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jaylaka


May 1, 2003, 10:55 PM
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climbing moms
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i'm a single mom of a 4 year old son. i first climbed two years ago, but it's so hard to find the time (let alone the energy) to climb. but now my son's finally at an age where he can climb with me.

so far i've just taken him indoors. he loves it, but it can be a slow and tedious process sometimes. i plan to take him outside this summer, but devil's lake isn't always child-friendly. (uh, and he's athletic but accident prone.) :D

so my questions are for the moms on here.

when do you find time to climb? (and how do you avoid that mommy guilt that i'm so prone to?) how do you incorporate your children into your climbing?

most of my climber friends are childless. and the ones that do have kids have a partner to help with childcare. i love, love, love, being cole's mom but i also love climbing (and running for that matter). but damn, it's hard to do it all! :D

any input would be appreciated!

jen


katydid


May 2, 2003, 3:57 AM
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I'm not a mom, but my climbing partner has an eight-year-old son who sometimes comes with us when we go climbing. We climb our asses off (okay, my partner climbs his ass off -- I'm not that good yet :roll:) when the kid's not around, and go to the places with hard routes and nasty approaches then. When we climb with Logan, we try to go to places with easy-ish approaches and routes and places where he can wander around safely if he wants to adventure when he's not climbing (he's old enough that he's good about staying nearby). A lot of times, Ben will lead a route, Logan will TR it from the other side of the rope, and then I'll clean it.

Some things I've learned from climbing with Ben and Logan (and climbinganne and her 2 kids):

Try to find partners who like kids. Ask your current partners if they'd mind you bringing your guy along. You might be surprised how amenable they are to the idea. So many climbers wish they'd started sooner that the opportunity to encourage a little one is an opportunity a lot of people are excited to take. Just remember that you're going to have to modify the hell out of your day to make it enjoyable for him.

Places with a lot of boulders seem to work out well, since boulders are less daunting than 60 feet of rock when you're so little. Bringing a crash pad also gives him a good place to sit and hang out when he's tired of playing. Let him climb if he wants, but be prepared for him not to want to -- bring coloring books or something so he has other stuff to do. And bring a lot of snacks.

Be prepared not to get many routes in/to leave after a couple-three hours. Be prepared to climb stuff below your grade or set up some TRs on easy stuff (going in a group works really well for this scenario, so people can take turns belaying the kids). If you're climbing with someone who can belay two seconds on an easy trad route, climb with your kiddo -- it's a great security thing, and you're right there to bail them out if they're having trouble with the route.

If your son's accident prone, you might want to consider bringing along a long sling and anchoring him to a tree or something in an area where he can't get in trouble and he's near y'all. He won't like it, but it will bring you peace of mind, since you can't keep an eye on him while you're belaying (which is another reason to try to climb in groups -- there's always someone there to give attention to the kid).

Here is a thread from the Beginners forum from another parent with a four-year-old who wants to take him to the crag. Hopefully you find some good information there, as well.

Good luck!

k.


jaylaka


May 2, 2003, 4:13 PM
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hi katy,

i think it's awesome that you're so accomodating/understanding with your friend's son. the majority of my climbing friends are also very close personal friends, and they're very much the same way. (but i'm still not sure about some others, and i'm paranoid that i'm inconveniencing or annoying them in some way when i bring my son around.)

but you had some very sound suggestions. i've thought of the tether (which makes sense safety-wise) and i'm trying not to equate that to the leashes on kids that i saw at disneyland. :roll:

any other moms (or not! :D) on here that have insight into balancing the mother/climber thing?

(for instance, this sunday i'm climbing with friends and my son's being cared for by relatives. i know i need the break (to climb and relax) and i know he's in good hands, but shit, i feel like a bad mom for leaving him on the weekends to pursue my own interests. argh.) :?

jen


rockpixie


May 4, 2003, 9:11 PM
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I have 3 kids and I have taken them with me several times, however, it is very difficult (probably because they are so young) My 5 year old climbs OK but gets nervous easily, My 3 year old ROCKS! and my 1 yr old was just a hassel to bring, so after taking them all summer last year and not getting to climb myself I think that this year we will be taking them a lot less. Fortunatly I am married and we climb together so I have help. All I can recommend is to get someone to help when you go (a little sister,brother, maybe a neice or nephew) the tether is a good idea (even at disneyland), because take it from someone who knows, NOTHING is more frightening than losing a child in a crowded place. Maybe if you tether him bring some crayons and coloring books or a gameboy. Good luck, what ever you decide. :)


orangesand


May 7, 2003, 3:08 PM
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I am a single mom with 2 little girls. One is 6 and the other is 4. I know the feeling of not wanting to be away from them on the weekend when you've been at work all week. But I also understand the need to take care of yourself. I have taken my girls with me to climb and they dig it! I let them be done when they want to and encourage them greatly when they are moving well. I also look for climbs that have open areas that my kids can play and stay close. Having the two has been helpful to me because they have someone to entertain them.
I wish you good luck! I think this will be a balance that you will have to deal with until he is old enough to take care of himself. I have also tried to find climbing partners that are married and have children. It is a lot harder to get out, but it takes some of the pressure off me.
I figure that if it was a big deal for them, they would say something.
Hopefully this helps :?:


porkerdorker


May 9, 2003, 4:28 PM
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I can relate to all of the single mothers out there who love to climb. i have a 4 yr old daughter. it's hard enough being a mom, let alone trying to find time for yourself. I don't have a whole lot of suggestions, all i can tell you is what i do. i take my daughter bouldering a lot. she loves it because she can climb just like everyone else. definetly i have to go with a group of friends, otherwise i never get to climb. my friends and i pick the easily accessable areas when Aidan is with us, because we all know how kids under the age of 6 or so LOVE to walk by themselves (at least that's how it is with my child):):( one thing i've found that helps is bring a couple of "baby-sized" water bottles, so the kids feel like they have their OWN climbing stuff but also (if possible) bring some "play" water too, kids love playing in the mud and dirt. I also bring TONS of snacks. Little shovels, etc for castle building--whatever to help keep them occupied. i am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who helps me out with her. he bought her baby climbing shoes and a chalk bag--she feels like a BIG KID now and handles climbing a lot better. good luck mamas and keep climbing with the little ones-maybe one day we'll be able to retire on our kids' climbing winnings!!!!!


rockzen


May 9, 2003, 7:31 PM
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Re feeling guilty about leaving to go climbing: 1 word... balance!

This might not strike a nice chord with mom's, but one day our kids will be grown up doing their own things. Cherish the time you spend with them now, but don't forget to take care of yourself... and if that means you need some 'me' time, you shouldn't feel guilty about it. Don't forget to sharpen the saw... :)

Good luck!
RockZen


tjanke


May 10, 2003, 12:44 AM
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In reply to:
i feel like a bad mom for leaving him on the weekends to pursue my own interests.

Hi, Jen,

I'm not a mom - I'm a dad. :D And you're not a bad mom at all. You *have* to take some time for yourself, recharge your batteries, reclaim a bit of your identity as an individual, as someone other than "Mom". If you don't, you aren't doing your son any favors.

The trick, of course, is balance - too much/not enough time for yourself. As long as it isn't *every* weekend... It's a fine line, but as parents, we all walk it. Don't be too hard on yourself.


jaylaka


May 10, 2003, 4:24 AM
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so i made it out to the lake for the first time this year. :D i had a phenomenal time, despite any cool weather or wind, just being with some of my best friends. (so yeah, that did help me feel less guilty about leaving my son for the day).

within the next couple of weeks, i plan to take cole out there too. if i have a lot of friends to help watch him while others are climbing or belaying, i don't think it will be a problem. as long as he can make the hike up the CCC trail, we'll be all good. (but i am remembering the experience of carrying a heavy pack and a 40 pound child on a mile long portage in the boundary waters, so i'm hoping i won't have to carry him plus my pack up the trail.) :shock:

thanks for all the kind words,

jen


gblauer
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May 11, 2003, 8:21 PM
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I am a single mother of 3 kids (ages 16, 14 and 12). I travel out of town for business Monday-Thursday every week. I also climb. I am fortuante that my kids are at an age that they can either join me climbing, or stay home. It is all about balance, finding the special time to enjoy with your children (individually) and making time for yourself. My 12 year old loves to climb, so it is rare that I am ever climbing without him. My other two enjoy indoor climbing, but don't really have the time (social life of a teenager is daunting) to do a lot of outdoor climbing. I typically limit myself to one day a weekend for outdoor climbing, and more intense, evening sessions indoors (I try and get those in when I am on the road). I also trying to plan one weekend away per month to climb somewhere other than where I usually climb. I tell the kids well in advance so that they can plan to attend or not. Again, my kids are older which makes things much easier. I can tell you this, however, I started my kids skiing with me (sort of, they actually went into ski school) when they were 3 years old. They didn't have a choice, it was what they had to do. They are all avid skiers now. Good luck trying to find the magic formula between being a good mom, providing for your kids and find time for you. If you find it, bottle it and give it away...your karma will be rewarded in spades!


dar-la-la
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May 12, 2003, 10:01 AM
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I am a mother of a 2 year old. And it is hard to find time, but my husband is really great and watches him while we are out with friends. We take turns going on climbing trips with other people. I went away for the first time on an over night climbing trip and felt a little guilty, but I had a great time. I guess right now I have to take that opportunity when it comes along. We take the little guy with us everywhere we go and he's wonderful. But it is hard to get a fulls day of climbing in when you have a little one running around. Right now we in order to get a fulls day in, We climb with friends. Good Luck and hang in there. I hear it only gets better as they get older. I hope! :lol:


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