Dear Moms and Dads,
Your children are not simply an inconvenience. They are not “in the way” of your real life. They are not something to just deal with for a few hours and then move on.
They are not trying to make you crazy, test your patience or make you regret your life choices.
They are your children. And they love you and look up to you.
They want to be just like you, for good or bad.
But, don’t worry, those thoughts in your head, those frustrations – it’s not your fault. Our society has successfully engrained in us a firm resolve to do what we want, when we want it. And no one should get in our way, even our own children.
Sure, things change, especially as far as an outdoor life, when kids come along. More gear, less forward movement, more time to do it. It takes some adjusting and relearning and a whole lot of discovery.
But, don’t you see? Bringing them along makes the adventure even more epic. You can accomplish that adventure you’ve been dreaming of, but can you do it WITH the kids too?
Yep, that plan you have to bag a high peak may have to wait until the baby is a little older.
What once just took a long day on the trail may now take three.
You’ll have to navigate through some whining and tantrums and someone with a personality just as stubborn and driven as yours.
But, fostering a love for the outdoors (you know, so they can join you on all those grand plans you have in your head) starts now. By teaching them to love it alongside you, you’re teaching them that they matter enough to you that you want them on your team. For life.
Believe me, I totally get needing some kid-free time on your own. And I think you should take it. Every once in a while. Do what you need to do and don’t feel guilty about that. Some time on our own challenging ourselves to grow helps us be better people, better parents.
But, please don’t farm your children out on a regular basis because it’s easier without them. Make family time the majority and priority. It goes a long, long way.
When you’re struggling to maintain a level of patience and understanding amidst tantrums, a (very) slow pace and irrational kid-needs, remember your end goal: to raise fantastic adults. It takes time and effort. A lot of effort. And the bad days shape them just as much as the good days, maybe more.
This does get easier. It is worth it. You will make it, and so will they. Team-building, family-building starts now. Today. One forward step at a time.
Get out there.
And don’t forget the M&Ms.
Cheers and High Fives all Around!
A Mom Who Understands Rough Days on the Trail of Life
© 2015, 2017, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.