I love hiking.
I love to travel.
and…I am a mom of 2.
When my husband and I decided to start having a family I was very scared that I would no longer be able to do the things that I enjoyed doing such as hiking, traveling, etc. Basically my third trimester I was pretty sold on this idea that the life I once had was over. Yes.. I know so dramatic. I was very fearful that the active lifestyle I have come to love and adore within my marriage would simply vanish upon my son’s birth.
I am happy to report that 2 and 1/2 years into motherhood that my ability to hike and travel has not been taken from me or vanished from thin air. If anything it has just been enhanced because I get to explore places with my sons, Camden and Cole.
Camden my oldest has been my trail buddy since before he was born. My husband was deployed from about the time I was 5 months pregnant till Camden was 7 months-old. I spent a lot of time walking and hitting the trials to pass the time and fill my day. Camden is 2 and 1/2 years-old now which means he is all about his independence. He wants his own water, he wants to dress himself and has recently even started to tell us that he wants to go on a hike. He no longer wants to be carried – he wants to walk. I adore this independent piece of his personality that is blooming. Along, with that he also has a strong streak of adventure seeking. He demonstrates that he loves to climb – from the moment he sees a rock face he is determined to climb up.
As much as the scared mom piece of my brain is triggered to tell him to get down in fear that he will fall – I typical remain quiet unless I am cheering him on to keep going. I do not want him to be scared. I want him to feel capable and able of completing the task he started. He believes that he will climb up. It is my job to ensure he has a cheerleader to encourage him. That is what I love about hiking with toddlers. I watch him problem solve, critically think and practice his listening because, Lord knows he only listens to Dad lately.
The picture of Camden climbing was at the Hole in the Rock at Papago Rock . Here are a couple tips if you plan on visiting with small kids. I was baby wearing my other son at the time while Camden started to climb which made it difficult because Camden wanted to climb and I could get high enough with him to make sure I was there to catch him.. if he did fall.
1. Ensure your shoes and toddler shoes have a great grip. (You need to be solid to catch or carry your child. )
4. Patience ( I think it is important to set a clear mindset that you might not get a great physical workout because toddlers stop and need to rest a lot. However, spending that quality time exploring is one of the most fulfilling things I find when we are in those moments.
I know it can seem challenging and a bit overwhelming to… legit climb a mountain with a baby… thinking they could have a blow out at any time! Try to remember that if you shift your expectations and your thinking to creating a new level set of experiences with something you enjoy with the people that light up your life you will be in for a treat.
Stay tuned for my next blog on the best toddler hikes around Arizona.
Brittany Donnelly is a an Army wife and mother to two little boys: Camden (2 and 1/2 years-old) and Cole (8 months-old). She works full time at a IT Consulting Firm as a Project Manager and a Consultant. In her spare time she enjoys hiking. Any excuse to escape and hike a mountain is her thing. As her husband says “you just like to go walk around in the dirt.” He is right… hiking and the outdoors is the most therapeutic, stress relieving thing that she is able to execute. Hiking and explore for her is the one thing that she can do to mentally push out stressors and clear space while getting a great workout in and seeing amazing views.