the stress of the situation. Despite the disruption, they’re closer because of it.
If they Can Make It Through a Pandemic . . .
“The kids and our dogs are so resilient, we tried our best to not show our worry around them; and they adapted well. We all took to staying up late, and sleeping in; just enjoying the down time and family moments we were able to spend together,” says Shay.
Not being able to explore new places these days sometimes puts their togetherness to the test. The little trailer that houses their family feels smaller than usual now. The pandemic has forced them to stay home more often. But being on the road has taught the family how to adapt.
“Once we started making a conscious effort to get outside, take walks, get some sunshine, play games together, cook more etc we all started feeling so much better! Our site was very private amongst the trees and we let the boys embrace the dirty outdoor play. We all tried to give each other some space, for example big brother got to stay up later than little brother so he could have some time to himself and Mommy (Shay) played on the computer while Momma (America) watched TV; simple changes that gave us all a little relief from each other.”
There’s No End in Sight for this RVing Family
Pandemic RV parenting hasn’t changed how they feel about raising kids on the road. But what it has done is clarify the need to get a bigger RV. “The clutter drove us a bit nuts; we purged a lot and even completed a few renovation projects to help settle our minds,” says Shay. “Wanting a house never came up really, because in our RV we still had a great ‘yard’ and all the comforts of home. But… this pandemic has inspired us to formulate a plan to possibly upgrade to a larger rig in the next few years to accommodate our growing boys.”
The pandemic is now playing itself out in ways that we cannot yet imagine. But Shay and America are still certain that this is the best lifestyle for their family. “As parents we both agree that we are better in the fact that we are actually raising our own kids now. So many parents are forced to have daycare, grandparents, family members and schools basically raise their children for them, because most couples need two incomes to survive. We were that couple; but RVing enabled us to have myself (Shay) stay home with our baby for the whole first year of his life. We thought we were close to our son before full-time travel, but after experiencing it and home schooling, it was like getting to know our child all over again.
Now we are all together 365 days a year, and our boys are best friends. As individuals we can proudly say that we no longer identify ourselves by our jobs and titles; but as people…by our names. We are just us, and that feels so good; to not be caught in the rat race anymore.”
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.