I loved Tara's article "No Pink" about how her outdoor life changed after the birth of her daughter. The following section hit a cord with me. I need to write it down so I can recite it to people about to have a baby or those that tell me how much my life has changed post kiddos.
"Mirroring my former life is not a realistic expectation. Nor, quite frankly, is it something that’s even a priority anymore. It’s not about not being able to. I simply don’t want to. There are other things I’d rather do, most of which involve my daughter."
The author graciously responded to the questions about adventuring parents! Thank you so much Tara!
Name: Tara Dugan Kusumoto
Ages of children: 7 month old daughter
Current occupation: Freelance writer and marketing consultant
Outdoor endeavors: Hiking/walking, cross country skiing, downhill skiing,
spending time by water, either the ocean (when we're back east) or rivers
What do you remember about your childhood with respects to the outdoors?
Most of our outdoor time as kids was spent playing sports (tennis, soccer, softball/baseball) or just kicking around in the yard or neighborhood (riding bikes, playing catch, sledding, etc.) My best outdoor memories from growing up, though, would probably be from the summertime: going to the
beach every day, spending hours in the water, making "dribble castles" by the shore, and just running around in the sand. I'd be so exhausted by the end of the afternoon, caked in a layer of salt from swimming in the Long Island Sound, with patches of sand on my legs, and (remember, this was back in the 70s/80s before our awareness of sunscreen!) a rosy, sun-kissed face. I can still remember the sensation of crawling into my mom's hot, stuffy car, all gritty from the fun of the day!
What is your favorite way to enjoy nature with your children?
It's only been 7 months, but so far, so good! Since we live in the
mountains, my husband and I have been able to take our daughter cross
country skiing (pulling the "Chariot" behind us), sledding, and on plenty of
hikes. Once she's walking, I'm sure my husband (who teaches skiing for
people with disabilities at a local nonprofit) will get her stepping around
in some kiddo boots/skis, and soon enough she'll be hitting the trails.
Because of our flexible work schedules, we're also lucky enough to spend
several months on the East Coast (New England, New York and New Jersey) with
family. Our daughter spent hours outside with us, enjoying the New England
fall, strolling the coastal roads and watching daddy and grand pop fish.
What hopes do you have for your children related to the outdoors?
As I recently wrote in an article for Women's Adventure Magazine "I don't care whether
Maggie grows up wanting tele skis, a dirt bike or pink tutus. I just figure the best I can do is share with her what makes me smile and give her the chance to fall in love with the outdoors, too."
I think that my innate love of fresh air, sunshine and travel are bound to
get passed on to her. If we can expose her to plenty of activities and
adventures - everything from walking to skiing to multi-day river trips -
then she'll know that so many options are at her fingertips, and be able to
choose what makes her happy.
What is one indispensable item for enjoying nature with your kids?
As far as gear, I'd have to go with the Chariot for cross country skiing (it
also turns into a stroller/jog stroller and bike trailer.) Also, I love the
Baby Bjorn as a great way to give her the same view of the world as we have
standing up. Whether we're going on a walk or just poking around the
bookstore, she loves hanging with mommy in the carrier.
One piece of advice for parents related to getting their kiddos outside and
Often, we active mothers feel like jumping right back into our adventures
100% post-baby. Take it slow - both for your sake and your kiddos' sake. Be
it a new adventure or something you're just getting back into, give yourself
room to ease into the activity and learn/experiment with how to deal with
any new gear. We all know that the concept of "on time" is rare once you
have a baby, so take your time, be flexible and enjoy the entire process -
not just once you're at the trailhead and moving, but even as you're
bundling up to get out the door on a chilly winter day. If you're not in a
rush, you - and your baby - are going to have much more fun!