If you’re a Mom I think this post will make you feel like you’re not alone. Please welcome the amazing Emily to the website with an update about her summer of hiking.
The sweat was dripping off my face and we hadn’t even made it half a mile into a one mile kid led hike.
“MOM!! Austin won’t be the lead! He said I need to be in front, but I don’t want to walk into spider webs!!”
Me: “Serenity, use a stick to clear the path of webs, I am dealing with your baby sister right now. “
As I’m saying this, I am struggling with a toddler and trying to maneuver her into the Tula on my back.
She’s not having it and I’m wondering if getting my kids outside was as good of an idea as I originally thought it was.
I look up from my struggles and see Austin and Serenity pushing each other.
Why did I choose hiking for our activity again today?
Ah yes, because I know that getting outdoors is good for me and my kids. I know that even thirty minutes of outdoor activity a day can make a huge difference in our lives.
So, I push us to get out some days, and this summer was no exception.
My two oldest spent a large portion of their summer with their dad, but during the time with us, they joined me on some hikes.
I wish I could tell you that every hike was perfect.
We had meltdowns, fights and moments where I questioned my own sanity for taking three kids on the trail, whether by myself or with a group.
When I thought about hiking with my kids at the beginning of the summer I was so excited.
I had these dreams about what hike we would do, how good the kids would be and how much fun they would have.
I envisioned them begging me to do another hike as soon as the first one finished.
Clearly, I was delusional.
They did not go as I planned.
But honestly, what really does when kids are involved?
Were all of the hikes perfect? No.
Did we always have fun? Heck no.
But did we learn things, get outside and experience nature? Yes.
Now, I don’t want you thinking every hike was miserable.
We did have some great hikes this summer together.
And the good did outweigh the bad.
There just may have been some rough patches to work through to get there.
What I’ve learned with my children and hiking with them this summer is that sometimes my hike won’t exactly be a hike like one would expect.
It may be a short walk in the woods where I’m bribing Lena, the youngest, with snacks to get her to walk on her own so that I don’t have to load her on my 30wk pregnant back.
It may be the hike spent with one child in front of me and the other behind me to keep them from arguing.
The hike may be spent loading Lena up with various snacks to keep her happy, letting her touch every single tree that we walk by, or stopping one-hundred times to pick up sticks, leaves, rocks, dirt or to jump in a puddle.
I could spend the entire hike going from Lena walking next to me to putting her in the carrier, back down again, and finally having her end up on my hip because she wants up and down so much.
On some hikes, I may bribe the two oldest with a treat after the hike or let them stay up later if they help me out with Lena or if they will stop arguing.
By the end of a hike with my children, I will be more exhausted, both physically and mentally, than I would have gotten hiking 10 miles by myself on difficult terrain.
But, I’ve also learned that my kids are pretty darn awesome kids.
They may not always want to hike, but often would go with me because they knew how happy it would make me.
Austin and Serenity would come knowing I would be asking them for help with Lena.
They helped with minimal complaining.
I appreciate this.
I know I can rely on them to help me carry gear and Lena when it’s getting hard for me.
We have also had some great talks that taught me about my two oldest kids.
They have told me fears, dreams, stories from school, about friends, and other things that have taught me more about who they are and what makes them special.
We have finished hikes and they have said they would do another.
They have also negotiated and told me they would do a hike later that week if we would end our hiking with the current hike we were on. (They have definitely fine tuned their negotiating skills.)
This summer hiking with my kids may not have been what I had envisioned or been absolutely perfect, but you know what?
I wouldn’t trade any of the moments we had for anything.
My appreciation for them and hiking has been made greater thanks to hiking with them.
And that hike with me dripping sweat and struggling with Lena and the arguing older kids?
My two oldest saw I was struggling and took their baby sister.
One of them held her hand as they finished the hike.
As for me, I watched the three who make my world complete enjoy each other and the woods around them.
Feature Photo Courtesy Allison Nichole Photography