Confessions of an Outdoor Mom

Bonbon Break
This is a little bit of a rant, joke and plain honesty about my life of an outdoor mom.  Just like any first time mom I read all the books, tried my best to do everything in the "correct" way with my kids but let's face it, I just do what I can to survive with two toddlers.  A lot of people think I have always been outdoorsy, but as a matter of fact most of my life I've been a "Mall Rat".  My toddlers have actually molded me to be an outdoor mom because of their personalities.

Hiking Mama on the Pacific Crest Trail - Vasquez Rocks
I have been blessed with one SUPER energetic child and another child that LOVES getting dirty and being outdoors.  Over the last four years of my new life of motherhood, my children have pushed me into embracing the outdoors even more (for my sanity) and with that here are my confessions of an outdoor mom.

Confession #1: "Mall Rat" converted to "Gear Junkie"

I used to spend hours and hours on end at the mall (prior to marriage/kids) shopping for clothing, shoes (stilettos in particular) whatever I could find on sale.  I still have that shopping tendency but now at our local outdoor gear store.  I mean the employees ask about our kids all the time.  From backpacking, camping, hiking and our recently added family outdoor activities of rock climbing, snowshoeing and biking means more gear for the family.  My mall rat persona was more selfish in nature but my gear junkie habits are for the family.  I'm always on the search for outdoor kid clothing and gear that I love getting on Super Sale.  I'm a sucker for sales.

Confession #2: Playgrounds are Not My Favorite Place

Don't get me wrong I love playgrounds, a good portion of my childhood memories are at playground parks but my kids always end up leaving in tears because they don't want to leave or they have some other playground drama.  I prefer to take them to the trail where nature is their playground, we sit by a creek or lake and they can entertain themselves.

Nature's Sand box and Monkey Gym
At playgrounds, I constantly need to watch where they escape to and my children want me to be interacting with both at the same time and frankly it tires me out more than my kids.  Which defeats the point of taking them to the playground, I want them tired not me! When I do go to playgrounds with my kids, I choose:
  • Smaller less popular and visited playgrounds, where I can keep my eye on both.
  • Make playground dates with my children's friends to avoid less playground drama.
  • Go during "school hours" to avoid the after-school playground rush.
  • Visit on chilly days because it tires my children quicker and there are less people.

Confession #3: Coffee is our Family Fuel on the Trail

It's sounds awful but in my Latino culture kids drink coffee....well more like "Cafe con Leche" with sugar.  I remember my parents giving me some growing up and I wasn't addicted as a child but now I am...  It's more difficult to prepare coffee than chocolate when backpacking with only a restrictive amount of cups, so I just pass my "Cafe con Leche" along to my little one.

Cafe con Leche on the beach
My daughter is a huge fan of coffee, my son is not since he's just "naturally caffeinated!" I confess I have given them caffeinated soda, chocolate covered coffee beans as well as tiny dregs of my energy shots so they could finish hiking.  Mother of the Year award, thank you very much.  Please don't call CPS on me.

Confession #4: Not So Perfect Trail Etiquette...

As an outdoor loving family we try our hardest to follow all the trail rules and etiquette, especially "Leave No Trace".  Try hiking with a toddler going through potty training, a screaming child wanting wild blackberries along the trail or wild flower.  Here it goes, I confess...

  • Small bladders = no wait time, my kids pee almost anywhere on the trail.  I try to make them hold it to the bathroom but it sometimes doesn't work.  Now I have to train them that it's not ok to do it in front of a store or in a line in Disneyland....
  • I have a picky toddler that sometimes doesn't eat for days, so when he asks to give him food to eat, I do!  He loves blackberries and when blackberries are plentiful along the trail, we pick and eat them.  He's actually learned to identify blackberries and looks for them every time we hike! The land's original inhabitants are no longer eating them....that's how I justify it.
  • I pick wildflowers for my daughter.  She loves flowers, absolutely loves flowers and sometimes it's the only way to stop her from crying on the trail.  One time while backpacking she yelled half asleep "STOP!!! I see flowers!!" as we walked through a wildflower field.  I just make sure she leaves the flower back on the trail so the seeds can be re-planted in the same general area.
  • Gross Factor Confession: I clean up after my kids messes all the time and when I see other people trail trash I will pick it up 99.9% of the time, except on one occasion.  While hiking at a National Park, I saw a wet, dirty men's underwear on the side of the trail, I'm sorry but that's where I draw the line.  Why would ANYONE do that?!?! Someone else can clean that up.  Gross. Period.
Confession #5: Escape from the House to Not Clean

I confess, I escape from my house to the outdoors because I don't want to clean up sometimes.  I could tell you why, but Alyssa from The Kid Project beautifully explains my feelings exactly in her post "I am a Half Dirtbag Mommy".  I'm not the only one but it is still my personal goal to try my best to clean up!

Check out other great Outdoor Parents Confessions!
  1. Jen of Adventurous Moms confesses how she's a little bit squeamish of creepy crawlers.
  2. Sometimes little trail meltdowns happens as Jennifer of Mommy Hiker experienced.  It's ok!
  3. I love Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies brutally honest confessions of being a "far from perfect mountain mama".  Tanya's confessions are some that I've experience first hand too.
  4. "On occasion I've failed to notice the clothes my boys had picked out for a day in the mountains.  When we went to Chester Lake in the fall, I didn't notice that they were in shorts on grey [rocks] close to zero temps until we started hiking.  One of the other dads said something about my sons being true Canadians or something..." confesses Ken of Big Grey Rocks.  No one lost any digits to frost bite!
  5. Amelia of Tales of a Mountain Mama confesses "I get outside for ME first.  I am a terrible mom if I am stuck inside all day and therefore I see it for their benefit too.  Oh and everyone drives me CRAZY inside - it's all just a sanity thing!"
  6. "I'm a stay at home mom but that doesn't mean I stay at home" says Alyssa from The Kid Project.
  7. Gayle of Sometimes Eventful confesses that she likes to think outside but also likes "chocolate mixed with reality TV every now and then".  Chasqui Mom is also a fan of the certain reality shows!
  8. In The Adventures of Parenthood Project, Meghan talks about "The Transition to Parenthood: 5 Things I Didn't Consider."
I have many more confessions that will come in some other future posts but until then these confessions are why I love being an outdoor mom.  No one is perfect, we are all "work in process", what I'm learning is to follow my instincts to keep my household happy both on and off the trail.

Confessions are good for the soul! Leave a comment below with your outdoor confession.

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