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lhwang


Jan 31, 2009, 8:41 AM
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Climbing and being a mom
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There's an article in Climbing this month called "8 confessions of a climbing mom", the conclusions of which state:

"1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty much incompatible, and 2) if your life's goal, now and later, is to climb as much as possible, you probably shouldn't become a mom-odds are high you'll be miserable, and so will your children."

Ouch. Harsh.

Now, I'm not a mom so I will readily admit that I don't know what it's like to try to balance climbing and motherhood. I'm really hopeful though that my husband and I will be like Don and Phyl Munday, who had a kid and still managed to do tons of first ascents in B.C., and that other people won't judge me saying that I'm making my kids miserable.

It pisses me off that you would never see an article like this written by a man. "8 confessions of a climbing dad", or "Climbing and fatherhood are incompatible". Why do women allow themselves to get sucked into this stupid guilt game, and go around pointing the "You're a bad mom" finger?

Anyway, any thoughts? Especially from climbing dads and climbing moms...

(and yes I remember a similar discussion about breastfeeding at the crag a long time ago... thought I would start a new thread though related to the article).


jezzzica


Jan 31, 2009, 10:20 AM
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This conclusion is pretty appalling. Basically I agree with everything that you said.

Even if you had to climb less for a few years at some age they do get old enough to go climbing/hiking/be outside also.

I would hope that it is not suggesting that mommies should only be mommies as opposed to some how finding the time to also have jobs or keep themselves healthy, etc.

I also do not have kids. If some reason I ever did though, I expect there to be a Dad who would share in childhood tasks.


clausti


Jan 31, 2009, 1:41 PM
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who wrote the article?


Partner happiegrrrl


Jan 31, 2009, 4:28 PM
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A woman who is a mother, who I have met(although only at a slideshow she was presenting). The article also features a woman I know, who is alos a mother, and whom I see out climbing with her daughter on occasion.


clausti


Jan 31, 2009, 4:31 PM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
A woman who is a mother, who I have met(although only at a slideshow she was presenting). The article also features a woman I know, who is alos a mother, and whom I see out climbing with her daughter on occasion.

i meant, like, names.


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Jan 31, 2009, 5:36 PM
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Their names are in the article, Clausti.....

Susan E.B. Schwartz is a freelance writer, also the author of Hans Kraus' biography.


clausti


Jan 31, 2009, 5:51 PM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
Their names are in the article, Clausti.....

Susan E.B. Schwartz is a freelance writer, also the author of Hans Kraus' biography.

oh, silly me, I'll just go read my imaginary copy, then.

go ahead, try and find the name on Climbing Magazine's "Current Issue" page. cover photo by andrew burr, though.


(This post was edited by clausti on Jan 31, 2009, 5:59 PM)


Partner happiegrrrl


Jan 31, 2009, 6:00 PM
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http://www.climbing.com/...eatures/climbingmom/

sorry - I hadn't realized the online article wasn't linked by the OP.


clausti


Jan 31, 2009, 6:57 PM
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- what the fuck is with her calling Modern Times 5.10. pretty damn sure the book gives that 5.8

- articles like that make me never want to reproduce, just so i never risk joining the patronizing, saccrine progeny-worshipers.

- "1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty incompatible." not climbing and parenthood, just climbing and motherhood. dads can die and it's ok.

from that article she seems like the kind of woman who goes around trumpeting how she's found her whole life's purpose in being a mother, and god forbid the sperm donor take some responsibility for anything- he might fuck it up. and then acts like a martyr when she has two plates of responsibility because she won't share.


her "epic" on the "5.10" modern times. right. (and yes, i have climbed it. certainly wasn't 5.10 compared to the other gunks 5.10s i climbed.)

and no, i don't have any kids.


(This post was edited by clausti on Jan 31, 2009, 6:59 PM)


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Jan 31, 2009, 7:25 PM
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clausti wrote:
- what the fuck is with her calling Modern Times 5.10. pretty damn sure the book gives that 5.8

Why not ask her, or the editor of the piece? I surely can't answer that question. Both Dick and Swain give it 5.8+.


In reply to:
- "1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty incompatible." not climbing and parenthood, just climbing and motherhood. dads can die and it's ok.

from that article she seems like the kind of woman who goes around trumpeting how she's found her whole life's purpose in being a mother, and god forbid the sperm donor take some responsibility for anything- he might fuck it up. and then acts like a martyr when she has two plates of responsibility because she won't share.

I dunno... Of all the women I have climbed with:
- one had a grown step-daughter
- one climbed until she got pregnant. At 45, she stopped climbing immediately because she wouldn't take the risk of losing the baby. She's climbed a few times since baby was born, but finds it really tough to coordinate child care, make time for herself, get partners and all that. The issue of having lost her climbing head is up there too, in making it tough to get out.
- The featured mom, Jannette, is the 3rd mom climber I know. She's currently not happy because that job that made it all possible, which she talked about in the article, has unexpectedly ended. She's pretty freaked out about that.

Every single other woman I have ever climbed with has never had kids, and I have climbed with a lot of women.


Susan is not the type as you have painted(life's purpose as a mother/martyr). But I know, when one hasn't met a person in reality it can be easy to ascribe traits to them which may not be accurate. Happens all the time.

About the fathers - Well...the story is about mothers and climbing. But a Dad climber article would be a good one! I like reading Todd's stuff over at Supertopo. In just about every post he says "I'm toast" with regards to climbing. But he's still out there at least once a week putting up new routes! He'd be a great follow up dad climber for someone to write an article an.

And - never having had children, I obviously can't speak from experience. But from the moms I do know(climber or not) it is pretty much the usual thing that, when they have a child or children, those kids just DO come first. And it isn't about martyring themselves. It's more about unconditional love.

True, too - I have known a lot of dads(climbers and not) who love their kids just as unconditionally, but.....they do tend to keep their hobbies up, even if at a different level.

Maybe some of the fathers on rc.com, and those who are married to women who also climb(or did climb) have some input.


clausti


Jan 31, 2009, 7:41 PM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
clausti wrote:
- what the fuck is with her calling Modern Times 5.10. pretty damn sure the book gives that 5.8

Why not ask her, or the editor of the piece? I surely can't answer that question. Both Dick and Swain give it 5.8+.
well i wasn't directing that at you. just a general exclamation of what the fuck.


In reply to:
clausti wrote:
- "1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty incompatible." not climbing and parenthood, just climbing and motherhood. dads can die and it's ok.

from that article she seems like the kind of woman who goes around trumpeting how she's found her whole life's purpose in being a mother, and god forbid the sperm donor take some responsibility for anything- he might fuck it up. and then acts like a martyr when she has two plates of responsibility because she won't share.

I dunno... Of all the women I have climbed with:
- one had a grown step-daughter
- one climbed until she got pregnant. At 45, she stopped climbing immediately because she wouldn't take the risk of losing the baby. She's climbed a few times since baby was born, but finds it really tough to coordinate child care, make time for herself, get partners and all that. The issue of having lost her climbing head is up there too, in making it tough to get out.
- The featured mom, Jannette, is the 3rd mom climber I know. She's currently not happy because that job that made it all possible, which she talked about in the article, has unexpectedly ended. She's pretty freaked out about that.

Every single other woman I have ever climbed with has never had kids, and I have climbed with a lot of women.


Susan is not the type as you have painted(life's purpose as a mother/martyr). But I know, when one hasn't met a person in reality it can be easy to ascribe traits to them which may not be accurate. Happens all the time.

could that be why i didn't say "well i guess she is the kind of woman that... " but rather said "from the article, she *seems*..." i'm thinking maybe it could be.

In reply to:
...

And - never having had children, I obviously can't speak from experience. But from the moms I do know(climber or not) it is pretty much the usual thing that, when they have a child or children, those kids just DO come first.

i know a few women who climb and have kids, specifically one of my favorite partners, lena_chita, has two. i imagine she'll see this and have her own opinion to add, one way or another.

In reply to:
And it isn't about martyring themselves. It's more about unconditional love. True, too - I have known a lot of dads(climbers and not) who love their kids just as unconditionally, but.....they do tend to keep their hobbies up, even if at a different level.

yeah, funny how that works. it just pisses me off how in our society, women are supposed to drop everything when they have kids, but dads are expected to just keep doing their thing.

In reply to:
Maybe some of the fathers on rc.com, and those who are married to women who also climb(or did climb) have some input.

hopefully.


rockie


Jan 31, 2009, 11:57 PM
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lhwang wrote:
There's an article in Climbing this month called "8 confessions of a climbing mom", the conclusions of which state:

"1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty much incompatible, and 2) if your life's goal, now and later, is to climb as much as possible, you probably shouldn't become a mom-odds are high you'll be miserable, and so will your children."

Ouch. Harsh.

Now, I'm not a mom so I will readily admit that I don't know what it's like to try to balance climbing and motherhood. I'm really hopeful though that my husband and I will be like Don and Phyl Munday, who had a kid and still managed to do tons of first ascents in B.C., and that other people won't judge me saying that I'm making my kids miserable.

It pisses me off that you would never see an article like this written by a man. "8 confessions of a climbing dad", or "Climbing and fatherhood are incompatible". Why do women allow themselves to get sucked into this stupid guilt game, and go around pointing the "You're a bad mom" finger?

Anyway, any thoughts? Especially from climbing dads and climbing moms...

(and yes I remember a similar discussion about breastfeeding at the crag a long time ago... thought I would start a new thread though related to the article).

Yes I've one, I say that is bullsh*t. Can always get a baby sitter right? and what is wrong with daycare?

I also saw and was invited to climb with a couple who were climbing 5.12's and their 3 yr old daughter sweet as she was, was well behaved and standing by them while they climbed. Personally I think that a bit risky, 3 yr old could start to wander off, and belayer has to focus on climber type of scenario.. Unimpressed


rockie


Jan 31, 2009, 11:58 PM
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Oh and I turned down the offer, simply as I can't even climb 5.12 yet.


rockie


Jan 31, 2009, 11:59 PM
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jezzzica wrote:
This conclusion is pretty appalling. Basically I agree with everything that you said.

Even if you had to climb less for a few years at some age they do get old enough to go climbing/hiking/be outside also.

I would hope that it is not suggesting that mommies should only be mommies as opposed to some how finding the time to also have jobs or keep themselves healthy, etc.

I also do not have kids. If some reason I ever did though, I expect there to be a Dad who would share in childhood tasks.

Sometimes not always the case though, esp if Daddy does not care or want a part of it. I would still see how they can go climbing though, as I said already, baby sitter, daycare.. even a friend who has a child same age approx?


rockie


Feb 1, 2009, 12:01 AM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
A woman who is a mother, who I have met(although only at a slideshow she was presenting). The article also features a woman I know, who is alos a mother, and whom I see out climbing with her daughter on occasion.

That's what I am all for, like to see and read about.


carabiner96


Feb 1, 2009, 5:26 AM
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Lynn Hill is a mom, as is that Jacinda lady (mother of 3?) and they're both doing pretty well for themselves.


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Feb 1, 2009, 6:37 AM
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One thing that just occurred to me is that at least Jannette(featured in the article) climbs trad, for the most part. I'm pretty sure Susan does too, as her Kraus biography has reference points with her climbing at the Gunks.

Perhaps the point of view is unintentionally skewed more toward the multipitch/gear climber? I am not trying to sport bash(I have enjoyed it the few times I've done it.). The fact does remain that sport and gear are two different animals. I don't really read/hear too much about sport climbers considering the reaper as being that third that's always in the party. Much more so for people who climb trad.


clausti


Feb 1, 2009, 7:50 AM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
One thing that just occurred to me is that at least Jannette(featured in the article) climbs trad, for the most part. I'm pretty sure Susan does too, as her Kraus biography has reference points with her climbing at the Gunks.

Perhaps the point of view is unintentionally skewed more toward the multipitch/gear climber? I am not trying to sport bash(I have enjoyed it the few times I've done it.). The fact does remain that sport and gear are two different animals. I don't really read/hear too much about sport climbers considering the reaper as being that third that's always in the party. Much more so for people who climb trad.

yeah, but she's not climbing in the freaking alaskan backcountry- she's climbing at the gunks. which has a ton of route that are at the grades she'd be climbing if she falls on Modern Times that have really bomber gear. and it's probably the one trad area in the country where you are likely to get the best and fastest rescue if something were to happen. the whole specter of death thing running through the article was another point i found pretty ridiculous.

But here is the email I sent to the editor:

"my wrote:
In addition to all the subjectively ridiculous internalized sexism that article is frosted with (Moms shouldn't climb, but hey Dads are fine! Because only Moms do the important stuff for kids!), you let her get away with calling Modern Times 5.10. Hey editor, the route is extremely well known, and it's 5.8. Sorry that she had to bump up the grade so that she could call top-roping a 2 pitch route "epic," but you should have caught that.

-christina austin


lena_chita
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Feb 1, 2009, 8:08 AM
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lhwang wrote:
There's an article in Climbing this month called "8 confessions of a climbing mom", the conclusions of which state:

"1) Climbing and motherhood are pretty much incompatible, and 2) if your life's goal, now and later, is to climb as much as possible, you probably shouldn't become a mom-odds are high you'll be miserable, and so will your children."

Ouch. Harsh.

Now, I'm not a mom so I will readily admit that I don't know what it's like to try to balance climbing and motherhood. I'm really hopeful though that my husband and I will be like Don and Phyl Munday, who had a kid and still managed to do tons of first ascents in B.C., and that other people won't judge me saying that I'm making my kids miserable.

It pisses me off that you would never see an article like this written by a man. "8 confessions of a climbing dad", or "Climbing and fatherhood are incompatible". Why do women allow themselves to get sucked into this stupid guilt game, and go around pointing the "You're a bad mom" finger?

Anyway, any thoughts? Especially from climbing dads and climbing moms...

(and yes I remember a similar discussion about breastfeeding at the crag a long time ago... thought I would start a new thread though related to the article).

You know, I actually wanted to post right after I read the article. It made me cry-- both the truths and the un-truths in it.

My "take-home" from reading it is that

A) I climb a lot more, and a lot harder, than a lot of climbing moms out there. (Substantiated by real-life comparisons as well as the stats in the article).

B) I am judged by many people because of it.
--I have been told that I shouldn't be climbing, b/c 'what if something happens to you, what will your kids do then"?
--I have been told, many times, that I am irresponsible to "leave my children" twoce a month to go on a weekend climbing trip. I "leave" them with my husband, their FATHER, for God's sake! How many times a guy is told that he is irresponsible to "leave the kids" if he goes off fishing for the weekend?

C) when the author talks about how every time you think you have it all figured out, the schedule, the balance, etc. it all changes and topples, and you have to figure it all out all over again-and repeat ad nauseaum -- she is spot on.

D) gender inequality IS a major issue still, in everyday life, not just in climbing, and I don't know when and how it would end. You can be just as smart and educated as your partner, you could do the exact same job as he does, but when it comes to kids, the woman is still the one who carries the burden.
Oh, don't take me wrong, the husands these days do a lot more to "help out". And if it is just you and your partner, it is easy to think that you are "equal partners". You both pitch in with housework, you both do stuff, female might even be the one bringing home more money.
Yeah, great, but when the kids enter the piture, the woman is still the one who juggles and manages it all. It is so easy to "help out" with dishes and occasional vacuuming and shower-scrubbing, take the kids to the library or playground occasionally, and not worry about much of anything else. But who is the person keeping in mind the schedules? Who makes arrangements for all those early-dismissal school days? Who is organizing play-dates, birthdays and sleepovers, making kids write the thank-you cards and valentines for the entire freaking classroom, going to parent-teacher conferences, keeping track of dates when the school projects are due (and helping with the projects), geting the teacher gifts, and helping out with the stupid homeroom parties, and volunteering in the lunch lines, etc. etc.etc.-- while doing more than half of the regular housework?

A case in point: I just got a note from school-- another round of "sign up to come in and read a story to your childrens' classroom, help out with lunch or recess, or volunteer at the next field trip, etc." There are names on that list aplenty. Is a SINGLE ONE of them male? Nope! Do you think these are all stay-at-home moms, who have tons of time on their hands, and thus can do all these school activities? Wrong. The district where we live is composed mainly of dual-income professional families. The mothers in my daughter's classroom are nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc.. The husbands come from the same stock, but who is taking time off to come and read a story to a bunch of kindergarteners and help out with the field trip? Not the people with the Y chromosome!


clausti


Feb 1, 2009, 8:44 AM
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Matt Samet wrote:
Hi Christina,

We were well aware of the old grade of 5.8. A new book pegged it at 5.10, so we went with that after some discussion.

Matt

clausti wrote:
Hey Matt,

What book?

Matt Samet wrote:
I had the old Mc Carthy ones at the office, as did Susan at home — Modern Times there is 5.8, you’re right; Susan referenced the new Extreme Angles one: http://extremeangles.com/gunks.htm

We’re a very small editorial staff, but I do my best to fact-check things like that.

Matt

This is the new book.



Shocked


camhead


Feb 1, 2009, 8:49 AM
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This is an interesting topic; I agree that there are definitely the cultural assumptions that Lena mentioned about.

To add another climbing example, does anyone remember the respective deaths of Alex Lowe and Alison Hargreaves? Both died in the Himalaya in the mid-late 1990s, both had young children. However, there was a pretty harsh backlash against Hargreaves after her death for "leaving" a child without a mother, much more than any criticism of Lowe for doing leaving his kids fatherless.

I would expect that this double standard would be even more pronounced if, say, a female with a 10-year old started free soloing like Michael Reardon did. I guarantee that such a hypothetical mother would be completely shunned by the entire community, she would not get the sponsorships that Reardon did, and if she was to meet Reardon's end, her ENTIRE legacy would be negative.


(This post was edited by camhead on Feb 1, 2009, 8:52 AM)


htotsu


Feb 1, 2009, 9:17 AM
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lena_chita wrote:

You know, I actually wanted to post right after I read the article. It made me cry-- both the truths and the un-truths in it.

My "take-home" from reading it is that

A) I climb a lot more, and a lot harder, than a lot of climbing moms out there. (Substantiated by real-life comparisons as well as the stats in the article).

B) I am judged by many people because of it.
--I have been told that I shouldn't be climbing, b/c 'what if something happens to you, what will your kids do then"?
--I have been told, many times, that I am irresponsible to "leave my children" twoce a month to go on a weekend climbing trip. I "leave" them with my husband, their FATHER, for God's sake! How many times a guy is told that he is irresponsible to "leave the kids" if he goes off fishing for the weekend?

Lena, I think you should take some of this and compose your own letter to the editor, or even a free-standing article/rebuttal so that people aren't left with just that one image of the intersection between climbing and motherhood.


lena_chita
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Feb 1, 2009, 9:21 AM
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camhead wrote:
To add another climbing example, does anyone remember the respective deaths of Alex Lowe and Alison Hargreaves? Both died in the Himalaya in the mid-late 1990s, both had young children. However, there was a pretty harsh backlash against Hargreaves after her death for "leaving" a child without a mother, much more than any criticism of Lowe for doing leaving his kids fatherless..

I think this was mentioned briefly in the Climbing article.

camhead wrote:
I would expect that this double standard would be even more pronounced if, say, a female with a 10-year old started free soloing like Michael Reardon did. I guarantee that such a hypothetical mother would be completely shunned by the entire community, she would not get the sponsorships that Reardon did, and if she was to meet Reardon's end, her ENTIRE legacy would be negative.

Agreed. Interestingly, there aren't any high-profile female free-soloists.
Nature vs. nurture again?

Are women inherently less likely to take these sorts of risks, even if the kids are not in the picture?

Are they less likely to do it b/c they feel more attached to their children and more "responsible" for them than the fathers do?

Are the less likely to do so b/c they have been raised that way? Or b/c females in general are more atuned (and more dependent) on the opinions of the people around them, and tend to look for 'approval' and 'validation'?


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Feb 1, 2009, 9:29 AM
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Re: [clausti] Climbing and being a mom [In reply to]
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clausti


Feb 1, 2009, 9:42 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Climbing and being a mom [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
Are women inherently less likely to take these sorts of risks, even if the kids are not in the picture?

Are they less likely to do it b/c they feel more attached to their children and more "responsible" for them than the fathers do?

Are the less likely to do so b/c they have been raised that way? Or b/c females in general are more atuned (and more dependent) on the opinions of the people around them, and tend to look for 'approval' and 'validation'?

And if females are, in fact (which i would say yes) more attuned to and dependent upon social approval and disapproval, is THAT innate, or learned?

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