What does a 2yr old with new found independence, a teething 5 month old, and a sleep training/breastfeeding mama all have in common? They all make a trip to the mountains nearly impossible…sigh. It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve had a breath of mountain air and I’m wondering if this whole Blog is a farce? Am I a fake? I’m the first person to preach about the fresh mountain air yet I’m settling for morning walks, backyard play, and evening strolls??? Wait a second—I might be focusing on the wrong “problem” here…
Somewhere in the midst of trying to inspire families to get outside, “Adventure Parenting” has blown into grand expeditions of sorts. Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, the image of “Outdoor Adventure” appears to have morphed into goals of bagging mountains with tots in tow, paddling glacier waterways with the family, and campfire huddles under the Northern Lights of Iceland. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these activities look incredibly cool but is it possible that it’s pulling people away from the true essence and goal of getting outdoors? These adventures inspire and fuel our family bucket list but when I’m lying awake at night, I can’t help but wonder…was our hour of backyard play enough? How can I balance life and still make the mountains apart of it? And worst of all—Am I doing enough?
These are the moments when I have to stop the mommy guilt from building up and ground myself again. Getting outside isn’t a competition and the definition of adventure doesn’t include the criteria of mountains, travel, expensive equipment, or perfect pictures. I’ve made outdoor activities (or even just activity in general) an essential part of our day because I:
- Want to instill a passion and urge to explore within my kids
- Believe fresh air and freedom are good for the soul and reinvigorate the spirit (for everyone—moms included!)
- Think children deserve to run and play while falling down and challenging themselves—the outdoors tests the mind, body, and soul
- Nothing seems to wear out my son like running outdoors…
The juggling act of everyday life, raising kids, and self care is nearly impossible so when we decide to invest our time, energy (and in some cases, money) into one of these areas, we need to make sure that we stay connected with its true purpose and appreciate it to the fullest. Not only does this enrich the moment but it pulls me back from wanting more and most importantly, pushes away that mommy guilt of wondering whether I could have done better.
It also brings us back to our kids (which is why we do all this crazy stuff anyways, right?!). Although it’s easy to think that these daily “adventures” are small scale, if we look through the eyes of our children, maybe they accomplished something big that got overlooked—perhaps they walked longer, noticed something new, put on their own mitts/boots, cried a little less, or finally mastered a jump on the bike. These are great moments that don’t require a lengthy drive or special trip, master planning/coordination skills, and extra packing (cause who needs MORE to do?). Sometimes we get in our own way and forget that easy can be best…for everyone.
So this post is a reminder–maybe my own reminder–that getting outside isn’t to be flashy or conquer the impossible. Our daily pursuits around the neighbourhood are occasions to celebrate because we all come back happier, a little stronger (mom included), and despite the daily to-do list that could have easily gotten in the way, we upheld our values and got outdoors. Whether it was to make snow balls, ride the bike, explore a new playground—we made it happen and got outside.
So have no fear, as parents who want to provide their children with the richness of the outdoors, we’re doing just fine…even if the adventures are bound to the limits of the backyard. The next time we make it out to the mountains, the kids will be a little more prepared, a little bit stronger and patient, and more curious about the extraordinary adventures that await 🙂