How to solo adventure when you have kids
This post is part of a series — The Ultimate Guide to Adventure as a Mom. Check out any previous posts you may have missed here:
The Ultimate Guide to Adventure as a Mom (intro)
9 Reasons You Need More Adventure as a Mom
Why Is It So Tough to Adventure as a Mom
How To Have More Adventures With Your Kids
Okay, let’s be real. Kids hikes aren’t going to do it for you every time. At some point, you just need to get away, get some fresh air and perspective, and really challenge yourself.
And that’s ok. It’s ok to need to get away from your family for a short time. It doesn’t make you a bad parent or spouse.
But how do you actually make it happen?
Well, in a word—childcare. That might be paid childcare, a friend, or even just swapping off childcare duties with your spouse. And while that sounds easy, it can be surprisingly difficult to mamas that desperately need an adventure break. So let’s break it down into some actionable steps.
Step 1. Give yourself permission
Childcare is not just for work and emergencies. If you are a stay at home mom, could you get a babysitter 1 morning a week so you could go surf or climb?
Or if you and your partner both work all week, how about arranging for grandma to watch your kids on Saturday morning so you can go on a mountain bike ride together?
What would those few hours mean to you and your partner?
Step 2. Make it a priority
There are a million things on your list. But if you want to be more adventurous, than you need to make time for it, plan it, and prioritize it. Further still, talk with your spouse and kids about your desire and need to get some adventure in regularly.
Will an hour or two of alone time out on the trail make you happier, calmer, and more enjoyable to be around? I’m pretty sure your spouse and kids will give you the thumbs up to make that happen. Don’t be a martyr and sacrifice your adventure time “for the good” of the family. Often, that sacrifice does more harm than good.
Step 3: Schedule it
Adventure is not just going to happen. You need to plan it.
Pick a day. Commit to what you want to do. Call grandma. Put it on the calendar.
“If I plan in advance and say “this is what I am doing Sunday” it helps to ensure it happens…Schedule time for yourself and don’t back down when the time comes! Find other moms to go with so you have someone holding you accountable.
—Stephanie Vidergar @mindingthepath
“Make lots of plans and stick to as many as you can. If you don’t plan it, it doesn’t happen.” —Tess Ley @tiny_green_hands
Step 4: Get Childcare
A word about childcare.
Are you like me and cringe when you think about having to arrange childcare? Just the thought of finding someone I trust to watch my child seems overwhelming, and so I have put it off. This means my husband and I rarely get a chance to go kid-free.
Childcare can be expensive, difficult to arrange and leave you feeling guilty. But, if you want to get outside and seek some “me time”, it will eventually be a necessity. Plus, my daughter loves her daycare and babysitters so much – I find it hard to explain the guilt I have around hiring people to watch her. So let’s bite the bullet together, get creative, and seek out some childcare solutions. It’s worth it in the end.
Childcare can come in many forms. Here are some ideas from pro-moms of how to use childcare to get some time to adventure – without your kids:
- Hire a babysitter for a few hours while you go play.
- Utilize drop-in care facilities for a few hours each week.
- Get some adventure in while your kids are at their regular daycare.
- Arrange babysitter swaps with friends and trade weekends.
- Trade-off with your spouse/partner.
- Sneak out in the early morning (while your spouse is home) and kids are sleeping.
Step 5: Take turns
While you may not get to adventure together, swapping off childcare duties with your partner is an easier way to get some solo adventure time. The trick is making it happen regularly.
Try each picking a regular day and time that is designated as your time to pursue a hobby or activity. For example, your time could be Wednesday afternoons/evenings. During that time you can go surf, take a yoga class, or whatever you want. (Note: Laundry and grocery shopping are not allowed.) This time is yours to do what you want, and your partner is in charge of the kids. In exchange, your partner gets Saturday mornings to do whatever they please.
Not only does this arrangement let you get regular bouts of adventure into your week, but when you are feeling a little burnt out and frustrated during the week, knowing that you have that Wednesday block coming can make all the difference.
Step 6: Make it regular
Tara Matheron, a contributor to the Adventure Mamas Initiative, and the creator of the blog Rocky Mountain Minis wrote an awesome post about the power of having a regular night out with other adventure-minded mamas. She lines up a babysitter every Tuesday night so she can go skiing or climbing with a group of moms. She says, “Tuesdays are fragile. It’s a night that I place on a pedestal and cherish. A priceless experience that grounds me and replenishes my spirit.” Take her lead and create a regular adventure opportunity.
Step 7: Play hooky
This idea from Karen de Wolfe of www.momthletes.com is one of my favorites. She recommends playing hooky with your partner and having a “Treat Yourself” day while the kids are at school. Drop the kids off in the morning and call in sick to your responsibilities! Karen says, “our friends take our kids home after school and we have from 8 am till 6 pm” to play together! Can you imagine?!
Step 8: Plan larger trips
Does the idea of a Girl’s Weekend sound fabulous, but totally unattainable? Have you even considered it or just brushed away the idea as impossible?
Karen shared how her mom friends are able to plan a week or weekend away.
With enough planning, they let their partners know ahead of time what is happening, make childcare arrangements to help out while they are away, and allow partners to adjust their schedules as necessary.
Depending on the age of your kids, you may have more opportunities to sneak off for a mini adventure by yourself.
But no matter the age of your kids, don’t underestimate how powerful and rejuvenating a solo-session can be.
So give yourself permission, make It priority, get creative with sorting out some childcare, schedule it, and get outside!
I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to sneak in some adventure with or without your partner. Do you have a regular time each week devoted to your preferred activity? Have you ever played hooky while your kids were at school? Comment below, and let me know!