Why is it so tough to adventure as a mom?
Alright, get your excuses ready.
In my previous post I wrote about nine reasons you should be fighting like hell to add some adventure to your life. After reading it, you may be tempted to say:
“Okay. You’ve convinced me that adventure is important. BUT I’ve got young children, a busy career, and a very high maintenance pet goat. There is NO way I can do the things I want to do…”
Save your breath. I’ve used every one of those excuses (except the pet goat) a million times already.
Truth is, there are some very real barriers to adventuring with kids or even just as a busy adult. Some of them are practical and need to be addressed if you want to infuse your life with more adventurous activities. Others are perceived barriers and require a change in your mindset.
But do you want to know a secret?
The women who are out there living amazing adventure-filled lives still face the same barriers you do.
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I know because they told me.
They don’t magically have kids who watch themselves or jobs and spouses that don’t require their time. These are real moms making the damn thing work. Because they choose to. Because they made it a priority. And because they intentionally build adventure into their lives.
Major props to them, because it is not easy. So let’s just get these excuses out of the way and acknowledge the barriers to an adventure-filled life. Then we can figure out how to tackle those barriers with some insight and advice from women who are making it happen, even with several kids in tow.
10 reasons you aren’t climbing Mt. Everest next weekend
(or 10 common barriers preventing you from kicking ass)
1. Lack of childcare
Adventuring with children in tow is possible, and probably the most common way Adventure Mamas get it done. But at some point, you are going to want (or need) to get some solo time out on the trail, on the water, or on the rock.
Whether you and your partner both work or one stays home with the kids—finding childcare so that each of you can have extra time to fly solo can be difficult.
Childcare can be expensive, it can be a hassle to find someone you trust, and there can be guilt associated with farming your kid out to someone else so you can go play outside.
It can be especially hard when kids are very young and rely on mama for nursing. And don’t think I forgot about you single parents — I don’t know how you do it. But I know getting any kind of solo time must be incredibly difficult. Props to you.
Remember before kids when you could spontaneously go for a trail run after work? Or you planned long bike rides that took up most of your Saturday? Yeah. Did you take it for granted too?
Like many parents, my days are now a flurry of getting everyone up and out of the house, to daycare, to work, rushing back to daycare for pickup, making dinner, shower and bedtime for the kiddo, and collapsing into bed with my husband so that we can fall asleep while watching a movie.
Meanwhile, my life To-Do list seems to be growing exponentially. Trying to find a time to squeeze some adventure in can seem impossible.
When children are young they have nap times, bedtimes, mealtimes – all of which are carefully orchestrated to preserve a happy and functioning family. With some kids, missing a nap time can wreak havoc on the family.
If we go for a hike now, will we be back in time for Billy’s nap?
As children get older they get their own lives with activities and schedules to coordinate. Soccer practice, swim team, school schedules, and more.
This may mean that you have to plan longer trips around the school year or skip a camping weekend because of the soccer championship.
Raising a family takes work. Nurturing a marriage takes work. Maintaining a household takes work. Your career takes work.
Do any of you think there is too little on your plate at the moment?
I didn’t think so. The tricky part is balancing all of these needs while maintaining your own health and sanity.
5. Your family wants to do different things
Does your spouse not enjoy the same activities as you? Are your kids big enough now that you can’t just drag them with you when you go cycling or hiking? Do they (gasp!) have their own opinions about what they want to do on their weekends? And does it not include going an a family adventure? This can be a sad and difficult phase to negotiate.
6. Difficult to do certain activities with kids
There are certain adventure activities that are just more difficult to do when you have young children.
Mountain biking, surfing, ice-climbing, long-distance trekking.
If these types of activities are your favorite, you may need to find an alternative adventure outlet for awhile or figure out how to sneak in some solo time.
7. Money doesn’t grow on trees
As your family grows in size travel becomes more expensive. Four plane tickets, two hotel rooms, dinner for four — all cost more than when you backpacked around Europe solo (1 plane ticket, 1 dingy hostel room, a baguette and liter of table wine.)
Simultaneously, your “adventure budget” may be taking a hit since you are paying for childcare, contemplating private school, and saving for college.
8. More planning and preparation
One of the biggest barriers the mamas I surveyed all said was the level of planning required and the loss of spontaneity. It is just harder to pack and accommodate the needs of little ones — and sometimes that prevents us from even trying.
If you are exhausted and overwhelmed before you even leave the house — where is the fun in that?
9. Health concerns
Unfortunately, as we age it is more common that we and our loved ones are plagued by injuries or serious health concerns. This can make adventure difficult because we are caring for others, nursing an injured shoulder, or facing some serious health issues.
But at times like this, it may be more important to get outdoors.
Often when you’re diagnosed with some kind of chronic illness, it’s super scary and so you feel safest near medical facilities. But never underestimate the healing power of fresh air in your lungs, sun on your skin, and dirt in your fingernails.
—Tess Ley @tinygreenhands
10. Guilt with taking time for yourself
Mom guilt. It’s real. Sometimes it is hard to prioritize yourself and your own needs. But it’s a must do.
The most important thing for your kids is to have happy and healthy parents. Model good self-care and habits for your kids.
Wow. So was that a bit of a bummer list? Are you feeling vindicated in that there is no way you can fit adventure into your life?
Well, hold on a quick second — that’s not why we are here. We are here to figure out how to make it work.
Remember, there are women just like you, facing these same barriers who have figured out how to fit adventure into their lives.
In the next few posts, I’ll share practical tips from real Adventure Mamas to help you adventure more both with and without your kids. In the meantime, take a few minutes to do two things.
First, decide that you want to add adventure to your life and that it is possible. Adopting this mindset is an important first step to making adventure a reality. Make it a priority.
Revisit your beliefs around what is and what is not possible with children. Decide that this is how you want to raise your kids. If adventure is a core value of yours, then the challenges that come along with this lifestyle are easier to handle.
Next, revisit your list of excuses of why you can’t adventure. Can you brainstorm a few ideas of how to overcome those challenges? Can you reframe them as mere challenges instead of barriers?
If you need some help — don’t worry, I’ve got great input from a crack team of Adventure Moms coming in the upcoming posts.