I recently attended a craft lecture taught by a knowledgeable and witty college professor. He professed to all of us 'wanna be' writers that no one could teach us the craft of writing. We just simply had to write, and own it (that was the key), and that got me thinking! No one can teach us mamas how to mom. Whether you are a crunchy mom, a helicopter mom, a tiger mom, or a I-DON'T-KNOW-WHAT-THE-HECK-I'M-DOING mom; the fact is simple, you are a mom and you're doing the best you can.
I typically find myself in the latter category, and so, believe it or not, I turn to travel and adventure for those defeated mom moments. So, while my tips for mastering the art of adventure mom-ing may be fun and informational, they may not be for everyone, and that's why it's called an art! Art can be interpreted however one wants it to be.
Numero Uno: Accept That Your Life is a Circus
So you're in the car, ready for your family road trip. Twenty minutes down the road (after you've passed every last rest area and gas stop) child number one, exorcist vomits and child number two suddenly emits some strange smells and starts complaining of a tummy ache. Why wouldn't that happen? Your life is a circus, but instead of tamed animals, you have untamable, tiny humans that run the show. I merely accept this fact every time I leave the house. Hopefully you have a supportive partner to help you wrangle the craziness and laugh it off. Because at the end of the day, you have to admit, these stories make the best memories.
Give Yourself a Good Old Fashioned Pep Talk
I do this all. the. time.
"Okay, Linds, you got this. He already pooped this morning, and you actually drank your coffee hot. The iPad is charged and ready, in case of an emergency. The diaper bag is stocked with every possible snack he could ever want, ever, including M&M's for bribing. There is even milk in his favorite sippy to wash it down. Good job for brushing your hair today. You're a goddess and your butt looks good in those jeans. Go get 'er done, woman!" *gives self high five*
Your own personal pep talk will most likely differ from mine, but should always include "good job for ___" and "you're a goddess." Give yourself some much needed credit, you deserve it!
Know Your Limits
I recently had a meltdown about going to Costco by myself with my 3 year-old while my husband and I were living long distance. Keep in mind this is coming from a woman who travels hundreds of miles by herself, conquers all sorts of scary goals, and basically says no to nothing in life, all while dragging her toddler behind her. My husband was completely baffled as to why his very capable wife was suddenly a blubbering mess about flying solo with a toddler at Costco (her favorite store on earth).
"Because everything at Costco is so heavy!" I said "And our child is heavy, and he gets mad at their double seated carts, and it doesn't open until 10 in the morning, and it's so close to nap time that my anxiety just can't take it!"
He kept trying to make me see the light at the end of the insanity tunnel, but it didn't happen. I refused. In that moment, I knew my limits. I knew I would be a giant stress ball of mommy fire, and it wouldn't be fair to me or our son for me to push that limit.
That's an extremely small, one-time example, but you get the picture! Whenever you are trying something new, give yourself a break if you have met your limit. Your limits will be different than others because you have different life experiences and stresses than anyone else. That being said, when it comes to travel and adventure, you will meet your limits A LOT. Take it one step at a time and slowly build a bigger comfort zone. Small steps outside that comfort zone are healthy, but if you feel uncomfortable or way too stressed out, take a step back and try again another day.
Whatever you envision your life to be, make it happen! Get out there with your kiddos, even if you're a little scared, anxious, stressed or have never done it before. Keep your spirits up, laugh it off, and keep on truckin'! Learn about yourself, and discover what kind of mom you want to be. Create your own adventure with your family and relive the memories you make forever!
Featured Image PC: Josh Willink
Written by Lindsay Helm