I LOVE the gals on my team. They’re moms just like you and I. With our hearts on our sleeves, doing the very best we can do and often struggling with making it all happen. I think so many of you will resonate with Ginny’s words below – I know I did! Planning my next trip now! ~Amelia
Like most moms, I rarely get time to myself. I’m a super-busy, work-from-home, house-cleaning, grocery-getting, dinner-cooking, full-time mom who is constantly running after her toddler tornado. It seems like I am always taking care of everyone else: the kid, the dog, the chickens… even my wonderful husband. I don’t get enough sleep, I’m lucky when I remember to shower, and my days are a constantly growing to-do list. I haven’t done yoga since… I can’t remember when, and while I do get out to hike or bike, it’s always done with an extra 20-lb load of toddler. I’ve got this mom thing dialed: the diaper bag, stocked with snacks, is always at the ready and the jog stroller lives in the back of my car. I know the baby aisles at Target like the back of my hand. I’m a zen-master of the screaming toddler diaper change.
The truth is, I don’t really recognize myself anymore. Before I had my son, River, I had never even held a baby or changed a diaper. I was an athlete and, on any given weekend, could be found climbing peaks or exploring the wilderness with my husband and dog. The wilderness is my happy place. As much as I love camping with our new little family, I also miss the freedom and bigger-sized adventures I had, pre-kid. I feel like the same person inside , even if have now become a toddler-level outdoor mom on the outside.
When two of my best buddies from Oregon called me up, wanting to go camping and adventuring for the week in Colorado, I couldn’t help but get excited. An adults-only trip? With no kids or partners?? Camping? Paddleboarding? Wilderness!!?? Yes, Please!
Then came the “mom-guilt.” Would my husband be ok, for an entire week, alone with our kid? Would he have time to walk our dog? Would he forget to collect eggs from our chickens?? Should I leave? COULD I leave? Would my son miss me too much? Would he forget who I am? Would I miss some big, life-changing event? Would the house be a disaster when I came back? Would the world end if I unplugged for a few days??!!?? Mom-guilt is a real thing. I spend countless hours with my child and family and almost zero time on myself. As moms… as HUMANS, we need to recharge our mental and spiritual batteries every once in a while, so we can perform at our best. When I’m with my little guy 24/7, it’s really easy to get annoyed with his toddler-sized frustration and crankiness. My infinite pool of patience is drained. I lose interest in entertaining him and wind up looking at my phone or computer, way more than I should, looking for a mental break. It’s hard to be a good mom when your batteries are drained. I knew an adventure with my girlfriends and time in the wilderness would be just the thing to recharge me, so I told them I was IN!
I did my best to prepare the family for life without me. I arranged extra daycare so my husband wouldn’t have to take any time off from work and I stocked up the fridge with toddler-friendly foods, easy meals, and extra beer (just in case). After all my careful planning, the day finally arrived and I took off to meet Molly and Holly at the airport. We went to the grocery store, the gear shop, and hit the road! The next few days were spent camping, 4x4ing in my Jeep, stand-up paddle boarding, soaking at the Mt Princeton Hot Springs, and chilling around the campfire. We were a merry threesome. We laughed a ton, explored old mining ghost-towns, saw all kinds of wildlife, and talked all night until we couldn’t stay awake anymore. It truly was just a fun, care-free time with some awesome girlfriends.
Molly had to depart early, so Holly and I packed up camp and headed to the wilderness for two days of backpacking and an attempt at Mt Huron, a 14,000 ft peak in the Collegiate Range. Holly and I have climbed many peaks together over the years, so we make a great team, pushing and supporting each other. It was a challenging climb, but we conquered the peak and spent some time soaking in an incredible view from the summit. Doing hard things is good for the soul. It reminds you that you can accomplish so much when your body is strong and your mind is stronger. Yes, of course, climbing isn’t always fun. It means getting up at 4:00am, getting exhausted and sweaty, blisters, and an almost guaranteed gut-ache. But, the feeling at the summit is worth all the sweat, aches and pains of getting there. Of course, a big milkshake and burger afterwards aren’t bad rewards either!
This girls’ adventure trip was so crucial for me as a mom. It was really the first time I’d been away from my family for a substantial amount of time, since my little guy was born. I needed to feel like the person I’d been before I became “mom” for a little while. I needed to be reminded that I am capable of pushing myself, doing hard things and accomplishing big goals. I needed to cut loose, relax, laugh (a lot) and be carefree for a few days. I needed to recharge my batteries. Everyone has a different way of recharging: reading a book, getting a massage, getting a solo run in, sharing some drinks at the bar….there’s no one solution for everyone. Time spent outside, playing, with good friends is what I need. When we got home from our “momcation,” my batteries were charged to full and I was ready to tackle toddler-sized adventures again, knowing that I was still capable of big-sized adventures!
Despite my worries and mom-guilt, my husband managed to keep the house together and did amazing with River. In fact, I think they had some great bonding time during the week I was gone! It was great for River to learn a little independence, as well. That’s a skill he needs to be successful in life. As a mom, it’s hard to NOT feel like you are shirking your responsibilities when you take time off. But, taking a break and getting away is absolutely vital for your health and sanity. Recharging your batteries makes you a better person and a better mom. I know I’ve been a better mom, partner and human being since I went on my getaway, so I’m already planning next year’s “mom-cation!”
Ginny has spent her career focused on getting people outside; working with the Park Service, Forest Service, Student Conservation Association and Keystone Science School, as well as spending a decade in the outdoor retail industry. She practices what she preaches, so can usually be found outside: downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, riding her dual-sport motorcycle, running, and SUPing in the summer. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband, 1-year old son, and awesome trail dog.
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