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clee03m


Mar 11, 2011, 9:50 AM
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realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber
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I had a simple plan. Now that I had my career set, I was going to have a baby. I would climb all the way through pregnancy, alternate taking my baby climbing and leaving him at home with his father. Sure, I can see needing to cut back a bit, but hopefully not much.

My son is a year old now, and the reality looks nothing like what I had envisioned. I work over 65 hours a week, and when I have free time, I just want to spend it with my son. I still don't feel comfortable with the idea of taking him along because I am more than paranoid about safety (gear fall, rock fall, ledge fall, etc). I want to make my time with him to really count because I feel like we barely have enough, and I don't think climbing is how I would achieve that. I have a really hard time just going to the gym. I find myself looking at the clock wishing I was home with my baby.

But the crazy thing is that I feel so happy when I am with my son, I don't feel deprived. But I can't help feeling a bit like my life isn't very balanced. Should I just enjoy my son for now and don't think too much, or will not having balance lead to an eventual blow up in my face or make me unhappy? Thoughts? Advise?


boadman


Mar 11, 2011, 12:01 PM
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clee03m wrote:
I had a simple plan. Now that I had my career set, I was going to have a baby. I would climb all the way through pregnancy, alternate taking my baby climbing and leaving him at home with his father. Sure, I can see needing to cut back a bit, but hopefully not much.

My son is a year old now, and the reality looks nothing like what I had envisioned. I work over 65 hours a week, and when I have free time, I just want to spend it with my son. I still don't feel comfortable with the idea of taking him along because I am more than paranoid about safety (gear fall, rock fall, ledge fall, etc). I want to make my time with him to really count because I feel like we barely have enough, and I don't think climbing is how I would achieve that. I have a really hard time just going to the gym. I find myself looking at the clock wishing I was home with my baby.

But the crazy thing is that I feel so happy when I am with my son, I don't feel deprived. But I can't help feeling a bit like my life isn't very balanced. Should I just enjoy my son for now and don't think too much, or will not having balance lead to an eventual blow up in my face or make me unhappy? Thoughts? Advise?

I had a similar experience, except not nearly as extreme, I still have a pretty strong desire to get out climbing, but if I don't spend enough time with the kids I definitely start to miss them. My solution was to take a much more relaxed job for slightly less pay where I only work 90%, and the hours are flexible. I probably only work about 55% of the hours you work, which gives me a lot more time to hang out with the family and also climb.

Priorities definitely change after kids though, unless you have coal for a heart. :-)

Just wait till you have two and you're actually busy.


lena_chita
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Mar 11, 2011, 1:08 PM
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I am glad you wrote this. I think this is what people have been trying to say to you before, but some things have to be experienced first-hand.


If you are happy, then why second-guess your current arrangement? When you start feeling like something is missing, you can rearrange and rebalance things. The motivation to climb, train, etc. goes up and down over time for various reasons. If you climb long enough, you will see the ebb and flow, and it is only too understandable that right now you have other priorities.

Forcing yourself to climb when you really want to do something else -- WHY? It is not your job, it is meant to be enjoyable. The rock would still be there when you come back to it, and I am sure you would, because it is not just a passing fancy for you, you have been climbing for many years, and you have been passionate about it in the past, so things will come full circle again.

Trying to include a specific activity in your life, just for the sake of balance, is not going to make anyone happy.
That would be like me saying that you know, I should really start going to the knitting circle at the library, just to make my life more balanced, even though I'd rather do other things right now. Wink

There was the time in my life when i would have LOVED the idea of a knitting circle at the library, and would have gone there a lot, every chance I've got. And I still enjoy knitting. But it is lower priority than other things, so no knitting circles for now, until I start feeling so desperately in need of some knitting buddies that I would be willing to give up something else to do it. And time with kids is definitely not what I am giving up for knitting! Though my daughter is very interested in knitting, she just learned to crochet, and so it is entirely possible that at some point I would find myself in the library knitting circle-- with my daugher at my side.



It is an often-repeated platitude, but kids do grow up faster than you think. Heck, I can't believe T, is 1yo already! His needs, schedule, etc. etc. will keep changing in the next years, and you will be changing and adapting with him. There is really no telling what things would be like for you in 3 years.


lena_chita
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Mar 11, 2011, 1:14 PM
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Also, think about the larger picture of what attracted you to climbing in the first place, and what parts of it are you eager to share with your child. Things that are related in some way, but more appropriate, or easier to do with a young child, things that you coud be doing together.

Introduce him to the joy of great outdoors this spring and summer. Go on short hikes, dig in the dirt, pick interesting pebbles, look for pretty leaves, etc. etc. Maybe go on a camping trip with couple other families -- just a camping trip, not camping while climbing... it will get him used to being in situations you are likely to encounter while going climbng, and it will get you more comfortable and more relaxed about the whole thing, but in the meantime, you would be spending time together, and I am sure he would love it.


Have you been able to meet and make friends with other climbers who are also parents? Having company makes a big difference. If you have other parents who are in the same situation, they are more likely to understand your concerns, you might be more likely to trust another Mom to watch your child while you climb, and just being able to talk to someone who really knows what's it like being in your shoes might be the motivation that would get both you and the other parent back into climbing. It is definitely possible to bring a young climd climbing with you and keep him safe, so if safety is your main concern, then work though those concerns one by one, and figure out how to address them, looking at it objectively and rationally, instead of going with the gut-level paranoia.


Is there a place within an hour or two of where you are, something that has some small boulders, maybe? A place like metroparks, where you could go for a hike and maybe, just maybe, if there are other people around bouldering, you woud feel that stir and the desire to climb?


enigma


Mar 11, 2011, 2:36 PM
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You can take a break from climbing, and come back to it when you are ready. I have.
You might have to go down a grade or two intially but as long as you remain healthy and motivated you will be fine. You can work back up .
It sounds like you are torn, if you really want to climb now, get a babysitter.
Good Luck


smallclimber


Mar 12, 2011, 1:24 PM
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Hi Clee,

This is a brave and very insightful post. When you were pregnant you once made a post complaining that you couldn't lead and I think I replied saying "what did you expect" which not surprisingly you didn't like.... Then 2 months later I found I was also pregnant ! And surprise surprise I found I was also dissapointed that I couldn't lead or climb as hard as I liked.!

I also planned to continue climbing through pregnancy (I managed that bit) and get straight back to it. afterwads Our daughter was born last August and I was sure we'd be back at the Gunks in October. But.....it didn't happen. Somehow the weekends passed, it was too hot, or too cold, or she had a bad night, it was too long a drive for one day, one or other of us was too tired etc. Now as the new season should be about to kick off I feel we are at a crossroads and I can see we are tending towards the not climbing option. Neither of us even make it to the regular gym, my husband has put on 20 lb and my back is crook (car seat + baby = heavy)
Before we climbed exclusively as a couple, so even to alternate going out at weekends would mean actively seeking out new partners. Without any additional climbing partners would we be happy even going topropoing outside with her in a stroller? Probably not. Neither of us has family in the country to help out, and even if we did or paid for a childminder, we are at work all week so when would we see her and spend our family time, which is why we had a baby in the first place.
Our two families are in the UK and Australia and all four grandparents are in their 70s, so we have already committed all our vacation time to travelling to see them this year.
So I don't know what will happen, we'd love her to learn to climb so I remained determined to try, but it just might not be.


Kartessa


Mar 12, 2011, 6:46 PM
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It happens!

When my son was born, I dont think I went out for anything other than groceries, diapers, doctor appointments, and the occasional family dinner. This went on for a year before I could take the one night a week (after my son was in bed, of course!) to drag my butt out to the gym and get a little social time.

A few months later, I began bringing him to the gym with me. We didn't go in the evenings or on weekends, when the place is packed, but rather a tuesday morning when it was empty and I had a few friends come out and we could all take turns entertaining him while we bouldered.

He's now 3 and I've recently taken up roped climbs in the gym with him hanging out with his toys and a snack. Lucky for me, he's a calm kid who's happy just chillin with a bowl of fruit, laughing when mommy falls.

Last summer, I took him out a couple of days out bouldering, where gear/rock fall is less of a concern and I'm on the rock for just a couple of minutes at a time (max!).

While this all plays well into my situation, a single mum livin with her mommy who can babysit on occasion. I also work less than 25 hours a week and have lots of time at home. I think what I'm trying to say is that with time you'll find ways that are comfortable to either a) take some personal time to rekindle your love with the sport or b) find a way to share it with your child.

Don't worry about it too much, like Lena said, when you're ready the rock will still be there. Enjoy this time because you can always climb again later, but your baby is only your baby once and will one day be a young man who will find dozens of things he'd rather do than cuddle up with his mom.


Can I ask why you choose to work so many hours? Could you find a job that would be more accomodating to your family life? I know it's often easier said than done, but what's the point of a career when you cant live life?


dan2see


Mar 12, 2011, 8:50 PM
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When our two kids were babies, we started camping and hiking, and exploring the Rockies. Really, we were changing Ben's diapers under the pines, and when our girl came along, it was her turn.

My wife and I shared duties, and the kids were discovering their own favorite games, and roles to play, as soon as they started walking.

This just kept progressing, while they were growing up. It was really funny: Ben would fish anywhere, Anna would swim anywhere, my wife could read a book under the shade of any tree, and I was the wanderer. In camp, I cooked, wife washed, Ben built camp furniture, and Anna just liked to be useful.

When the kids were teens, I started rock-climbing, and I learned how to top-rope the kids and their friends.

Today they are grown and gone, but they still love the outdoors. Anna drives all over the country, Ben sky-dives, wife still reads books under the trees, and I'm the mountain man.

So my example shows, you don't really have to give up, or quit, not anything! You should always look for fun and adventure that you like, and of course you should make practical plans. But be prepared for Plan B, and change your direction if it makes sense.

Never stop being active at something you like, and always have fun.


smallclimber


Mar 13, 2011, 3:40 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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Kartessa wrote:
Can I ask why you choose to work so many hours? Could you find a job that would be more accomodating to your family life? I know it's often easier said than done, but what's the point of a career when you cant live life?

I also wondered about your long hours. Do you offically work (and get paid for) 65 hours a week, or do you officially work 40 hours and the inevitable creep means it ends up being 65 hours? If its the former, could you reduce them and if its the latter can you delagate more or speak to your boss such that you don't have to put in the so much extra time.
Every little bit helps and you certainly have a very full plate just with work.


lena_chita
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Mar 13, 2011, 4:37 PM
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smallclimber wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
Can I ask why you choose to work so many hours? Could you find a job that would be more accomodating to your family life? I know it's often easier said than done, but what's the point of a career when you cant live life?

I also wondered about your long hours. Do you offically work (and get paid for) 65 hours a week, or do you officially work 40 hours and the inevitable creep means it ends up being 65 hours? If its the former, could you reduce them and if its the latter can you delagate more or speak to your boss such that you don't have to put in the so much extra time.
Every little bit helps and you certainly have a very full plate just with work.


I think it is an unfortunate reality of working in the medical field that long hours are expected and not easily reduced for people who are fresh out of medical school.

That could open up a whole 'nother thread about work realities and gender disparity, and the impact of motherhood on career.


dan2see


Mar 13, 2011, 8:18 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
smallclimber wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
Can I ask why you choose to work so many hours? Could you find a job that would be more accomodating to your family life? I know it's often easier said than done, but what's the point of a career when you cant live life?

I also wondered about your long hours. Do you offically work (and get paid for) 65 hours a week, or do you officially work 40 hours and the inevitable creep means it ends up being 65 hours? If its the former, could you reduce them and if its the latter can you delagate more or speak to your boss such that you don't have to put in the so much extra time.
Every little bit helps and you certainly have a very full plate just with work.


I think it is an unfortunate reality of working in the medical field that long hours are expected and not easily reduced for people who are fresh out of medical school.

That could open up a whole 'nother thread about work realities and gender disparity, and the impact of motherhood on career.

I once worked beside a lady named Mary. We worked 9-5, and she had two kids in day-care. The day-care closed at 5:15, but if she was late they could bill her $1.00 per minute, if one of the day-care workers could stay late, too. So, every day, Mary left work at 5:00 pm.

One afternoon, the owner of our company had a conference with the the corporate director. Could Mary stay an hour or two, to process this one customer? The director said no, she leaves at 5:00 pm. The owner said it's very important, please ask her.
The director asked Mary (very nicely, but persuasively). Mary said no, she leaves at 5:00 pm.

So the director went back to the owner, and offered his regrets.
The owner was disappointed, but said OK, see you tomorrow.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Mar 13, 2011, 8:20 PM)


clee03m


Mar 14, 2011, 4:55 PM
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Why do I work so many hours... I probably could work less if I wanted. There is a system set where I can take time off and still maintain my partnership. I don't know. I've always had a bit of financial paranoia and feel that we are not all that set financially (which is probably more in my head). I keep saying I will cut back when my husband makes more money, and even as he does, I continue to work.

I go back and forth between motherly bliss where rock climbing is just an afterthought (like when I wrote this post) and feeling some crazy cabin fever feeling like I really need to climb something (like this weekend). Luckly one of my climbing partners, hmm make the my only climbing partner who still keeps in contact was rained out, and we did some fun crack problems at the gym for a few hours. My hands and feet are sore, and I am back to motherly bliss again.

All my climbing buddies are heading out to Indan Creek next week. Am I bit bummed? Yeah. Am I more bummed that I am on call tonight and won't be able to see my son until late? Definitely.


Partner happiegrrrl


Mar 14, 2011, 5:37 PM
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The financial insecurity issue may be driving you stronger than you even know, and (my opinion) 65 hour work week is a LOT. I am old(48) but I cannot imagine having any energy for my child or anything else, with working those sorts of hours.

It might help to speak with a counselor about the financial insecurities. Because it real easy to become used to the increased income as it comes and feel no closer to financial comfort. There's *always* something to spend money on, and for some a growing savings itself can become an obsession.

But force yourself to climb when your heart says it needs your child(and child needs you)? No. You cut out the climbing, something you love, because SOMETHING had to give.

How do you FEEL about the option of cutting the workload? I'm not a mom, never have been, so my opinion weighs a lot less that that of a parent, but it seems to me 65 hours a week is too much(for anyone, really).


lena_chita
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Mar 15, 2011, 5:39 AM
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clee03m wrote:
Why do I work so many hours... I probably could work less if I wanted. There is a system set where I can take time off and still maintain my partnership. I don't know. I've always had a bit of financial paranoia and feel that we are not all that set financially (which is probably more in my head). I keep saying I will cut back when my husband makes more money, and even as he does, I continue to work.

Money worries and working long hours can certainly compicate things. So if you think at least some of it might be due to your perception/unfounded fear, maybe it is a good idea to talk it through with a counselor. Or at east start on your own by doing a detailed budget, figuring your regular monthly expenses, and how much money would you like to be able to put away each month into "unexpected one-time expenses" savings, in order to feel secure. If there is money left over after that exercise-- then that could be your ballpark for how much you can cut in work and pay compensation, without affecting your lifestyle at all. or, the more drastic step would be to figure out which things you can maybe cut, freeing some more cash...

It is a trade-off for sure, but having more time does a lot towards making you feel less stressed and more happy, so it is worth it. If you are not sure, maybe you can do this on a temporary basis-- say, cut your work hours for the next six months, and evaluate how it feels at the end. Or maybe, just cut the time, but negotiate the possibility of increase back to your current hours, in case something happens with your husband's job.

clee03m wrote:
I go back and forth between motherly bliss where rock climbing is just an afterthought (like when I wrote this post) and feeling some crazy cabin fever feeling like I really need to climb something (like this weekend). Luckly one of my climbing partners, hmm make the my only climbing partner who still keeps in contact was rained out, and we did some fun crack problems at the gym for a few hours. My hands and feet are sore, and I am back to motherly bliss again.

I can relate to this, big time. But it sounds to me that you are already dealing with it the right way. Having some time off to do your thing is good. And only you can find the balance of how much is the right amount. Too much -- and you miss your son. Not enough -- and you go stir-crazy. And it isn't a set-in-stone number of hours. It changes-- so let it.

One thing I think should be put out there. not sure if it is applicable, but... If you have been nursing your son, and have started weaning recently, or weaned in the last few months, be aware that sometimes in nursing mothers the PPD is kept at bay while they are nursing, but comes in with vengeance once the weaning happens and hormones change. So if the mood swings are more extreme than your normal, or if episodes of sadness come more frequently and without real-life reasons, try to keep an objective eye on it. Easier said than done, I know! Depression is very hard to see from the inside. Maybe ask your husband for an input--ask him if he thinks your behavior has changed.

clee03m wrote:
All my climbing buddies are heading out to Indan Creek next week. Am I bit bummed? Yeah. Am I more bummed that I am on call tonight and won't be able to see my son until late? Definitely.

Yeah, I'd be bummed, too. Life isn't perfect. It it were, I'd be able to see you in two weeks. Tongue


clee03m


Apr 8, 2011, 10:31 AM
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I wanted to give you an update. I finally reached my cabin fever limit and going climbing Sunday. Rain or shine. My lovely partner is willing to go for 4 hours total (including driving and hiking) which means we will be lucky to get 2 pitches in. I realized I don't need to give up climbing, I just need to find other climbers who wants to climb half days. Crazy ex serious climbing parents unite?

*sigh*


gblauer
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Apr 8, 2011, 1:07 PM
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Interestingly, you might be able to find groups of parents who climb.

Up here at the Gunks there is a regular group of climbers who bring their kids and they all climb together. Parents take turns climbing and watching the kids. The kids play with each other as the parents climb. From what I understand it works out quite well and everyone gets to do a little bit of everything. Even some of the older kids climb.

My kids are all grown up, but, I can tell you that when they were younger, they did not like coming out to climb when there were only adults present. They much preferred to bring some friends along or meet other kids at the crag.


lena_chita
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Apr 8, 2011, 1:15 PM
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Yes, finding a partner who can match your crazy hours is great! I hope you enjoy every minute of your short climbing day and get more soon.

T. is still too little, but Gail is right. For kids beyond toddlerhood having other kids around to play with goes a long way towards making both the kids and the adults happy. So hopefully you'll find those climbing parents.


rockie


Apr 9, 2011, 4:50 PM
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If it helps, I had no plan to climb throughout pregnancy and most I did was swim and walk, daily walks at least.

Now my son is over a year old, a single Mum, I worked part time, and soon just 2 days a week, and I am craving going climbing again, and can see it happening soon enough.

I am not giving it up in any case. It helps my parents will be around to babysit and they are bonded too.


clee03m


Apr 12, 2011, 10:46 AM
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Now that I think I am going to start climbing again, I am agreeing with everyone regarding my need for a new set of climbing partners. I think climbing with other parents/moms with kids similar age would be really helpful.

Good news is that my husband has reiterated that he is willing to come 'climbing' with me where he would share childcare and belay if needed. He is not all that interested in climbing, but as I am a bit daunted by the idea of driving long distances and handling the baby by myself, I was really happy to hear that. How he would react once it becomes a reality is another thing. But I can hope, right?

My husband has offered to babysit whenever I wanted to away on my own also, but my problem is, as I said before, I do not feel that I can take so much time away from my baby because I work so many hours. And my husband and I did some serious accounting, and it turns out I actually do need to work. Oh, well.

So, I am going to start looking for a helmet and a harness for my boy and some fun climbing parents/moms. Wish me luck!


clee03m


Apr 21, 2011, 10:37 AM
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I bought my baby a helmet and a harness! And I am joining two of my favorite partners at Index which is one my favorite climbing areas in WA this Saturday. Hubby is coming along with baby as promised.

Wow, I'm climbing again, y"all!


lena_chita
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Apr 21, 2011, 11:08 AM
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Re: [clee03m] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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Awesome! Let us know if hte baby harness gets used this weekend. :)


clee03m


Jul 12, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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Update:

I have found some great mom partners. Not only do I get to climb, but I get all sorts of advise about mothering stuff. And they actually want to keep the day short.

I still climb with some of my best climbing partners, but finding new mom-partners will make it more realistic for me to climb.

It is really nice to find climbing partners who actually want to organize a family climbing day. Yay!


Partner happiegrrrl


Jul 12, 2011, 1:51 PM
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Re: [clee03m] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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Yay for You!


clee03m


Aug 3, 2011, 10:40 PM
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Re: [happiegrrrl] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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So far family climbing days have not happened. I am still in pursuit of that elusive parent climbing partner. You know, the one with another toddler who gets along with my boy, husband who clicks with my husband, etc.

I have been trying everything. On line, forums, meetups.

So this weekend I met someone who made me rethink my approach to finding this partner. She told us some stories that made me seriously doubt her judgement. And I am so thankful she is a talker. Otherwise, I would've just taken years of her climbing experience at face value and trusted her. Next day, I climbed with one of my best climbing partners. He is safe, relaxed, totally fun. Made me wonder if I should just give up this family climbing idea and go on my own.

Next weekend, I am traveling to Squamish with the whole family to climb. I am climbing with one of my good partners and her husband. This is the longest climbing trip for my son both in driving distance and the length of stay. Wish me luck!


clee03m


Aug 3, 2011, 10:45 PM
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Re: [clee03m] realities of motherhood for one (ex?) climber [In reply to]
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I did also meet an awesome girl who is totally badass. 22 weeks pregnant and climbing so strong! (If you are reading this, hi!)

She did inspire me to work less than full time. I am going to try working 50+ instead of 60+ hours and see where my personal and financial life falls. Hell, if she can manage, I should be able to also, right?

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