Being a Boating Mother

A mother talks of her experience raising her son on the water

Marlo, Jay and their baby boy Wes. Photo: Marlo Wright

By Marlo Wright

The main thing that has changed is the risk/reward factor. It’s no longer about me getting injured or, worse, something going wrong. My son needs a momma, and I want to be around to watch him grow up. It has made me more thoughtful when considering what to boat and whom I boat with.

Becoming a parent has also changed the spontaneity of our river trips. I never took for granted any of my time on the river before having our son, but now the trips have to be planned in advance. Sitters have to be lined up, or my husband and I take turns boating so that our son Wes is taken care of.

Thankfully, we have a great support system here. We are blessed to be surrounded by family members that are happy to keep Wes when we go to the river, but it is also a delicate balance. I treasure my time with Wes, especially since I work full time. Because of that I am selective about how much time I choose to spend on the river rather than with him. They grow and change daily, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

I am looking forward to putting him in a boat. Jay and I both look forward to spending time with him on some of the easier rivers in a couple years. We want him to become pretty comfortable with the water first, and we hope it will come naturally. We have friends that had the chance to grow up on the river, and we hope to give our son the same opportunity. I love the idea of being a slalom mom spending weekends traveling to different rivers as Wes learns the fundamentals of this sport. I also look forward to the days when we can share the river experience with him. I really hope we are successful in passing along our love for the river to him.

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