Camp Phone Calls Could End My Marriage

Who knew the highly anticipated camp phone calls could be such a blow to a relationship? Oh well, when my baby is 1500 miles away from home, and I get a few minutes to talk — It’s every man, ahem mom, for herself!

Camp Phone Calls Could Ruin My Marriage #camp #sleepaway #humor

It’s sleepaway camp time and everyone is getting their calls from the kiddos. I’ve found a pattern, in that I desperately want to strangle my husband after each call. Luckily for me (and not so much my husband), I’m apparently not alone.

Look, us moms are ready. We’ve stayed up until the wee hours waiting for the pictures to download — sometimes hitting “refresh” every minute, (and by minute I mean second) as they download one at a time. We’ve studied them like highly trained CIA agents, analyzing their smiles, their friends, their body language.

Scouring shots to see if our child’s arms are around their buddies or they’re sitting uncomfortably  with their hands in their lap. We magnify the pictures until they’re so pixelated they’re barely visible to catch a glimpse of our own kid’s head or shoe, because we know the tiniest details — from the way a cowlick lays to the unique color of their new camp Nike’s.

J is the child to the right of the one with the “thumbs up.” Trying to smile for the camera, but left out of the over the shoulder we’re all buddies hug. So sad right? Or maybe happy, shit, I can’t tell.

We are eagerly awaiting our call to find out the truths behind the images and we want to hear our baby’s sweet little voices. We have our questions written out, well at the very least, thought out — no we don’t go into this ill-prepared. We also have a distinct feeling that what we have to say is way more important than what our hubby’s have to say, but we let them talk simply because well, their our baby’s donor, I mean, daddy I meant daddy, I don’t know where that came from! Sheesh, you men are so sensitive.

Please send all hate mail to my husband at [email protected]

Jake: Hi mommy, I love you soooo much.

Me: Hey baby, I love you too! Are you happy?

Jake: Yep.

Me: How’s camp?

Jake: Good.

My voracious appetite for answers can not withstand anymore of this. With so little time to talk, I need to, as the sexy Channing Tatum would say, “step it up.” (I’m sorry, I just saw End of the World and he seems to be creeping into all my conversations.)

Me: Your hike looked insane yesterday. Was it fun? How cold was the water? Were the rocks slippery? Are you wearing your sunblock? Your eczema cream? Do you love the rock wall? How long is the zip-line? Who’s the boy with braces? Is he your best friend? Is anyone mean? Are the counselors nice? What are you eating? Was your camp cooler than the one you played baseball against on Tuesday?”

Sure, I quick fired a lot of questions… there’s a lot to ask, and only a few minutes to talk. As soon as he answered one, I moved on to the next.

A couple of times Mark started to butt in with an “ummm… hey Jake, do you umm…” to which I would wait about a second for him to get his thoughts together before bowling over him with my next line of questioning.

I looked over to see Mark glaring back at me crossly, cross-eyed… cross? I don’t know the correct verbiage, so let’s go with, “pissed-off and frustrated, as if he was about to throw the phone at my head.” To which I whispered, in that angry whisper-yell. (You know, the one you squeeze out between clenched teeth in restaurants and other public places,) “WHAT? Have your questions ready.”

Then I kindly paused to give him a chance to speak… against my better judgment.

Mark: Jake, have you gotten all my letters?

Jake: Yep.

Mark: Which ones?

Jake: Ummmm, Well the one about my new team when I get home, and ummm, I don’t know, I don’t remember them all.

See, and this is why my judgement is “better”! Is he freaking kidding? I brush my teeth longer than the time I have allotted to talk, and Mark wants to confirm his letters were received? Now, is not the time to test the accuracy of the postal system or the email printing process set up at the camp!!!

NOT an acceptable caliber of conversation! And I’m the conversation rater, I’ll have you know.

Mark: Did you get the one where I bowled a 300?

Jake: Oh, yeah. That was awesome. Did that really happen?

Okay readers, I have to interject here because I know you’re thinking, this is high enough caliber, right? I mean, how often does someone, who’s not a pro, actually bowl a perfect score?

What I should share is that…

He was not so much talking about this:


as he was talking about this:


Yep, I was listening to my husband waste precious time talking about a game of Wii freaking sports, which he played alone no less!

So, I barreled back in, as he didn’t prove himself worthy of our remaining time… “How was your camp-out? Were you scared? Did you sleep through the night? What song did you do in the lip-sync; you looked like Eminem.”

Again, Mark gave me the look, but this time he put the phone by his side in utter annoyance.

“You are so selfish, you don’t want to hear him talk ‘cuz I’m asking all the questions?” I whisper-yelled.

Me: Do you have a girlfriend? Do you like water-skiing?

Mark: How many ski boats are there? (Mark managed to mush himself back in.)

Did he just ask that question? I told him the other day that there are 2. TWO freakin’ speedboats.

Great, now he’s wasting time with shit he already knows. Tic, Toc, baby.

Mark then went on to rattle off the line up for his travel baseball team this season and tell him about the bat he just ordered…

Mark: Guess which bat I got you?

Jake: The Louisville Vertex?

Mark: Noooo

Jake: The new Worth?

Mark: Noooo

Jake: Nike Aero?

Mark: Nope, I’ll give you a hint, it’s made by Easton.

Is this happening? Will this lead to couples therapy? Does anyone feel my pain, here?

Look, we moms want OUR time to be all ours. Even if the hub is right (and he was). All my babe wanted to do was hear us and all I wanted to do was get answers to every thought and query I’d stored in my head from the minute he set foot on the plane.

Luckily for Mark, the calls are infrequent enough that our marriage will withstand these bumps in the road. Next year, I’m just gonna tell him they did away with calls altogether — due to the rise in the divorce rate.

– Jenny From the Blog

Addendum 1: After discussing this, a friend told me that she simply took the phone out of her husband’s hand when she felt he was done. Two minutes she gave him, and then she plucked it right away from his eager ear. They didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the night.
Addendum 2: A second friend confessed that she arranged all the calls while her hubby was at work.
Addendum 3: A friend called me after reading this story and said that her husband’s only question was, “Is your bed comfortable?” She said it wasn’t going to be his only question but she didn’t give him anymore after that doozy.
Addendum 4: An email came in saying this “I can’t deal with the calls because my hubby’s voice changes. It gets all high like he’s talking to a dog– Hi Lindseeeeeeey, how are your friennnnds? Are you, wooshey woo having fun?” – They may be in therapy.
Other Fun Pieces:

This was from a couple years back and in a crazy turn of events, this year, I followed my kids to CAMP LENOX to do a humor series called: Jenny From the Bunk — I Followed My Kids to Camp, Now What? it will either be hilarious or I may get eaten by a bear – either way… a win for you. You can follow on the Facebook page (if you want notices as they happen, hover over the “liked” button and push “get notifications”) or check out her award winning site

You Will Totally Love:

Gen Xers – You Know Went to Camp If…

Dear Readers – Letters From Camp Day 1 – Don’t Make me Turn This Plane Around

Funniest Letters From Camp…

43 thoughts on “Camp Phone Calls Could End My Marriage

  1. Emily Cappo

    Jenny, I loved this post so much because we just had our first phone call from camp and that easily could have been me…you nailed those calls perfectly. Now waiting for kid #2 and #3 to phone next and I’m going to be chuckling to myself as I fire those questions over the phone, drowning out my husband.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      It’s so funny, every parent I talk to has a story about the calls and they usually involve the silence treatment afterwards. Oh, well, the Bachelorette is on tonight so silence would be golden!

  2. Christene

    You dealt with this way better than I could have…. I am pretty sure “bludgeoning” would have been used somewhere in there…

  3. Bari

    My ex mother-in-law used to ask soooo many questions it would drive me
    nuts!!! Now she’s one of my greatest friends. I had to grow up to realize that all the questions were because she really was interested not just annoying. I hope you get a similar or better result.

  4. Jenny from the blog Post author

    It’s because I spend a gazillion seconds each day thinking about how things are and what I want to know. It’s hard to shut that off and talk about Wii sports!

  5. Brian Friedman

    Jenny, this is hilarious. Luckily our son is not allowed to make any phone calls. I do however look at the pictures daily, hitting the refresh button as they load. Where is he at camp?

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Berkshires… I think not having the calls would certainly make them less sad, but I can’t opt out and explain that to my baby, so they’re usually a bit teary and I get off totally unsure about everything I thought I’d deciphered with my amazing detective skills!

  6. cherie

    This was soooo freakin’ funny!!!! I can just picture the whole scenario. When you were away, we didn’t get phone calls. We had to wait for the letters. The only calls I got were when you went on the Teen Tour and I didn’t have to share that time with anyone…of course I was divorced by then.

  7. melanie

    Hilarious! Our phone call was Saturday and we are still neurosing about the one~word answers! Their counselors are sitting right there listening! How can they possibly answer anything honestly? Ill have to wait until visiting day to hear the real stories! And btw, I wonder if anyone reads those bunk notes?! HELP!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I know it’s tough to say, do you like the counselors? or who’s you’re favorite? when they’re listening to every word. It makes you feel like they’re coaxed into saying all is awesome, everything is great… Or no canteen for a week.

  8. Adrienne

    Just think about the photographer (me) trying to look at all the kids in the background before clicking the shutter….. kids who are concentrating often look sad, but not seeing your kids is sadder… what’s a camp photographer supposed to do?????

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Adrienne- I loved hearing from you… no one thinks about the camp photog and how tough their job must be… only how little of it seems to be focused on their own child. So thankless. I for one am really happy with what you’ve done, you are amazing, awesome, the best. Ahem, you know, which one Jake is right? fabulous, unrivaled, topnotch…

  9. s distel

    You nailed this!!! You make me laugh out loud and for that, I am so thankful to you.

  10. mara

    You’re lucky you get phone calls. We only get letters, which means nothing. Last year my son sent me a letter that read, and I’m quoting directly, ‘They made me write this.’ No signature, no x0x0x. That was it. Count yourself lucky.

  11. Melissa

    We were only allowed to send extremely short emails.
    We were only allowed to ask non leading questions.
    We were only allowed to ask questions, no statements.
    We are thinking we know where the final Nazi’s are hiding.

  12. Melissa

    I think your son is sitting next to our son Jacob – the thumbs up was his signal to us that all was well – his first day away!
    Loved your article – hit the nail on the head!!

  13. Melissa

    Our son Jacob is the one with the thumbs up – our secret signal that all is ok- his first time away!
    Love the article – hit the nail on the head
    Btw the new pics just posted!!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      OMG Melissa- hilarious. Well, he looks like he’s having fun. I’ve analyzed you know? PS, how did you find this post? Through camp? A friend? So random…

  14. Karen

    OMG – this was too funny! I absolutely loved what you wrote and all so true…I work for a sleep away camp referral service and I am sharing this with my clients who will be rolling with laughter, like me! Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Thanks Karen, camp gives me a lot of fodder. It’s so oddly different from real life both being there and at home while one of your own is a camper. I find the whole think baffling and anxiety inducing the key is better meds! LOL

  15. Kelly

    You left me hangin’, which Easton bat was it ? S3 , S1 ?
    Travel ball mom here too, in 6th year now.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I think an S2 or S3… black and yellow, oh you know the one!!! I’m sorry to have done that to my readers. I hate when I forget to hit on the important points!

  16. Pingback: Best Parenting News And Articles

  17. Lisa

    We don’t get phone calls either, but everyone I know refreshes!! So glad to hear from the camp photographer above how hard she tries to include everyone 🙂
    Sometimes I look at pictures of my daughter’s camp, and literally visualize myself shoving the photographer out of the way saying “Give me that camera. You suck”

  18. Doc Ellis

    Sorry to break the news to you, but your son is smiling with the thumbs up because he’s toasted. It’s good to know that he’s a happy drunk though.

  19. Carpool Goddess

    I didn’t have to wait for phone calls because after just one summer at sleep-away camp the kids won’t go back. Ever. Enjoy your quite time alone. The kids are fine 🙂

  20. JennieB

    No phone calls allowed at our camp — unless they are from the nurse, who calls frequently since my son seems to be endlessly in the infirmary, starting with a concussion on the second day of camp (his letter home described it as a konk on the head) and most recently (3 minutes ago to be precise) with a second degree burn on his ankle, which he apparently thinks is really cool because he got it forging something and the ember landed on his ankle.

  21. Suzanne

    We’re thinking about sending our daughter to sleepaway for the first time next year, and your post made me burst out laughing. I can totally see this happening to us next summer!

    1. Karen Alford

      If anyone is interested in starting the search for sleep away camp in the Northeast region of the US – I work for a free sleep away camp referral service. I help you narrow down your options without getting overwhelmed! I visit many of the camps and offer an objective opinion…no obligation to reach out to me. [email protected]

  22. Dibs

    This reminds me so much of when my daughter (then 11) was at boarding school for 2 years; imagine having shared conversations like that every. freaking. day! Hubby also had the lovely habit of the high pitched voice, it was like trying to have a conference call with Elmo (that looks like he belongs in a biker gang); daughter eventually worked out that he’d go back to a normal voice if she blocked all his attempts at at a conversation and directed all her talking to me (personally I loved hogging the 5min phone time).
    Kids going away to camp in the summer holidays isn’t a big thing in the UK & unless your kids are guides or scouts you’re usually regarded as some bizarre specimen of parent for sending your kids away from you; I’ve sent on a couple of week long camps & I don’t mind admitting it was absolute bliss (didn’t enjoy washing the sodden muddy contents of her bag when she got back though)….

  23. brenda

    Is this a Florida thing? No one around here gets phone calls. It is NOT ALLOWED. And we can only send care packages in 8×12 bubble mailers. And we’re only allowed to email twice. And I refresh the pics all day, even though they only upload once a day.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Brenda, the camp is in Mass?! I don’t know, but I think maybe the no calls route is smarter. Please, we didn’t call our parents for the entire summer when we were kids and that seemed to work. Well, aside from the (I shall not name here) camp debauchery that went on.

  24. Pingback: What Happens When There’s Nothing Left to Write About In Your Letters to Camp | The Suburban Jungle

Comments are closed.