Outdoors with Kids.

We started our kids out on skis when they were 18 months old and the youngest just now turned 5. I have so many pictures of the great moments with smiling faces and blue skies. For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the meltdown beneath chair 3 though…I remember this day it took about an hour and half of prep to get on the hill with lunch, gear- etc. Once on the hill, we had a couple issues with bindings and snow piling up on my daughters boots. She took one run and she was like a rag doll- my friend had to basically hold her the entire way down the run. So maybe an hour of preparation for 10 minutes of skiing. HA! Then we went back to the lodge for snacks and to regroup.

I figured the day was a wash but tried to keep a decent attitude about it (sometimes this is the hardest part for me as a mom, still working on the maturity thing) and we decided she would practice shuffling/skiing on the bottom of the hill. After a few minutes of that she really wanted to do the lift again. I tried to talk her out of it but she was determined and she had SUCH a good attitude about it, she ended up getting 3 more runs in.

Side note- I’m a snowboarder and she begged me to take her on the lift for those 3 runs. I was kind of hyperventilating on the way up…but I “mommed” it…I overcame – we got off the lift just fine and had so much fun together.

I’m not the most patient person, and I really tried to make it a good experience for her. I think if I had shown my frustration I would have ignited a fight and the day would have been a wash. She had permission to struggle, and she chose to move forward because it was safe and I was content to be inside and eat snacks.

So a few principles I was reminded of on the slopes:
Teach them young to carry their own gear: I try to teach my kids that it takes hard work to have fun. I love having fun, but we bust our tail to make it happen and I want my kids to know that.

Lower your expectations, each time we try these new things, we’re stretching ourselves and our kids. If the day doesn’t turn out the way you’d like it, understand that you are building something with each experience that will pay off in the long run.

Have grace for yourself and others. I think we need permission to have meltdowns and then the safety to recover from them. Grown ups and kids alike. It would be great if we didn’t lose it, but sometimes we do and turning ourselves around is such an important piece. So…ask for forgiveness if you blow it and be forgiving when someone else blows it.

Pictures and social media are such a small portion of the truth. We catch glimpses of “awesome” but anything that we do requires a lot of grueling work in between the glorious, pretty, and filtered lives that we see around us. Being awesome is like .03% of what people see and the rest lies below the surface. Don’t get distracted by looking at what other people have…in other words- keep your eyes on your own “paper”: ie. family, marriage, kids, etc. It’ll save you time and much angst.

One of my life philosophies is “I’d rather look silly while trying something new than look very well put together and be bored”. Honestly, the ski hill; and a lot of adventuring with kids (and parenting in general) is so humbling and tough and beautiful all at the same time. Being a recovering perfectionist, it has taken me a lot of years to choose to focus on the benefit of making mistakes and trying to learn from them rather than being bent out of shape because I made a mistake.