Outside Magazine called her the “Mother on the Mountain”. Back in November 2013, I had the chance to interview The North Face athlete, Hilaree O’Neill, about the ongoing balancing act between her career as a ski mountaineer and as a mother of two young boys. What’s it like to climb Everest with two young kids back at home? How does she manage risk? What lessons has she learned over the years?
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.
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?
There are things I just couldn’t have anticipated in becoming a new parent, or that no one told me could have an impact on my ability to take my baby on little adventures outdoors (let alone clean my kitchen, cut my toenails or get work contracts done).