Motherhood +Nature + Mental Health

The outdoors has always been a huge part of my life and I knew I would share that love with my kids. Fast forward a few years and I realized how hard it would be to get out for a hike with two kids in tow. I quickly found out how hard motherhood would be and how much I would need to get outside for my mental health. But getting outside with my girls would not be easy.

I remember my first solo hike when my girls (L and A) were 2.5 years old and 9 months. I was so nervous to go on a hike by myself. It was wintertime and I had had knee surgery just 2 months earlier. I knew I had to go because I needed it for my mental health and I was letting my fear was hold me back from something I loved. I put my youngest in the Deuter Kid Carrier and had L walking. It started off good, even if we were moving at a snail’s pace (a.k.a. toddler pace). It took a dive when we stopped for a snack and I tried to get some pictures. I’m not sure if my oldest got tired, cold, or both but she wasn’t going to move an inch more. Problem was, I only had the one carrier. I tried everything I could think of to motivate L and it worked here and there, but if we were ever going to make it back to the car, I was going to have to carry her.

I’m sure I was a sight to see- good thing we didn’t pass by anyone. I used my hiking pole to help hold up her butt and tried to switch off arms when one got too tired. The dog was along and I needed to hold on to his leash too. We were moving even slower as I couldn’t see where I was stepping and all I could think about was falling and injuring my knee again. We made it out, but I definitely felt defeated. 

Maybe it was my stubbornness, but I knew I had to try again. Surely it would get better, right? The next hike we went with friends which motivated L to hike further. However, we got to the turn around point and again she refused to hike any further. Even worse she decided to throw a tantrum. I was so embarrassed as people hiked past us, but my mom friend was kind and tried to help where she could. I was still learning what to do when L had a meltdown and looking back, I definitely didn’t handle it well.

Fortunately, this time I remembered to pack along the soft carrier. Now, this thing does not compact at all so it took up all the space in the Deuter, leaving no room for all the essentials I should have had with me. But I got L on my front and with the help of my friend got A in the big carrier on my back. This worked much better than the first time, and although we still didn’t go as far as I would have liked, I felt like I had found a solution. I knew if we kept trying, L would be able to go a little further each time. Every hike still went the same though. We’d get to the exact middle of the trail and L would refuse to move (usually having a meltdown) and I’d have to go through this whole process of getting the soft carrier on with the Deuter which was no easy feat by myself.
That’s when I took to the internet to do a search- there must be something out there to solve my issues! And that’s when I stumbled upon Trail Magik Kid Carrier’s KickStarter. From the pictures and description, it seemed like this was just what I had been looking for! I was still a little hesitant, not having total confidence in the KickStarter process and unsure if I should spend that much. I was desperate for help though and when you think about it, the Deuter pack was $180 used and my soft carrier was $80 on sale so I went for it. 

I purchased my Trail Magik Kid Carrier. And then I had to wait. I was so eager for this product; the waiting was the hardest part! But it arrived and let me tell you- worth every penny! That first hike I took using the Trail Magik felt like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders. The carrier was lightweight and folded up small. It was so easy to pull out and quickly attach to my other pack. It took a little bit of figuring out how to adjust it and get L in, but now it is like riding a bike! My confidence has been boosted and even if there are still struggles to hiking with toddlers, I know there is one less thing I need to worry about.
Now my girls are 3.5 and nearly 2 years old. L is almost at the weight limit for any kind of carrier and A wants to do whatever her big sister does. For a couple of hikes now, I have left the Deuter home and just gone with my daypack and the Trail Magik. Eventually A gets tired and asks to be carried and I will quickly get the carrier out, attach it to my pack, and lift A in. It takes no more than a 3-minute pause and we are off hiking again. I am looking forward to the warmer weather, thinking of all the hikes I will be able to do this year. I even have my husband convinced that we can go on a 1- or 2-night backpacking trip with the girls! The main reason I have such confidence is because of the Trail Magik.
As corny as it sounds, the Trail Magik Kid Carrier truly did make the difference and I’m not sure where I would be without it. Would I have given up on hikes with my girls? Would I have given up on the idea of backpacking trips, thinking it would have to wait until they were older? I only know how grateful I am of the memories made on hikes with my girls and I am looking forward to all the memories to come. Don’t let those fears and worries hold you back, take baby steps.
Trust me, you won’t regret the memories you make along the way.
Author: Katy Botbyl at @katydid_adventures on Instagram

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