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Kelly Hammerstone

Finding Balance While Raising Active Kids

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As many of you know, raising kids is NO easy feat, especially when they get older and become involved in sports!  James and I have 2 boys, Jacob (17) and Ryan(13).  Life was pretty easy when they were younger!  Then they got older and started forming their own separate lives, and taking away from ours!!

James and I have been married for 22 years now.  We had been married for 5 years before starting a family.  We met on the college ski team and have always been active.  Skiing, camping, backpacking, mountain biking, bike camping trips, winter camping, etc.  We always thought it would be easy to incorporate kids into our active lifestyle.  Maybe we were naive in thinking this?  We wanted to share our passions with them and help them foster a love of the outdoors and environment. 

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Introducing kids to the outdoor lifestyle requires a lot of patience and a different mentality.  Both boys were on our backs in the infant carrier as soon as they could hold their heads up.  We’d go snowshoeing, hiking, you name it.  Ryan was 6 weeks old when we took him on his first camping trip.  Both were on skis at 2 years of age.  You learn to go with the flow and make it enjoyable, even if it means more hot chocolate breaks than you want while out skiing, climbing boulders and every tree, or snack breaks on hikes.  Ryan was 8 when he did his first 14er!   My boys are both August birthdays and when they were younger, they always wanted to be outside for their special day.  We aren’t big into parties, but we let them pick what they wanted to do.  It almost always involved the outdoors.  Even as they got older and started getting into sports, we were still able to get out and camp, hike, bike etc. 

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We never thought we would be the parents whose life revolves around sports for their kids, but we watched ourselves become those parents.  Jacob started football as a freshman in High School.  We slowly watched our free time become next to nothing, especially when he relied on us for transportation.  There was no such thing as days off or “optional.”  Your “optional” training days and such really weren’t.  We watched our weekends dwindle as the 5x a week became 6 to even 7x a week.  While we became super frustrated, it was also a different chapter in our lives.  Ryan, our youngest, is super into hockey.  He’s going on his third year of travel.  Again, weekends are gone.

Parenting is all about sacrifices.  When you see the desire in your child to do better and want to be a part of a team, it makes giving up those weekends easier.  When they don’t want to miss a practice or they want to stay longer to better themselves, that’s all I can ask for.  You see the joy in their eyes and watch them with their friends out on the field or ice.  They are figuring out who they are and also learning respect, responsibility, and learning how to deal with conflict and adversity on their own. 

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I have always been active, and used to do endurance sports.  I have always enjoyed running and have found so much joy in trail running in recent years.  I am fortunate to be able to leave my house and be on dirt in less than half a mile.  I take my dogs, we head for the hills, and we run.  I find joy, peace, and solitude.  I love watching my dogs run freely, and I love being “lost” back there. I lose sense of time and I feel so removed from all the chaos in my life.  I don’t run with music.  It’s therapeutic and I can at least be outside in nature. Whether it's a short 3 mile run or we are into the double digits, that is my time to find balance and reset. 

I do miss a lot of our hobbies, but this is a different chapter in our life.  We still get out, just not like we used to.  Jacob will be in college next fall, and Ryan a freshman in High School.  Time is flying by way too fast.  I am not ready for it!   I am cherishing every second of my chaotic life even though it’s not all outdoors like I imagined it would be. When your kids find their true passions, it makes putting mine aside much easier to bear.   My boys have been exposed to a lot and I know they still love the outdoors and will always have that to fall back on.  Right now, it’s their time to shine in what brings them joy.

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