I SPENT my first non-working weekend in 2013 kid-free and camping out in the bush.
It was so relaxing getting back to nature, while the kids were spending time with other family.
My partner and I went up the creek in a canoe, and yes, we even had paddles.
We swam, read books and enjoyed the quiet.
Well, there were surround-sound cicadas echoing through the bush, and the occasional buzzing of a mosquito or swatting 'thwack' to counter the attack of a march fly, but otherwise it was quiet.
We trekked through the bush spotting the local bird life and taking photographs.
At night we laid down under the stars counting satellites and shooting stars. It was the perfect camping trip.
But the sad part is so many people had been there before us.
I say sad, because there was so much evidence of their former visits.
When we first arrived I thought it was amusing to find a barbecue all set up beside the water.
This wasn't some camp lean-to. It was an honest to goodness four-burner barbecue.
I thought it belonged to some nearby swimmers on a day trip, until they said it had been there since before Christmas.
Then we spotted more. An old camp chair in the bushes, an old mattress in the creek, and enough beer cans and alcohol bottles to stock Dan Murphy's.
I was so glad the kids weren't with us.
And it wasn't just because I was happy to have some alone time with my partner.
It was because of all that rubbish.
How can I convince the kids to clean their rooms and pick up after themselves if they can see so many adults in this world don't do it?
The way some campers treat our great country, next time we go camping we can save ourselves the hassle of packing the car, driving for hours and then setting up the tent.
We can just head into the kids' rooms.
There is just as much rubbish littered around in there.
When we packed up our campsite we took home more rubbish than we had accumulated ourselves.
In the lead up to Australia Day, I challenge others to follow our lead.
Let's leave the rubbish to the kids' rooms and keep Australia beautiful.
Super Mum with Sharyn O'Neill