Mom’s Hunt, Too Series:: Part 1

Brittany Young // May 2

My entire life I feel like I’ve had to prove myself as a female in the outdoor industry. I have heard the most ridiculous condescending comments which I’ll admit made me doubt myself at first. I didn’t have any girlfriends who enjoyed the same hobbies as me. Maybe I was different and being unique in high school makes anyone “weird.” I overheard another girl say one time, “She’s just doing that for attention.” I laughed to myself thinking about how much I hated attention and actually was embarrassed that my interests were so different than others my age during that time of my life. 

The opinions of other people bothered me less as my confidence and skills grew. As I got older, I didn’t share my experiences with others but continued going and learning every chance I had. I knew at an early age that I wanted to teach and inspire other women and that I just had to find “my people.” My young adult self felt ready to take on the world – well maybe not the world, but at least help change the narrative of females in the outdoors and then I learned that I would become a mom.

Read More: Breastfeeding on the Hunt, Say What?!

That’s fine, I thought. I can still enjoy my hobbies but little did I know that would be so much easier said than done. 

We made our social media announcement in full camo with duck decoys in a creek saying “Future Duck Hunter” coming soon. The nursery was prepared and no matter the gender, it would be hunting-themed. I later learned I was having a baby girl. I was already dreaming about raising an outdoorsy girl before she even arrived. Our gender reveal announcement said, “That’s okay Daddy, girls hunt and fish too.” (BTW: Amazon has some cute and cheap shirts, onesies, etc. for this!)

She entered the world and as I took on the responsibilities as a new wife and mother and thought my hunting and fishing days were over, I experienced lovely “Mom guilt” for the first time.

Becoming a new mom with a sprinkle of postpartum depression puts you in an interesting mind frame of not wanting to leave your child but then being sad for missing out on things you used to enjoy and then feeling guilty or selfish for being sad. It was an exhausting cycle. I gave away almost all of my camo, my pink fishing pole sat collecting dust, and eventually, I lost sight of who I was as a person. My identity was nurse, wife, and mom which are titles I am proud of but I needed to care for myself as well.  It took a lot of prayers, self-reflection, and support from my husband, but I finally got back out there

Fast forward seven years to now, we have two daughters. They will be three and seven this year. It’s challenging to juggle childcare, work schedules, family time, and our ever-growing list of outdoor hobbies. They go with us to do everything except hunt and eventually, they will go with us on hunts when they are ready, if they choose to. My husband and I both compromise with hunts. I’ve had to learn to hunt solo. I often hunt early mornings so that I can be back home shortly after they wake up. Occasionally, they will stay with family to allow my husband and me a chance to hunt together.  I don’t get to go as much as I’d like but it makes those hunts and harvests that much sweeter.

I’m living out my dreams of raising little outdoorsy girls. They are the happiest when they are outside just like their Mom and Dad. They love to shed hunt and both found their first shed recently. I surf-fished in Louisiana’s Starfish tournament while holding my sleepy toddler last summer — Talk about empowering!  My oldest won Biggest Fish in her age division at our Local Youth Rodeo and also won her lifetime fishing license. Watching her walk up there to accept her awards that day was priceless. I learned that enjoying my outdoor hobbies doesn’t make me selfish at all, but it also makes me a better mom. My next article in this series will go into detail on why I have this opinion. 

From time to time, I will still hear rude comments regarding me leaving my girls on occasion to pursue my hobbies and interestingly enough, no one has ever asked their daddy where his children are while he hunts. He has been complimented before on being a great daddy and husband for staying home with the girls on rare occasions for me to go and although he is a great husband and dad, it reminds me that we still have a long way to go in society when it comes to women. My passion is fueled more than ever to work alongside women to help change this narrative and it’s even more important to me now that I have two little girls to guide through this journey of life, specifically life in the outdoors.  

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About the Author

Brittany Young