Getting an infant into the outdoors is hard. There are quite a few Instagram accounts, Facebook posts, and outdoor-oriented blogs that would make you think otherwise. I mean, to be fair, this blog is particularly dedicated to getting kids out into nature so it may seem like I’m sabotaging my own mission statement but what can I say? I write about the reality of my parenting life, not just the Pinterest-worthy intentions.
My kiddo is a little over two months old and he’s unable to lift his head without neck support. This rather limits my options as far as throwing the kid in a pack and getting outside. This, coupled with the fact that I had a November baby and there’s literally a foot of snow (to be fair, that’s incredibly rare where we live) outside my house right now and you see the issue. I don’t care how good your gear is, when you’re a new mom the very act of leaving the house, regardless of adverse weather conditions, seems impossible.
A girlfriend calls and asks if you want to go for a short hike and you think… dear god yes. I would absolutely love that. There is nothing I want more. I’ve been cooped up in this house forever. I spend most of my time convincing other people that getting into nature should be an absolute priority, particularly if they have children. I’m no hypocrite! Thank god you called. But what I say is: “eh, let me get back to you.” Why? Because immediately I start compiling in my head all the things I need for said short hike:
• Front pack to put little bear in.
• Layers of clothing for little bear so he doesn’t get too cold but also doesn’t get too hot.
• Burp Cloth
• Some sort of cover for breastfeeding in the wilderness. How ridiculous does that sound, by the way? On second thought, I may just free boob it in the bushes.
• Water bottle
• Appropriate attire for myself which also includes layers but not too many layers so little bear’s face isn’t smooshed against a scratchy jacket or zipper which means I might be incredibly cold but totally worth it for my baby’s comfort.
• My camera, because dammit if I’m not going to get some great pictures of my kid and my dog for this blog, my own enjoyment, and their respective Instagram accounts (I have a problem, I know this…)
• An actual pack to put all this stuff in which I then immediately ask my friend to wear since I can’t handle a front pack and a backpack and actually walk successfully.
• Some sort of rain-repellent cover for little bear just in case the weather turns, which, in January, is pretty much a given.
So, you see the problem. When I brainstormed this blog, I thought about it in terms of having a toddler. A tiny kid who could interact with nature without needing neck support. But, being an outdoorsy mom, I will quite literally go insane if I wait until my kid can walk to get into the wilderness. So guess what? I’m going to call my girl back and I’m going to say absolutely. I’m going to say, I hope you’re ready to sling a heavier pack on your back and I hope you’re cool with me free boobing it in the bushes. I’m going to make this work. I have gone on small outings around the neighborhood which seemed impossible at the time but clearly were not. I’m going to do this. I guarantee it’s going to be clunky and probably a total hassle and I may cry half way through but I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to take pictures of it, because that’s what moms do. We decide what is best for our babies and what is best for our mental health and we ‘mom up’ and get after it.
Wish me luck, and if you can recall the first time you took your babe into the woods, let me know what the outcome was because I have a feeling there will be a future blog post entitled: “That Time I Thought I Could Do A Little Hike And Ended Up Sopping Wet With A Poison-Oak-Covered-Baby.”