Words: Nicole De Leon
Full disclosure: I have been addicted to surfing, the ocean and travel for over twenty years, and diving into the more insular experience of pregnancy and new motherhood two years ago tossed my sense of identity in the air like confetti.
Even if surfing isn’t your sport or hobby of choice, I bet you adventurous mamas can relate to this sense of free falling felt in new motherhood.
In fact, I know you do. I have talked to mamas like you on the podcast that I created seven months ago, The Soul Mammas Podcast. The mamas I’ve talked to blow my mind with the adventures they are getting up to while still jumping full-throttle into motherhood; even if their adventures may be starting their own business, leaving something that isn’t serving them, or following their inner creativity. And whenever possible, they bring their wee ones along for the ride.
The women I’ve met on my show agree, like I can imagine you mamas do, that having little ones doesn’t mean we have to curtail our dreams. We understand that it is an imperfect and challenging road we are traveling to meet our best selves. I believe it is of the utmost importance to also tap into what makes mama “tick”.
I conceived of the idea of this podcast after I gave birth to my daughter and when my ocean/outdoor time was at an all-time low. I was idly waiting and yearning for a community of “adventurous moms” to form miraculously around me while I lay on my bed in my ill-fitting pj’s, with my baby at my breast. I was feeling anxious, exhausted and alone. Soon thereafter, a lightbulb went off and I realized nothing was going to happen unless I created that community myself.
Now I have to say, I didn’t just start this on a whim. I had to make some GIGANTIC life decisions before actually listening to my inner voice. I also acutely felt the urge to connect to like-minded mamas-mamas who could identify with the angst of watching all of the boys run by to go “adventuring” while we had to sit back and idly watch.
Through talking with other “soul mammas” I found that oftentimes we adventurous, independent, goal-oriented mamas, still limit ourselves with our own minds. Even if we tell our little ones to live out their GREATEST dreams or BIGGEST adventures, sometimes we forget ours.
Even through all the fear and self-doubt, I decided affirmatively that my baby was going to be a catalyst for me following the creative inklings I had had as a child, which I hadn’t listened to in years. I had wrongly convinced myself that such dreams weren’t available to me anymore as a mama, even though they were still burning deeply inside of me.
So, I started the podcast after endless hours of work trying to make it perfect behind the scenes, because I knew there were soulful mamas out there like you who were feeling disconnected.
After I launched the show I was able to share how I managed to return to surfing, which now involves hauling a million different baby accoutrements to the beach, breastfeeding under an umbrella, surfing for twenty minutes and eyeing the beach the entire time to make sure the baby wasn’t crying. Some days, early on, I felt so defeated and inept, I thought I should just throw in the towel.
Can you remember those early stages of motherhood, and trying to return to the things you used to love, while feeling weak, frustrated or defeated? Maybe you’re in that stage now? It gets better!
As the podcast progressed, I interviewed such amazing mamas, like you, who all shared a similar language & experience. They shared about how we independent women have a tough time adjusting to being reliant on our partners and having to constantly “ask” permission to do things we formerly would do freely, for example. Former professional surfer, and friend, Holly Beck shared about surfing in jean shorts for a ten-minute session, just to find a moment to herself between nursing her little girl, because she couldn’t stand to just sit on the beach and watch.
I have had entrepreneurial mamas on the show like Sara Mc Carty of Run Wild My Child and Justine Nobbe of Adventure Mamas Initiative who combined a need in their community with something they were good at and cared about and brought it to fruition. They also shared similar fears and worries when starting a new business with wee ones in tow, and investing time, money and love into it with no promise of its success.
We discussed “mom guilt” and how we are so hard on ourselves whether we are stay at home mamas or working mamas. I spoke to mamas who felt they had lost their hobbies completely and had to do a 180-degree shift in their lives to follow their dreams.
For instance, climber, paddler and outdoor enthusiast, Amanda Edmonds spoke about losing her sense of self/hobbies as a first-time mom and turning that around when she had her second child. Now she and her husband adventure with their kids almost every weekend and share a newfound sense of vigor towards the outdoors and climbing. I also spoke to professional Burton snowboarder Kimmy Fasani who reflected on how we mamas must learn how to ask for help in order to be happy, present and mindful mamas.
As of this writing, I have had 40 incredible mamas on the show, just like you, who have shared about feelings of fear and trepidation when trying to sustain their businesses, hobbies, sports, art, design, music, dance, volunteerism or other passions amidst all the daily “to-do’s” of motherhood.
One of the overarching themes that I want to share with you mamas today is this: Living a purpose-filled life is what you deserve and what your kids will emulate one day.
Being pinched off or stifled in any way is going to reflect back to our children. Even though life ebbs and flows and there are some days, months and years that challenge us to practice any self-care, whatever that may look like, there are days where we do.
It takes tapping into our inner fire, that creative flow, that alignment, and facing our biggest fears head-on to thrive as adventurous mamas.
Whether it means hiking 30 mins a day with our kids, climbing for an hour, or finding time to paddle out to our favorite line-up with the babies on the beach with daddy that sparks our fire, listen to what makes you feel truly alive. And follow that.
Now at 20 months old, my daughter sees mama put on her cold, wet wetsuit and paddle out into a line-up full of guys, and perhaps begins to imagine riding waves, literally or metaphorically, of her own one day.