I had a baby in June. While I was pregnant, the baby and I went deer hunting, ice fishing and turkey hunting and my biggest concern was making sure I had appropriate hunting clothes that fit.
As deer season approaches, I am facing a whole new set of challenges. This past week, I was asked to go duck hunting for the first time with some friends in October. I eagerly said “yes!” and then started thinking about all of the details that I needed to get in order before I could actually go. With the early morning start, do I spend the night away from the baby or leave extra early? I need to make sure that the diaper bag is packed and that I have pumped enough milk for him while I am gone and that I can pump while I am away from him. Do I have hubby drop him off at the babysitters or bring him 2 hours north with me and have family watch him while I am out?
The more I think about the challenges that I will have to now face, with a baby and wanting to continue to hunt, the more I realize how hard it is to be an outdoors mom. As I write this, I have to wonder, could I bring my pump out into the Sky Condo or use a handheld pump and as much as I want snow during hunting season, if i have to pump, I don't want snow! In thinking of the outdoors dads that I know, they do not have to go through that same mental check list, when it comes to their kids. They don’t need to worry about breast feeding/pumping (and all that goes with it), packing the diaper bag with extra clothes, diapers, and books or figuring out who is watching the baby and when.
I am sure there will be a reduction of hours spent deer hunting this year with Dad and I know that my family is excited to see the baby and include him into the hunting traditions of our family. It will be hard for me to be away from him, (going back to work will help) but I have the wonder how many outdoors men have that seemingly built-in parents guilt that I am sure will creep into my mind as I sit in my treestand? Maybe we will be lucky and get a deer on opening day, which will take off some of the pressure both when it comes to the baby and putting meat in the freezer.
I am determined to continue to be outdoorsy and an avid hunter. I will just need to adapt my previous routine and add the baby into it. It may be a struggle and come with some ups and downs, but I am determined to make it happen. I am hoping that it will get a little easier when he gets older than the four and a half months that he will be when the season starts. I have a great baby carrier that I need to really start implementing and then, he can come with me to at least check on the cameras!