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Motherhood brings significant physical demands and changes; certainly in the early years it can feel like our body belongs to our kids. Growing them, nourishing them, being an extension for all they need. It’s a journey that leaves us forever changed.
Climbing gives our bodies a purpose and challenge outside of motherhood. For many mothers, climbing is a way of making peace with their bodies. The strength, flexibility, and intention of each movement is a wonderful reminder of how powerful our MumBods truly are.
In Photo: Kayla Apostolidis (@Kayla.apos), @ourlifeatplay & Grace Daff (@gracedaff) / Photography: @mojostoke
One of the most beautiful aspects of climbing is how it brings you completely into the moment. Most mothers can relate to the fact that parenthood means being on the clock 24/7. Even in a rare moment of solitude, it’s hard not to be contemplating the next motherhood move that will help life run smoothly.
Climbing is meditation in motion. When you show up at the bottom of a climb your full attention needs to be on assessing risk, doing safety checks, and planning your ascent. Once you start to move, the rest of the world falls away. There is no grocery list, potty training, or algebra homework. Just you, your belay partner, and the next move.
Climbing gives us so many opportunities to push just beyond our limits. The risks inherent with existing at height can be very well managed; with knowledge and diligence climbing is a surprising low risk sport. But the mental dance we have with fear is still ever present.
Climbing is the perfect practice for feeling the fear, and doing it anyway. It’s an experience in which we are constantly forced to feel fear, assess reality, control our minds, and embrace bravery. Every time we climb, we practice this skill, and over time it becomes a way to approach other challenges that life presents.
In Photo: Kayla Apostolidis (@Kayla.apos) / Photography: @mojostoke
Motherhood can at times feel like a never ending marathon, where groundhog day reigns, and you are left feeling like nothing is ever accomplished. Mothers are all acquainted with the completely demoralising, never ending, pile of laundry. Finding a sense of achievement is a challenge, and mothers are often left feeling insignificant.
Climbing brings a constant flow of problems to solve, techniques to master, and physical challenges to overcome. Each session offers moments of achievement that trigger the all important dopamine hormone. The higher the dopamine levels in your body, the higher your alertness, focus, creativity, long-term memory and concentration.
When time and logistics are everyday challenges, adventures often take a backseat to the necessities in life. Indoor climbing is one of the most adventurous pursuits you can take on, while still being close to home.
There are gyms around lots of urban areas that offer flexible hours, and are generally open past kids’ bedtimes. A good climbing gym will cater to the full range of abilities; from beginner to expert, and offer the perfect place to recenter after a busy day of mum duties.
In Photo: Kayla Apostolidis (@Kayla.apos), Grace Daff (@gracedaff), Jill Thomson (@jillymaree_t) / Photography: @mojostoke
Outdoor climbing offers a chance to be very present in nature, something that may seldom occur while being responsible for little humans. The experience can redefine the way you perceive the landscape, and take you to places few people get to see.
Climbing crags become special locations, places you know intimately, even down to each crack in a cliff face. This connection to the land is often lost in today's urban lifestyles, and is something that can be incredibly nourishing for all humans, including busy mums.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood. Making space in your life for activities that feel fun is a great way to balance these demands.
This has obvious benefits for every mum, but possibly one of the most important is that your children get to see how you play. Kids love to see their parents getting excited about life, and telling stories about the adventures they’ve had. When you make time for your own happiness, you are teaching your children an important life lesson.
In photo: Alena Murray (@alenamarie5114) / Photography: @mojostoke
The experience of climbing lends itself to friendships that are built on trust, support, and a shared love of adventure. The climbing community is full of amazing, empowered, strong, compassionate, and supportive people. Our members are from all walks of life, but we are connected by climbing and the shared values it fosters.
Being a mum within the climbing community has become a lot more common than it once was. Gyms are incredibly supportive, some even offering special mum and bub sessions, or climb and creche. There are social groups specific for families, that include a whole gaggle of crag kids. You can even connect with groups who focus on supporting and empowering mothers, like Mum’s Gone Climbing.
Are you a mum who wants to give climbing a go? Here are a few suggestions of how to get started.
Check out @mumsgoneclimbing for more climbing inspo!