When I decided to become a mother I also decided I wasn’t going to lose myself to motherhood. This was really important because I was planning on being a stay-at-home-mom, so I made a vow: keep active, find like-minded moms (I had just moved to where I didn’t know anybody so this was a huge priority,) and approach life with loving kindness.
Loving kindness was the hardest and easiest part in the first 6 months. My son was little and sweet and smelled SO GOOD. He was also colicky- straight up couldn’t put him down colicky. I thought, “Between the post-partum hormones, my needy baby and sleep deprivation, HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!” One hour at a time. That became my mantra, one hour at a time. If I could make it to night time (Dax has always been a great night time sleeper) then I would be fine. My husband was a huge help, taking him as soon as he got home from work. Family bath time in the living room helped so much. My son, much like myself, is a water baby and bath time was a sure way to keep him calm. I looked forward to those 30 minutes where we would bathe him and get him dressed for bed, all together as a family, chatting with each other and cooing our little one. Once I got the okay from my OB’s to start being active (I had to have a C-Section) things got a bit easier because that meant I could put my baby in the baby carrier, whistle for my dog and go for hikes. Being in the woods made everyone calmer and we could all breathe easier. I began to think, “I really can do this.”
There is hardly a day that goes by where the 3 of us aren’t outside walking at some point, whether it’s an actual hike or to walk our dog at the local “dog park.” We’ve been to a national park, we’ve been swimming in lakes and pools, dipped our toes in the ocean, flown twice, taken a road trip, visited multiple museums, snowshoed, hiked mountains. We’ve hiked through smiles, tears and laughter. We’ve hiked through his meltdowns, other childrens’ meltdowns and my meltdowns. He used to scream and cry during car rides and I’d cry along with him. I’ve learned the ways to extract a belly laugh out of him and make him laugh so hard he snorts. We’ve developed a language together. I’ve even learned the art of taking a decent photo with a wiggly, giggling baby on my back.
One of my favorite parts about motherhood is that it is just as much of an adventure as being outdoors is! There are times when I have found myself in as much awe and reverence at something my little boy did as I am at the top of a mountain.
(To the left is Dax at Sand Beach at Acadia National Park and to the right is Sprocket at the top of the land bridge to get to Bar Island in Acadia National Park.)
I love that motherhood makes me think outside the box and forces me to problem solve in unique ways, to be a quick thinker, to always have arms open and at the ready, to be patient. Still working on that last one! The truth is, I will always take the good with the bad because adventuring with kids is an unbelievable experience. They offer up such a great perspective and help you to slow down and really experience what’s going on in that moment. The only other time I’ve ever walked that slow was when I was pregnant! (It was a really bad pregnancy filled with unending nausea and more sickness than I want to remember!)
And when adventuring with a baby seems a bit more work than I’d like, I think about the way he burrows his face into my back, the way we completely relax, the silence we find ourselves walking in, the way he never complains when I take photo after photo in spot after spot. I’ve found a hiking group and ganged up with Adventure Mamas Initiative (www.theadventuremamas.com) to bring together a crew of lovely and bad ass mamas over here in the north-east with whom I know will always cheer myself and my son on and be there when we need them. Motherhood is helped along by supportive friends and family as well as by our own inner strength. It is helped by our children who give us endless love and amazing memories.
I haven’t lost myself. I’m still here and more amazing than ever. I even found more of myself through motherhood, that’s the coolest part. By committing to a great motherhood and to being a great mother to my son, I have managed to put together a life for us that is enriching, entertaining and at times, exhausting. I trust in my intuition, in my husband, in myself and in my son.
xo, Ev. (More commentary and photos below.)
Sprocket and Dax.
Nature is not my husband’s thing. I try to tell him it’s not very athletic the way I stop and take 100’s of photos but to him, that’s besides the point. That’s okay. He’s a great husband and a wonderful father and he lets me put Monkey on him when he’s driving. I’ll forgive him for thinking a great walk is playing 18 holes. He’s not totally wrong.