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The other day, I took Big E and little g sledding on a nearby hill. It was beautiful weather and E was bursting with excitement, ready to conquer the slope. I was happy just being outside after wrestling everyone into snow gear. Little g, a new walker, was happy walking.
As we headed toward the slope, little g decided she would rather stay to flatter terrain and walk down our driveway. A contented smile lit up her face, at least until she made it to the road. That’s when I stopped her. I picked her up and brought her back to the top of the driveway. Again she walked happily down, making straight for oncoming traffic. Again I picked her up. Meanwhile, Big E wanted me to slide down the hill with him. This video describes what happened.
As you can see, even the best laid plans don’t always work out. After the crying, I brought little g back to the house and a sick Mountain Dad tried to cheer her up. Big E and I then went down the hill twice before snow got in my coat and the sun started setting. We trudged back up the hill to find little g still screaming, more for mama to hold her, not because she fell.
We had barely been outside at all before she slipped. Total we maybe spent fifteen minutes outdoors. My fun sledding activity promptly failed, despite my best efforts.
It wasn’t as if I was ill prepared. We all wore warm clothes, mittens and boots. I chose a time of day when both kids were well rested and fed. But despite all my efforts the activity ended with little g screaming, Big E slipping and me dragging kids and a big blue sled up the hill. All that work for only fifteen minutes.
Sometimes I wonder if any outdoor experience is worth the effort.
Weighing the needs of both children with my own (and I need to be outside at least everyday for my sanity) is a constant battle. Do I bundle us all up to play outside if I know little g will inevitably get cold, wet and cranky? On our sledding activity would it have better to force little g to go on the sled with me, while she wriggled and cried the whole time? Or would it have been better to make Big E stay on the driveway with us, ignoring his plea to go down the hill?
I found myself frustrated and tired. Failure does that to a person. But after a while I decided that I would still hold out hope. I choose to be a Mountain Mom because it combines two of my great loves – my children and the outdoors. It’s a lot of work sometimes. It’s thankless and tiring. Yet, I continue to choose it.
Life takes work. Having kids takes work. Staying inside takes work, so does being outdoors. My craving for fresh air and exhilarating mountain activity makes the sacrifice worth it…usually. Being outdoors improves my mood and makes me a better wife and mother. I believe my kids deserve to have me at my best, even if that means they have to endure some difficult outdoor activities to get there. The family culture Mountain Dad and I are trying to cultivate includes being outdoors. That is part of being in our family. I’m committed to keep trying because being a Mountain Mom brings me joy. And teaching my kids by example how to find joy in life is the best part of being a parent.