A Different Kind of Adventure

Jacodien Vreugdenhil

“You are so brave and courageous! You are a supermom!”

The compliments were thrown at me, as I told my friends how I traveled on my own with my three kids from Texas to Canada.

We flew from Austin to New York, switching planes in Atlanta. For financial reasons, I chose to drive the last part of the trip into Canada. It was the end of a long, harsh winter and it had been years since I had driven in snow. I had no idea what to expect. We weren’t sure where we would stay in Canada. Maybe we would stay with extended family we barely knew. Maybe we would book a hotel. I had no definite plans.

Now that the trip was over, my MOPS group stared at me in amazement as if I was a superhero as I told them about the trip. Their compliments didn’t sink deep. Don’t get me wrong. I love compliments. I could live off them. But not these compliments, I didn’t feel like a brave, courageous supermom.

Because I knew I wasn’t.

Going on a trip with three preschoolers isn’t being brave. At least not for me. This is what fuels my heart. To be on the move, to seek adventure. It is life-giving. During that trip, as I gazed at the incredible, beautiful half-frozen Niagara falls with my kids – shivering beside me – I felt like myself again.

Instead of this weary, tired mom. The butt-wiper. The woman who somehow ended up with three kids who need everything – all the time.

Adventure. Going out. That is what life is all about for me. Bravery? Not so much.

I wish I was brave.
Brave enough to tell my husband that today I thought about leaving the house. Leaving him with the kids because things seemed too overwhelming.

I wish I had courage.
Courage like my friend, who revealed to me things aren’t as nice as she led us to believe. She was facing postpartum depression, three months after her precious daughter was born.

I wish I was a supermom.
Supermom, dragging myself away from my computer to help my kids build a robot for hours! Being patient when they empty a whole bottle of glue on the just finished project, loving and encouraging them, not screaming and yelling at them.

I want to be brave and vulnerable.
I want to be courageous and honest.
I want to be a supermom – a loving one.

I know I am best at those things while traveling. I need to own my brave and realize my brave journey is just as valid as another, more dramatic, story. I am brave. I am courageous. I am a loving supermom.

Today I start traveling. I am going on a trip away from my computer – away from my pity-party. Away from my fears and from my have-it-all-together-mom image.
I am going on a journey towards being vulnerable, honest and loving.
Oh, how I love new adventures! Will you join me on my journey?

Jacodien Vreugdenhil is a Dutch-girl who learned to embrace being an American mom to her three kids (4, 3 and 1) while trying to stay grounded. She is most in her element encouraging people. When she’s not doing that, she grabs a bag of food, gets everyone in the car as fast as possible, races to nearest creek and lets her kids throw rocks in the water while sitting next to her awesome husband.

Where do you need to own your brave?