How I realized that motherhood didn’t mean abandoning myself. I can be an adventure loving mom, embracing the best parts of me, and also sharing them with my family.
Sponsored by Zappos
What compromises did you make when you became a mother? Were you prepared for how much life would change or did you have a hard time adjusting? I had spent most of my life as an impulsive, risk taker – always searching for the next big adventure. When my husband and I were first married, we traveled the country for about six months living in his pickup and hopping from one National Park to the next. Any chance I had to travel, I accepted first and asked questions later.
When I had my first son, I was set on the “have it all” mentality. I thought I could just toss a baby into my daily juggling and go on with my normal life. A baby would just be another “task” I could manage, no problem. If you are a mom reading this, you know how absolutely ridiculous and naive that sounds. It has taken years for our lives to return to some kind of normalcy. My son is now three, and we have settled into a routine (which looks nothing like my life pre-baby). With fall approaching, we are expecting our second baby, and underneath the excitement and joy, I also have this sinking feeling about what will have to change.
However, if there is one thing I have learned so far, it is that I need to make time for the things that make me who I am. As I transitioned into my role as a first time mom, I realized that I had to make sacrifices in order to be the mother I wanted to be. I did a complete 180. I went from thinking I could “have it all” to abandoning practically everything from my pre-motherhood days. I gave everything to my son, first and foremost. Between a newborn and work, there was nothing left for anyone else. not even me. I was too exhausted to be a wife or even just be myself. Everything in my life suffered, and after becoming a mom, I had never felt so lost or alone. It was in this fog that I returned to the one thing that had always soothed my soul…my love for the outdoors.
As a child, I had spent all of my spare time outside. From running through the apple orchard behind our house to family camping trips, I have always preferred exploring the outdoors to anything else. It was the only thing my father passed on to me before his death, but looking back, I don’t know if he truly loved the great outdoors or he just wanted a break from his six kids. Either way, it has been one of the few things that has remained a constant in my life, and it has continued to evolve throughout each transition. I realized that being a mother didn’t mean abandoning myself, but embracing the best parts of me and sharing them with my family.
Being in the woods was an escape when I a child, it was an exercise routine when I was in my 20s, it was a form of meditation after I had my son, and now, it has become a way to bond with my family. We hike local trails together, and it has been a chance to introduce our son to the importance of caring for the earth. As we explore, we pick up litter and talk about what it means to reduce our carbon footprint. It has inspired us to recycle more and even begin our own compost pile.
In the woods, we teach our son about basic directions and plants to avoid. My husband and I talk about our own childhoods spent outside, and everywhere we aspire to hike from right in our hometown to across the world. We talk about the National Parks we want to take our sons back to when they are old enough to appreciate the beauty, and what new adventures that await us as a family.
I understand now that I have to maintain those parts of me that make me feel alive. It makes me a better person and a better mother. Sharing my love for the outdoors has allowed me to teach my son so much and even learn alongside him. With another son on the way, it may be a new family dynamic, but I am excited to create new traditions and continue to share the beauty our world has to offer. It will also remain the one thing in my life that allows me to be myself and connects me with my past and future.
Through all of the adventures I have enjoyed, I have always preferred North Face products. Their well made items hold up to the elements and have kept me warm, dry and sheltered on more occasions than I can count. It will be the brand my own kids will wear on our adventures, so I was thrilled to be able to try out The Campshire Fleece from Zappos and North Face as well as the The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece Top. With fall in full swing here in northern Michigan, the weather can go from warm and sunny to freezing at the drop of a hat.
I love that the Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece Top is lightweight and stretchy so I can wear it before and after pregnancy. Its soft fleece is comfortable and breathable while keeping me warm even on chilly fall afternoon. When it gets too cold, I can easily throw the Campshire Fleece on over it. It’s decadently soft 300-weight Sherpa fleece reminds me of the thick fur of a grizzly bear’s coat. I can layer the two together without feeling bulky and hike comfortably even in Michigan’s frigid temperatures.
Are you an adventure loving mom? Do you have a trusted brand you prefer over others?
Thank you to Zappos and North Face for supplying me with product. Be sure to check out the Campshire Fleece and Glacier Zip up at Zappos.com. All opinions remain my own.