Today, I did something out of the norm. I made the 30-minute drive downtown, to park in metered spots along a busy road, risking car naps between my toddler and a crying 8-month-old, to go to a place I’ve never been before. That’s right…I left my mom radius.
DEFINING THE MOM RADIUS
I have a life I like to refer to as my mom radius. Everywhere I go with my kids on a daily basis are places that are familiar, comfortable, and about 5-15 minutes from home. I know what to expect and can escape if things aren’t going according to plan. It’s easy.
As a stay at home mom of two kids, I very rarely leave this radius. Maybe to some of you, that’s sad, but I’ve created a great life from this stretch of 7 miles. My kids and I go to parks, playgrounds, coffee shops, restaurants, splash pads, pools, gyms, libraries, and play dates. We ride bikes, kick soccer balls, go on morning jogs, jump on trampolines, walk the dog, or just sit out front and wait for trash trucks.
I didn’t use to be this simple. Before kids, I was a lot more adventurous than this!
I backpacked Europe, spent a month in Australia with people I never met before, took day trips across the border to Mexico, and stayed out as long as I felt like it. Now, if I’m out past 9 I feel like such a rebel and if anything “unpredictable” or out of the norm happens, my husband and I revel in its glory for far too long.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I LEFT MY MOM RADIUS
Although I’m happy, I’ve had this itch for some adventure again. But, what is “adventure” with two kids on a weekday? To a mom like me, it means a seriously planned out activity, but these activities are– you guessed it– OUTSIDE OF THE RADIUS!
Yes, I’m finally feeling comfortable enough with my boys to go on some *minor* expeditions. I want to explore new places to eat than the 5 we always go to because we know our boys will be drowned out by chatter. I want to discover new and interesting activities for our family to enjoy. I want to plan future mini road trips to new towns I’ve never been to before.
So, I’ve started to test myself this past week, did some exploring, and guess what, I didn’t spontaneously combust! In fact, we’ve been having a blast.
We drove out of our way to a crazy donut shop, went to a lavender farm, tried a new café, went to a movie past our toddler’s bedtime, and, as I explained earlier, made the trek to downtown to visit a children’ discovery museum.
Yes, there have been some tears in the car ride from a restless baby, some stress about making nap times or debating if cookies for dinner was acceptable for 2-year-old. But, I’m pretty proud of myself.
What’s even better, seeing how happy my toddler looked at each of these new places made everything worth it. I could tell these experiences were eye-opening. In fact, he even said “This place is awesome!” at an Air and Space Museum. Although he has fun at our nearby park, he has never come close to saying this phrase about a place within our radius and that goes a long way with me.
CONTINUING TO PUSH MY MOM RADIUS
So, what exactly happened when I left my mom radius? Nothing. Nothing except new experiences, unexpected laughs, boosts of confidence, and great memories.
To some, this whole admission from a mom who doesn’t seem to have a life may be laughable. That’s okay. I love my life. I wouldn’t change the un-adventures I don’t have for anything in the world, but there is something refreshing about the unknown.
Obviously, it’s not as exhilarating as traveling to exotic locals or taking a spontaneous trip to the lake for a few days, but it’s a step in the right direction.
As my boys get older and I become less threatened by a not-so-planned schedule of events, I know the person I once was will slowly begin to show herself again.
No, I won’t be beer bonging in Jamaica or bungee jumping in Cairns, but I’ll have the experiences of raising two littles and living to tell the tale. My husband and I will plan chapter after chapter in our story as parents who saw the world once more.
Until that day comes, I’ll be inching and pushing that radius just a little bit further to keep life “awesome” for both my boys and me.