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Building Family Unity in the Outdoors

Our family usually draws some attention when we are out hiking or skiing or biking or playing. Maybe it’s because everyone is usually animated and busy and doing something, maybe it’s because the kids are cute (yes, I know, I’m super biased), maybe it’s because our group tends to be particularly loud.

But really – I think more than anything else, it’s because we are out as a family, with more than two kids.

Sometimes the attention is something like, “oh they’re so CUTE!” Sometimes it’s along the lines of “Wow! You sure are brave parents.”

Last weekend we had a college- aged guy ski past us, laugh a little as he saw the boys skiing (in a “oh so cute” sort of way), then caught sight of the baby in the backpack, and the last words I heard as we passed him were, “oh my GOSH!” (in a “in a you-have-way-too-many-kids” kind of way).  

I wanted to yell back to him something like, “we left the other 4 at home!” just to get a reaction, but I held my tongue.

But, really the point of this post isn’t to defend the size of our family – there are plenty out there that have more kids than we do. I personally think three is a pretty normal number. We love our kids, talking-back and poop explosions and all.  We even like them…most of the time!

The real pertinent question is:

Why do we take all those kids out on adventures with us?

And the answer is, “Why not?!?”

What’s the risk? The downsides? The disadvantages?The reasons behind just chilling out and staying home? And yes, there ARE some. It’s more work, for sure.

More gear, more whining, more crowd control, more weight to carry or drag along. But, also more laughter, more motivation, more nature-sighting, more love and more purpose felt as parents. 

We aren’t just teaching them to love the outdoors, we are teaching them problem-solving (falls while skiing, changing a flat tire, trail navigation) and the advantages of working together.

My husband and I are committed to our family. It’s our number one job and call in life, like it or not. Like everyone else, we have good days and bad days. We have days, weekends and weeks when we just want to stay at home and take a breather.

We sometimes look at each other and wonder how we found each other. We often look at the kids and wonder where in the world they came from and how we can possibly be old enough to have THREE of them. It’s normal.

We’ve also found that life is so much better when we feel tied together as a family – on the same mission and with the same end goal. At home with the confines of housework and job work and all that goes along with regular living, we find ourselves pulled in a bunch of different directions, often away from each other.

The meals need cooked, a tower needs built, a car needs washed, a blog post needs written, a baby needs cuddled, etc.

It’s when we take time outside together, that we laugh together more, we talk more, we celebrate each other more. And, as a mom (and for my husband, as a dad), we feel a keen sense of “THIS is what it’s all about.” 

We are a team, a family, overcoming obstacles together and rejoicing when all the hard work and practice (skiing, biking, etc.) finally comes together.

Sometimes that means doing things a bit different than everyone else. It means believing in our kids and their physical and mental capabilities. It means trusting ourselves as parents and the fact that this is all worth it.

We have a lot of rough days – it’s sort of the standard with three kids under 6. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a crazy beautiful life, enhanced with a dedication to our family and making memories together.

Our hope is these adventures only become more rich and beautiful as they get older – right now we’re building “our normal” with the hopes that we’re all in it together for the long run because we’re having fun!

Cheers to that!

© 2015, 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.

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