If there’s a three-word phrase I’ve heard as much as “Just you wait…” as a new parent it would be “Enjoy it because….”. Both phrases are meant to inspire me to appreciate what I have in the here and now. But, I have to say, they both make my skin crawl. As if parenting wasn’t challenging enough, people have to constantly remind me of how much harder it’s going to get. Or that there is something worth dreading on the journey ahead.
I just spent the week at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the annual gathering of adventurers, adrenaline junkies, mountain artists and authors up at The Banff Centre. Being a new parent, I entered this year’s festival with a very different outlook on what it means to lead an adventurous lifestyle. As I listened to people’s stories of epic climbs and expeditions, I was curious to know how these “real deal” adventurers felt about parenthood. Did they want to have children? Had they chosen not to? If they did have children, how were they be able to balance life as a mother or father with their adventurous pursuits?
How does a life of adventure without kids compare to a life of adventure with kids?
Here’s the scenario I left you with in Part 2 of this series: Back in August my husband went on his first big trip since we had our daughter – an ascent of Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Prior to leaving he told me, “This trip could very well be about more than just climbing Mt. Robson. I’ll see how I feel about being disconnected from my wee family up there.”
I left you wondering how things went, and asked: Would he be able to separate himself from his emotions during the climb? Decide it is just too much for him right now, and give up on climbing big peaks for awhile?
Once I was through the first week of bliss with my daughter, the realities of my new body sunk in. I had spent a number of days in bed recovering from the birth, and otherwise didn’t venture out of the house until about Day 6. On that day, I walked about a block before pain turned me back. Though I was able to walk farther and faster as each day passed, I was discouraged by my reflection in the mirror and my inability to really move. My daughter brought me so much joy, but I felt that my body had betrayed me. I longed to run, to feel my heart pumping, to feel sweat on my back, and my feet hitting the pavement. I longed to feel lightness again. Instead I felt heavy, swollen and slow.
My discouragement went on for the first month until, funny as it sounds, I remembered I had just had a baby.
My conversation with Chris went in a direction I could never have predicted. For weeks I’d been talking to outdoor adventurers of all kinds, none who had ever lost sight of the role that their outdoor passions play in their lives (or at least they hadn’t mentioned it). But though he had enjoyed outdoor activities since he was a kid and truly needed the outdoors to keep a clear mind, Chris went through a stage just prior to having kids when the rat race really took over and his commitment to the outdoors evaporated.
Erica Lineberry didn’t set out to climb 5.11s until the end of her pregnancy. But she surprised even herself when just a few days before giving birth to her son, Canaan, she climbed a clean 5.11, big belly and all.
Sometimes the right gear is all you need to make the most of your time outside with your family.
Well, here’s your chance to win some sweet prizes ($2500 worth!) – from a baby carrier cover to mittens, baby skates and gift cards! Ten bloggers have teamed up to bring you the #OutdoorFamilies giveaway on Instagram! To enter, simply share a picture of you and your family doing an outdoor activity on Instagram and use the hashtags #outdoorfamilies and #thankfulforfamilies. Be sure to check out the full contest rules at the bottom of this post.
Contest runs from November 19-26, 2013.
I have always been careful how I used the term “viral” when it comes to social media, but my colleagues and I were pleasantly surprised when one of our recent films, Eye of the Beholder, was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick, got 280,000 views (and counting), and was also picked up by Upworthy.com and the Huffington Post Canada. I was especially ecstatic because I had somehow managed to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with my work on the script for this amazingly rewarding collaborative project. I was also able to use my experience taking my daughter outdoors as inspiration for the film. You can watch it here on adventurousparents.com.