Motherhood. The life event that comes with no instruction manual.
There is no one-size-fits-all all for motherhood. There isn't a book that will tell you exactly how life will play out after the arrival of your little one. And there sure is no manual that tells you how to raise your child.
When I was pregnant, I searched for a book that would tell me what to expect while I was delivering. I just wanted something real, something that would tell it like it is. I never found it. Maybe women are scared to write something like that, or maybe no one has because they do not want to scare you before the arrival of your bundle of joy.
This is certainly not a one-size-fits-all description of the struggles that come with being an outdoors mom. Each woman is gifted with being unique, and that means YOU can tailor how you go about hunting, fishing, trapping, exploring, and whatever you do in the great outdoors, to you and your little!
You have probably heard people say, “Your life will never be the same once you have a kid”. And they are right. It is not. It is better. You were gifted with a precious miracle. Every year roughly 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. Do not take your gift for granted. Do not think your life is over. For years, women have found a way to go about their lives (think of your grandmothers and great-grandmothers), just the same as you.
Get Outdoors with Your Babies
The best thing you can do as an outdoors mom is to expect it will never work out as you wanted. Going fishing? Expect that you will be out for five minutes, there may be screaming and you or your child will lose a fishing pole. Going hunting? Expect that you might sit for an hour. Going hiking? Bring snacks, lots, and lots of snacks.
Is it bad that it will not work out the way you expected? Not at all! It is working out the way it is supposed to! Of course, it is hard to wrap your mind around how it did not “work out like you planned” but it is also causing you to expand as a human as you teach new techniques and ways of doing things. If I have learned anything as a new mom, it is that you learn to compromise (i.e. fruit snacks before lunch). It makes me savor those moments with our little one even more: the wonder in his eyes, the small hugs from behind me in his pack carrier. After all, he is learning just like me!
Show Them Mom Can Hunt
Expect to battle your mind, your guilt, and your emotions. The mind is powerful and overcoming that guilt in motherhood does not only take time, it also takes support. It is hard when you know you are missing out on life events with your little one. It's extremely difficult when I try to leave and my son cries or reaches out for me. But you are showing your little one that mom can hunt, fish, trap, etc., that you are strong, a provider, and a teacher. It helps to have a good support system at home; a significant other that pushes you to keep doing what you love.
A friend that shows you you can do it. A family that allows for time away from your little one. In our situation, we do not have family that is close, so my husband and I take turns hunting or fishing when we do not take our little guy with us. We make sure we both have time to do the things we love doing. Although we do not get to do them as often as we once did together, it has made me more independent.
Do It Yourself
I was used to having someone do things for me. Drill ice holes, load my kayak, rachet, and strap things down for me, and tell me how and where to do things. It's not that I didn't do things for myself before, but definitely not at the level that I do them now. I have to since my husband is not always there. Motherhood not only came with extreme changes in how we go about doing things, but it also came with extreme changes in how I go about doing things. If that does not allow you to grow, I do not know what will.
In motherhood, it's important to find ways to go about doing what you did pre-baby outdoors and to discover it is not always as difficult as it seems. Reach out to other mothers who are out with their kids. They are the best source you could ever ask for. Do not be afraid to try things, expand your knowledge, and be independent!