I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom but that usually means hiking by myself with my two wild adventurers (3 & almost 2 year old). I have traveled up to 3 hours and hiked for 3 hours alone with my two kiddos. We have been to 18 State Parks in one year.
I’ve had many people say to me “Why do you go so many places, isn’t it a lot with two kids?” My response always comes quick and easy, “It’s the only way me and my kids stay sane” They give me a confused look which usually ends up with me explaining… When inside four walls my kids go crazy, bouncing off the walls, fighting and wanting my constant attention.
As soon as we pack up and head outdoors they instantly start exploring, getting along and they don’t need my undivided attention every second of every hour. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s magic, the magic of the great outdoors.
Sounds all peaches and cream doesn’t it?! Well not quite. We run into the occasional falls and meltdowns. For instance, my most recent hike:
It was 34 degrees out, cloudy and both kids had a cold but I had been slacking on getting outdoors so I was determined to complete this hike. I drove an hour and met my friend at one of our favorite spots here in Wisconsin, Lions Den Gorge. Ten minutes in and 3 out of the 4 kids were crying, wanting up, then wanting down, wanting gloves on, then taking them off, then complaining that they were cold.
It was one of those hikes that I just couldn’t win. My friend and I just laughed the entire time. It was so nice to get together and finally get out on a hike that we refused to let it ruin our time. We headed back after a short time, put the kids in the warm car and just sat outside talking.
There’s nothing like the friends you can hike with, especially in those miserable situations that still put a smile on your face and don’t judge you… Find one of those if you don’t have one because they are really the best.
Here are my 5 must haves when hiking alone with two kids:
Some meltdowns can be solved with a few items and that’s why I always bring a backpack along with all the “goodies”
• Two carriers – because sometimes they both get tired at the same time. (Go figure)
• Food, Food, Food. – Seriously as much as you can bring.
• A change of clothes – If there is a puddle, my kids will find it.
• A first aid kit – Falls are bound to happen and it’s good to be prepared especially when you go on those long adventures a few hours from home.
• Water – because even though they aren’t thirsty at home when you ask for the 100th time, the second you are in the middle of nowhere they are dying of dehydration.
Last but not least… Go with the flow!!
Don’t have any expectations. If they want to stop at every tree and give it a hug, well just go with it. They want to take another snack break, go with it. Someone pooped… change that diaper right there on the dried up dead leaves and… go with it.
Just know, you are 100% a superhero!! Carrying two kids weighing in at a total of 55 pounds (more or less) and a backpack with all the “goodies” which probably weighs another 5-10 pounds is not easy. Then add heat and a hill and you my friend have just reached supermom status.
We have many days when I feel like I just won the lottery and both kids are nothing but happy the whole way, walking on their own without complaining once. I know it sounds like a dream but it happens.
As long as you have those 5 must haves and just go with the flow, nothing can ruin your hike. Well I shouldn’t say NOTHING but you know what I mean. 🙂