I see myself as a strong woman. Independent, stubborn, motivated, and willing to at least give a really honest attempt to whatever I set my mind too.
I brush off 4 (almost 5) kids as “no big deal”. I attempt to juggle homeschool, an outdoor life, a blog, a few online classes and and from-scratch cooking, etc.
Routinely people ask me “how I do it.”
Here’s my secret – I don’t. And if you would have asked anyone about me 20 years ago, they would have said I couldn’t.
The truth is that my strength comes only from my admittance to my weaknesses…..and learning on those weaknesses to move forward. And weak, I was. And weak I am still working to overcome/embrace.
I was weak because I didn’t understand myself, nor did I allow my capacity as a woman to grow into what it could be!
While I grew up in the mountains of Alaska, I didn’t fully acknowledge my need for the wilderness until I was in my 20s.
I struggled to conform. Drowned myself in sports and school. Fell into the trap of a prideful focus on my looks and how I compared to others.
I saw only glimpses of my happiest moments when spent outside.
Like many, I went through periods of depression and loneliness as I scrambled to define who I was….to myself.
I college I had one year where my class schedule aligned so that I had 3 days a week completely open. While I maybe should have been spending time on my homework and prepping for my student teaching, I headed to the mountains.
I spent a lot of money in gas, a lot of energy in attempting to get others to join me, and, most importantly, a lot of time in deep inner-reflection. While I was paying for my college education (which I don’t regret, by the way), I was learning much more out of the classroom than in.
At first I was fearful of the unknown and felt jealous of my guy friends that didn’t think twice about going up alone. While I continue to cautious (because there is wisdom in that!), I realized during those months more than any other time that I was the one limiting myself. I was the one putting myself in a “feminine” box that told me I couldn’t.
But, I could. And I did.
I am a #ForceofNature in the very realization that for me to be fully myself, I need to connect to that nature every single day. Otherwise I risk bringing others down with me as I fall in my own pity party (and, girl, I can PARTY!)
I need my heart to pump.
I need the fresh air on my face.
I need a glimpse of God in the wonders of this world. And I will never find that in the constraints of any walls.
And now I’m a mom and that changes everything…..
I don’t do well being “stuck” at home. My kids quickly become a hinderance to my schedule and day, rather than integrated into my life and my love (as they should be!)
I am my own worst enemy……my find is far weaker than my body.
But, I have my own daughters looking up to me now (and my sons too, of course). I can speak as loud as I want, but my words mean nothing if my actions don’t follow. They need to see me both in my strength….and in my weaknesses moving towards something better. They need to see me outside in all it’s glories and challenges.
Because I am a woman. I am a mom. I am real. Not someone standing on a pedestal looking down at my kids or anyone else.
It’s not easy getting out the door every day.
It’s the harder route to choose outside time when the weather is nasty and threatening.
With 4 kids it can literally take 2 hours to get out.
Sometimes I take them, occasionally it’s just me.
Sometimes it’s the entire day, sometimes it’s 15 minutes.
It’s always beneficial. Always. Whether it feels that way during the moment or not!
And so the #ForceofNature propels me. I propel me. I choose who I want to be and what I want my life to look like. And yes, sometimes I need a little help from a friend too.
Join me in the Outdoor Mom Academy!
Feeling not quite where you want to be as far as confidence, especially when getting out with kids? It’s certainly not easy. At all.
We’re taking 6 weeks, along with Rebecca of Hike Like a Woman and Susan of Mountain Mom and Tots to work together to build skills, conversation and community so we can boost each other along this summer. So we can allow that #ForceofNature to reside in each of us too, even as moms.
We will be covering the following topics:
– Raising outdoor leaders.
– Identifying, reducing and managing risk in the outdoors
– Family First Aid
– Family Camping Made Simple
– How to Pack What you Need
– Equipping your family for outdoor adventure on a budget
Plus goodies, giveaways and a community that will rock your socks off (because we are not alone in this journey!)
And REI is one of our sponsors, which we are beyond excited about!
And be sure to sign up this week before registration goes up $20 next week!
I highly encourage you to click over and check out this great article about what the REI #ForceofNature campaign is all about. REI is committing to “leveling the playing field” in both opportunities for women outside AND gear for women. Here’s a few reasons why:
They’ve also compiled a great list of #ForceofNature gear here (more on that later too!)
Don’t forget to pin it:
© 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.