August 8, 2021

What Mothering Taught Me About Adventure


Adventure—the word may just be my favorite in the entire English language.

When I hear it, my whole body lights up with excitement. My mind is flooded with the most wonderful images- road trips, beautiful vistas, unknown bends in the trail, delicious food, and the sense that everything around me is new and pulsating with life. I am going somewhere- I don’t know where I might end up, and what the journey will look like, but I am going.

That sense of newness is what draws me to adventure, over and over again. It is what I crave. The experience of taking something in for the very first time, knowing that this isn’t the place you inhabit day in and day out- that you are simply passing through, a wanderer who is there to take in the beauty and wisdom that this new place has to offer you.

This love for adventure and new experiences may have been part of the reason I waited ten years into my marriage to have children. To be honest, the thought of being “stuck” terrified me. I knew that traveling with kids was much more difficult, and many people told me that I might as well pack up my dream of an adventurous lifestyle once I became a mother.

Despite the dire warnings I received, becoming a mother has done two things that I didn’t quite expect; it has redefined my understanding of the word adventure, and it has forged me into a more adventurous person than I ever was before.

In those early days of motherhood when it was all I could do to grab a shower or a quick nap, I knew that instead of railing against my new reality, I needed to embrace the motherhood journey as the ultimate adventure in itself. If it was newness I sought, I surely gained that in the constantly changing features of my growing baby. If it was novelty, it was in the fleeting phases of development that seemed to arrive in constant waves, with me simply trying to keep up. My adventure had become quite small and even mundane in its activities, yes, but at the same time it seemed that the whole universe had become wrapped up in my daughter’s tiny body. She was my adventure.

Now that I have two beautiful little girls and they have quite outgrown their baby clothes, I find myself wanting to show them the world, and even moreso wanting to see the world through their eyes. Children operate in wonder- their eyes haven’t yet been dulled by the hardships of life, and that is a precious gift. Experiencing the world with them is like experiencing it completely anew.

So now, I take them outside as often as I can- down the street to the park to search for fairies, outside in the yard to check out the new spider web, or to the mountains to hike new paths and sit in awe beside thunderous waterfalls. They have made my life more rich and beautiful by being in it, and even the smallest outings can create the most beautiful memories.

For a time, certainly, I lost that sense of what I thought adventure was- and I mourned that loss. But now, I realize that there was so much more waiting on the other side, and I can’t wait to see the whole world with my girls. I have so much to show them, and I know they have so much to teach me.

Originally published at Adventure Mamas

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About The Author

Hilary Barnett

Hilary Barnett is the founder of The New Mystique where she believes every mother is extraordinary, and typically writes the words that she most needs to hear.

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