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Getting Out as a Single Adventure Mama

In 2017, I became a single parent. I can’t say it happened suddenly – I had felt like a single parent long before my husband left. Somehow, when I began divorce proceedings, the reality of my task sunk in: raising a child, single-handedly, while maintaining some semblance of sanity.

Needless to say, I grew a lot last year. I laughed; I cried, I met some really amazing people, and I read some really bad self-help books. I don’t have it all figured out (who does, really?), but I have come up with some tried-and-true tricks that help me get out and adventure more.   

1 – Find your people.

PC: @mountain_mama4

You can’t do this alone, no matter how strong, smart, and confident you are. Let’s be honest: you don’t really want to. When my life crumbled last year it was so hard to be vulnerable with people and explain my situation. But, because I made a concerted effort to do just that, all of these amazing people have come out of the woodwork to help me put my life back together. I have friends who are willing to babysit when I just need a break, hosting playdates complete with pet snakes and disco dance parties. I have friends who are willing to be a break by dragging me out to Tuesday night brewery trivia. And I have parent friends who are stoked to get out and explore at toddler pace with my local Hike it Baby branch.

2 – Prioritize adventure.

PC: @mountain_mama4

I never regret the decision to go for a run, take a hike, or otherwise adventure. Sure, I may have to re-wear clothes more often than other people, but hey, it’s good for the environment. When you’re a single mom, you don’t get to tap out and take a break. You need to count self-care as a critical component of your to-do list. For me, self-care means getting out and doing something active. So yes, sometimes my kid gets her afternoon nap in a jogging stroller. Yes, she also eats a picnic lunch in the hiking pack. But the kid is fed and happy. Furthermore, I’m teaching her that taking time to enjoy her life is a really important thing to do. By taking time for myself, I’m modeling the kind of balance that will be important for her to find when she has a family and career of her own (should she choose it).

3 – Be prepared. Always. For everything.

PC: @avrilcultural

My mom calls me a “bag lady” for good reason: I have my life pretty well organized into various types of bags. My frame pack carrier for hiking has diapers, snacks, and a hydration bladder packed. A tote bag holds everything I need for a spontaneous bike ride. The backseat of my car usually holds a change of clothes and some pretty filthy trail running shoes. For me, sometimes the sheer mental exercise of getting things prepped for adventure is enough to discourage me. If I can have all sorts of activities packed and ready to go, I can get out faster without having to slog through the preparations. The additional benefit here is that when one of my adventure buddies call with an invitation for some sort of family-friendly fun, the fact that I’m pre-packed means that I can get there in the normal person amount of time instead of being perpetually stuck in toddler time.

4 – Revel in the mundane.

PC: @avrilcultural

Sometimes I get to take week-long voyages through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, camping along the way. Sometimes I get to spend an afternoon in the cockpit of a kayak, exploring the depths of the Great Lakes. Most of the time, I’m walking my parents’ dog on the 10 acres of land I grew up on. The type of adventuring that I do these days is tempered by the responsibilities of full-time employment and financial obligations, but we still get out. Whether it’s building a hammock village in the trees or climbing at our local gym, I have an adventure buddy who’s not old enough to say “no” yet, so I’m going to milk it for all its worth.

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