Mountains, molehills, and parenting

Going for a walk on the shores of Lake Agnes

Going for a walk on the shores of Lake Agnes

Friday morning, I began my least favourite Friday tradition: trying to decide what to do on the weekend.  Or lately, with winter MIA, whether my plans need to be changed.  Those topics join a list of others that I’m finding challenging of late.  The challenge being that there is no cut and dried solution to any of them.  The name of the game seems to be patience, acceptance and change of perspective.  In any case, here’s the shortlist.

The weekend.  In my dream world, every hike would be a 25 min drive from my house, the weather would always be great, no one would ever be sick, errands wouldn’t have to run, and my toddler would be happily participate in activities or nap quietly in her carrier/Chariot.  Oh and all our gear would magically fit in the trunk.  Instead, deciding what to do on the weekend involves balancing what we have the time/energy to accomplish vs if the outing will be worth it based on driving times, weather, amount of packing, “fun” factor for each family member, etc.  This often means that as much as I want to do a certain hike/snowshoe/ski, plans frequently need to be changed.  I always have fun once we get going but the process of planning can be discouraging at times.

Finding friends.  I have amazing friends (both with kids and without), but life is busy, kids get sick, and not everyone (and their children) are in the same place at the same time with regards to outdoor abilities and interests.  In particular, I hadn’t realized how different each stage is, from babies to toddlers to preschoolers.  Finding partners involves not just finding another family who’s free and interested, but one who’s kids (if they have any) are in similar stages to ours.  With a baby, we were able to do longer hikes which were further away.  With a toddler, we need to plan activities with less sitting time in cars/backpacks/Chariots and more moving time (exploring, walking, crawling).

Work/life balance.  This one is a work in progress.  Some days I feel like I really nailed it, and others I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  I want to have down time, but I also I want to fit in me time, husband time and family time.  I want to eat home cooked meals but I also want time to play outside before dinner.  I want a clean house but I also want to go outside on weekends and squeeze in an adult workout.  I’ve discovered that it’s helped to schedule in a few things that are important and go with the flow for the rest.

Time to myself.  As much as I dislike giving up any of the time I have with my daughter, I know that it’s also important for me carve out time to exercise or see friends.  I didn’t anticipate the guilt I’d feel when choosing to spend time away from my daughter, even if it was a perfectly reasonably choice to make.

Everyone knows the saying … this too shall pass.  That sums up how I feel right now.  Overall I’m very happy with my family and my life and I think my husband and I do a darn good job of balancing everything.  I’m also so proud of all outings we’ve been able to get out on, in good times and more sleep-deprived times! That doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments where I get frustrated, or feel discouraged about how things turned out. I often wish there was an easy answer, but I haven’t found it yet! It does mean I need to remind myself more often to put things in perspective; what feels like a mountain today, will probably look more like molehill when I’m further down the road :)

I don’t tend to write much about the things I find difficult as I don’t like to dwell on them.  It seems much more personal to share your struggles than your highlights!  That being said, I think there is value in acknowledging them.  If you feel the same way, you’ll like these posts:

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  1. Great post, Sarah. I think you nailed it in your introduction – that one of the biggest challenges is that there is no clear solution! We can either let this frustrate us to no end or just roll with it. I often joke that we never retrace our steps as parents and that’s what makes it so crazy. We seem to never have the opportunity to apply lessons learned because THINGS KEEP CHANGING. What a lesson in surrender and living in the present!

    • Thanks Meghan! I agree, that it’s so important to learn to roll with things. I have to laugh because it seems no sooner do I think I have things figured out, they change!

  2. So many things to juggle – I know! I’ve started scheduling workouts for myself but I’m still struggling to both get outside with the kids and cook good meals during the week – if we go outside, then it’s usually leftovers for dinner…Also, my kids haven’t been very motivated to get out with hardly any snow this winter and finding things that they think are fun is sometimes a challenge. I too find that it really helps to hang out with people whose kids are of similar age, since everything is so much more fun for the kids then. Great post – it’s always interesting to read about other people’s challenges:o)

    • It has been challenging to find things to do outside with the lack of snow. Seems like both winter and summer activities are simultaneously out of season! Thanks for reading :)

  3. karenung77

     /  February 26, 2015

    This piece totally resonates with me! I love getting out, but choosing where to go, within a reasonable radius is always a challenge. My kids do NOT like being in the car for long and I love going to new places. Sigh. At least we get to travel further in the summer when hubby has 2 months off. On the friends part, we live kind of close to each other, so I hope to meet you soon!!!

    • Thanks Karen! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles with some of these things. Car rides are indeed such a challenge. I also love new places and long road trips so I’ll be studying the latest series on your blog for tips ;) I hope to meet you soon too, maybe on a spring or summer hike! I’ve gotten good at finding fun ones that are close to town.


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