Motherly Hiking Advice
There are many differences between hiking with kids and hiking with friends... the pace, the amount of breaks, the trail choice (sometimes), the weight you carry (although I suppose it depends on your friends and how they pack). Kids are a great addition to your hike. Sometimes I hike more mindfully when I am with my kids. I stop and show them things on the trail, we scan for the trail markers, or they point out all of the cool things they notice around them. Then again, I sometimes am way (WAY) less mindful as I spend a majority of the hike soothing them, nursing them, or negotiating with them. I love seeing the forest through their eyes and being part of their wild experience, regardless if it leans more toward the second description above.
The Internet is full of tips and tricks for hiking with kids (search Pinterest if you need some ideas or examples). I have a few of my own... Good gear is great (carrier, warm and dry clothing, decent footwear, etc); Exciting snacks and something to drink helps (for both the adults and the littles); Be mindful of the trail choices so no one gets dicouraged. Basically simple planning skills will take you where you need to go.
Full disclosure.... I forget snacks, dress inappropriately for the weather, and have chosen trails that are way too long or hard. Surprisingly, it tends to work out just fine. My kid can hike it, he can wait for the snack (or we spend the hike planning where we will go to get a snack which is a great motivator to get moving), I share my gear with him, or we end up carrying him longer than planned. Therefore, my advise is simple...JUST GET TO THE TRAILHEAD. Don't stress if you forget your snacks or you are not sure about the hike. You can always turn around at any point on the trail and you can always have a treat later. The more you do it the easier it gets and the better gear you are likely to have accumulated. My other piece of advice is to hike without kids too. Get your friends together and head out into the woods adult-only style. Appreciate the different experience, enjoy the different conversation, take your kids out on the next adventure, and repeat.