Everyone says life changes when you have kids – well at least those who have children say that. Those of us who don’t have kids can’t quite fathom how drastic those life changes are. We can’t get our heads around why new parents always look so tired and fraught. Can’t you just put the baby to bed earlier?
I don’t mean that facetiously, either. For new parents, life has changed forever. But for their childless friends, the only thing that has changed is the frequency they get to see their newly-kidded up mates.
My wife and I have been called upon to babysit a few times in recent months. A few hours with our friend’s tots has given me a far greater appreciation of what it takes to be a parent – and why our friends always look so tired (enough with the questions, already!), or complain that they can’t meet us for lunch because baby is sleeping and they don’t want to wake him – it’s just an option.
Being a parent is hard, no doubt about it. For a tramping couple who suddenly find themselves unable to head into the hills thanks to a newborn, parenthood can seem like an end to the freedom usually associated with the outdoors. I imagine it can feel like those spur of the moment trips that see you walking from a road end to a mountain hut for a quick overnighter have been banished to the long dark night that is parenthood.
But thanks to Jo Stilwell, author of our feature on getting outside with kids starting with the story ‘Tramping through the ages’, such parents will be able to see the light through the soiled diapers. Jo took her daughters tramping from a young age – even while they were breastfeeding. Not only is she living proof that it’s possible to continue with your exploration of the outdoors with kids in tow, no matter their age, but she shows parents grappling with exhaustion and the logistics of it all exactly how they too can get a well-deserved wilderness family break.
We’d love to hear from other parents on how they managed to continue to get out there once they had children – what tips and bits of advice can you offer?