53 Reasons Why Traveling With 12 Kids In An RV Is Harder Than You Think

Achieve Your Goal
This is my Why. These people are the reason for everything I do! Photo: Dan Kellogg

So, for those of you who don’t know, we Travel with 12 Kids, fulltime, it’s our life.  We love it, there is nothing that could possibly bring us closer than traveling the continent in our RV, in search of epic adventures, for sure. And you know, there is no-one we’d rather spend our time with. However, it really is harder than you might think, but isn’t that the case with all things worthwhile?

A quick disclaimer here, I’m aware that everyone who works the 9 to 5 scene, lives in a cubicle coma or loves to declare TGIF may find this list distasteful, maybe even a little bragadocious, if you will.  

If I’m remotely good at what I do, maybe you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you didn’t listen to your spouse after they saw our story on TV.  Maybe you’ll be thrilled that you kept the house, the kids in school and that you are still gainfully employed.

Traveling with 12 Kids
Cubicle Comas – bring ’em on, at least I get some peace! LOL

But, then again, if you are like us, not even these 53 things could dampen your spirit of adventure!  I mean, hell, we had 12 kids and travel with them in a 36’ RV and have been doing so for 5 years and see no signs of stopping.

Having 12 kids seems crazy enough to most, but Traveling with 12 Kids?  Insane. Maybe we are certifiable?  Or maybe, just maybe, we deal with all the shiot that no-one sees because the greater picture, the benefits far outweigh the struggles?  Maybe?

Regardless, we probably do make it look easy.  But rollin with 14 deep is anything but easy.  It’s not easy at home and it’s not easy on the road in an RV.  It takes great sacrifice, sacrifice that we deem worth it, sacrifice that our adult kids deem worth it which is why we continue to revel in the struggle.

So, that’s it with the disclaimers, here are 53 little ways that you’d never think of that make RV’ing with 14 people way harder than you would think.

Pooping 101

Everyone is aware when someone has gone #2.

Pooping 201

We seriously limit the access to our toilet because with this many people we would have to dump daily.

Water

We are the ultimate water conservationists because with 14 people it goes fast!  We have to supplement with water jugs!

Cleanliness Above Godliness?

Not so much round here.  We have no shower, we built it out for more space.  I mean, we couldn’t use the shower anyway, our water tank isn’t big enough for us to all get a shower.

Campgrounds

Most campgrounds charge per person, so we are priced out. It’s cheaper to stay in a hotel than at most campgrounds. State parks are pretty much the only exception.

Showers

We rarely stay at campgrounds, so we have to find places to take a shower. Sometimes that means a bath in a lake or river.

Tiny Fridge

With a fridge not much bigger than a dorm room appliance, we have to shop daily for perishables.

Shopping Sucks

When we go out we brace ourselves for the onslaught of questions about my children’s paternity and my knowledge of sex ed.

Money, Money, Money

It takes a boatload of bank to simply feed our crew, so if we aren’t taking you up on every field trip you suggest, (thanks for thinking of us) it’s because our kids appetites have us in the poor house.

Cooking

Our meals look like catering for a party and it takes flippin forever with such tiny appliances.  So when I peace out at 3 to “make dinner”, it’s cuz I’ll be finished at 6.

Closet Space

We have very limited hanging space, hence all our wrinkly clothes, and incessant arguing over who gets what cabinet.

Storage

I was asked today if our RV looks like an episode of hoarders.  No, no it doesn’t, we leave behind all the toys, the PS4, and all the other crud kids don’t really need.

TV

We have just one TV and a crappy antenna, but we do have a DVD player …

Movies

Movies, are great, but since we have just one TV and only one room, movies have to be appropriate for all. And, yet, sometimes they are not.

Sleep Space

Sometimes the floor is more comfortable …

HUGE Truck

We tow a trailer full of kayaks and gear, so we have to drive a HUGE truck, that still doesn’t legally fit everyone.  But, we accept the challenge to fit any number of people in any car at any time!

Fuel Cost

We have to drive our truck and RV everywhere we go, which doubles our fuel cost. Brody is our truck driver, he works for food.

No Downtime

None.  Ever.  Kids wake up before us and we go to bed with them.

No Privacy 101

None.  Ever.  We are uber immodest, enter our RV at your own risk — naked butts everywhere.

No Privacy 201

Dan and I are like high school kids … I’ll leave it at that.

Laundry

While washing and drying takes the same amount of time in a laundromat, regardless of how many kids you have, folding is an entirely different story.  One hour minimum!

Roadschool

With one million different curriculums, we err more on the side of unschooling than homeschooling.

One Bathroom

Wake up at the crack of dawn, or you might never get in!

Sleep

You know Samuel L. Jackson’s infamous, “Go the f*@k to Sleep!”  Yeah, that!

Data Consumption

All the kids devices devour our limited data, so we gotta throttle them so we don’t get hit with enormous overage charges!!

Slobs

The place gets messy fast with 14 people living inside!!!

Counter Space

Not enough counter and table space to make sandwiches … it’s like an assembly line at Subway!

Thieves

In a big family, you learn fast to eat what you can when you can.  You can’t leave an open drink or an open bag of chips, or anything open, it disappears.

Eat Fast

Example – I bought 6 gallons of ice cream yesterday and it was gone in less than 30 minutes!

Uh-Oh

Many People Make Many Things Break, Often.

Can’t Eat Out Often

When a restaurant meal costs you a minimum of $250 every time you go out, you don’t do it often!  Which means eating meals in the RV.

Peace and Quiet

There is no such thing!

Evening Clean-Up

Loading up a trailer of 20+ boats fall on the oldest … it’s not the same as loading a boat or 5.

Everyone is Loud as Hell

Use your inside voice?  No such thing.  You yell even when you don’t have to.

You Start to Go Deaf Early

No-one can hear a thing at normal speech levels – you can only hear screaming! Forgive us for saying, “What?” one-thousand times per day!

You Eat Insanely Fast

Otherwise you might never eat, let alone get seconds!

Forever Eating

With 14 people, someone is always having a meal or snack (and making another mess).

You Learn to Eat Anywhere

No RV, regardless of how luxurious,  has a table to seat 14!

Calling Saves

You have to Call Seat Saves if you get up or your seat will be stolen when you return – and it probably will anyway.

Arguments

Every discussion turns into an argument, no matter how benign the topic.

Alliances

Alienate a sibling or 5?  No problem, there are others, no worries!

Who’s in Charge?

Depends on who you ask, (but it’s mom).

Lectures For All

When one person gets in trouble, there is no where to go, everyone listens to the lecture.

Twinsies?

A lot of people think their lives are a lot like ours- They have no freakin idea.

Rest Stop Bonanza

Stopping at a rest stop TAKES hours – so pretty much everyone climbs on top of the bathrooms and trees in the interim.  We also get yelled at a lot for doing so.

No Shame

There are those that don’t put away their underwear, but instead hang it up for all guests to see upon entering. Thanks,  Dan.

Disaster Area

Then there are the messy ones, who everyone hopes will become not messy (Elly & Coby)

Seat Sharing

Mom, in particular, has to share her passenger seat with everyone else.  The rest of the kids are used to piling in on top of each other!

Food Samples

Lunch “sometimes” consists of Costco Samples … don’t judge me.  We spend our weight in gold there.

Scavenger Hunt Daily  

You can never find your shoes because someone else couldn’t find theirs and decided to “borrow” yours.

Your Wait Time is Long

It takes forever to go anywhere because finding all the gear to get on the river or on a hike or for a climb is nearly impossible and takes an exorbitant amount of time.

Can’t Touch This

Kids from BIG families have thick skin – you can’t hurt them with words and God forbid you try to hurt them at all … they are members of a gang …

Best Friends

At the end of the day we are each other’s best friends, we love HUGE and look out for each other everywhere we go! <3

 

 

6 Comments

  • Wow! Your family sounds wonderful and we would LOVE to feed you a meal, loan you a shower (or 4), and hear about your travels. My husband and I just sent our last (and loudest) child off to college this past year and I miss the noise terribly!
    If you are ever in Colorado Springs, please don’t hesitate to call. I can whip up something fast!

    • Jan!! What a lovely note!! We would love to take you up on this incredibly kind offer!!! Thank you!

  • OMG, I just found you. LMAO!!!

    We gave up regular tv and news (to negative) 4 years ago. I am your new stalker! Oh wait, forget I said that.

    We ave 10, two more on the way, just bought an rv a month ago. I have sooooo many questions!

    In an effort to not bombard you I’ll start with the one that led me to discover your family. Please please write or tell me where to find pictures of the inside of your RV. I must know your setup!

    Yours 1999, mine 1984 ALL original…..sorry gagging……just thought about the carpet….still gagging…..ok, ours sleeps 4 and is getting stripped and rebuilt this winter. Trying to figure out the bed, seatbelt solution. (We dont legally fit in our vehicle either, but with 5 under 5, about to be 7 under 5, we carseat/buckle the lil ones properly.) Need to add seatbelts for 7 not the two up front and at least a few more beds. Would you mind sharing your interior setup?

    BTW if you do eat out, buffets are the key! We eat for $80-$90, and take anything we can for snacks later in the diaper bag…dont judge us either 😉 oranges, crackers, bananas yes please! We tip well and the lil ones eat like birds and are hungry again in two hours.

    Funny thing, took the lil ones to a normal restaruant once, (kids ate free!) they couldn’t understand what was taking so long and why I didn’t ‘just go get it’. Ya, once!

    THANK YOU!!!!

    • Hey Amie!!!

      Stoked to meet you, girl!! You are pregnant with twins? Many blessings!! That’s so amazing! So, I really hate to disappoint you, but we very rarely post pictures of the interior of our RV. We’ve allowed it to be photographed once prior to the reno and once after. 🙂 It’s like our solace, our private oasis, ya know? Bunks are where it’s at … If you are rebuilding the entire interior, go with bunks. They are more worthy than even a shower. We also incorporate air mattresses and our two youngest almost always end up in a bed with us, just like at home. We also camp a ton. Our kids LOVE camping and would do it every night 365/year if they could. Hammocks, sleeping bags, tents … But for the interior of your RV you can totally do away with your stove and oven. I know, sounds crazy, but their size is basically worthless anyway. We have a tiny counter, with shelving underneath and a tiny sink. We simply use appliances like the Instant Pot and our Vitamix. You can legit make anything you want in them from lasagna to deserts, so …

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