Work-climb-life balance can be tricky, especially if you have children or a demanding job.
Whether your work is paid or voluntary (and in this I include caring and housekeeping roles), after long hours committed to this role it can feel hard to find the time to get to the wall let alone the energy to do so.
If you have children this is even more demanding, not to mention if you are a single partner or if your partner wants to climb too!
So how do we do it? We asked three single parent women with different lifestyles how they have managed to keep their balance in check. Some names have been changed.
Trish is a single parent of a teenage daughter. She is self- employed and runs a business as well as working in the climbing industry. She talked to us about priorities and having to have time off climbing.
“Climbing is a second family to me. It doesn’t matter where you live or if you haven’t climbed in a while as it’s always there to come back to. However you have to have priorities and at different times in your life those priorities will be different too. Although climbing is always up there on my list of priorities I don’t stress about it if I don’t have time to train as I know I can come back to it. The great thing is when I do come back to climbing after a break I have new ideas and somehow get better than I was before the break! It usually takes me about 3 monthly of climbing about 3 times a week to reach a level I was at pre-break but it’s a wonderful feeling. If I know my schedule is demanding and if I can’t train I just climb for fun on easy routes and have a chat with other climbers.
” You can always come back to climbing”
Being a single mum is actually great in the climbing world as there are kids clubs if your child is keen and then you have other parents to get to know as well. It has taught my daughter responsibility and new skills she wouldn’t have been able to learn elsewhere like knots, strategic thinking and responsibility.”
Zoe is a single parent and was unemployed when she started climbing. Since then she has struggled with financial responsibilities of working and raising a child but still managed to get her climbing fix in. We spoke to Zoe about finding the time to care for her son but enjoy going outdoors as well.
” I really had to work on my ego”
“I found juggling climbing and parenthood really hard and frustrating when my son was younger. I would watch complete beginners improve really quickly and get “better” than me because they didn’t have children and could climb several times a week. I managed about once, if I was lucky. I was also on very little money and I’m sure this made it harder. I would probably have been able to afford more childcare otherwise.
I had to really work on my ego and not get concerned when comparing myself to other people. I don’t think there are enough climbing groups that welcome families which is a shame but also understandable.
I home schooled my son until he was 14 and this actually made climbing trips easier because we could go out of school holiday times so the crags were quieter! However, as I wasn’t working a lot money was always tight but we made it work”
Time management and household responsibilities
Emily is a single parent with a portfolio career which means she usually has several short term projects happening at any one time. She lives in Manchester with her daughter who is currently studying for her G.C.S.Es so the household is very busy.
“I use apps to organise my time”
“It’s important in our house that everyone pulls their own weight- they are not washing up “for me”- it’s part of making the household run and we are all part of it. I also find different ways to help with making some more money and I rent one of my rooms out on Airbnb, allowing me to be more flexible with time. I also use apps such as Trello to organise my projects and share calendars with my daughters father so we can notify each other and avoid double booking. One major thing that has freed up my time is that I rarely watch TV and if I fancy a bit I do this while cooking and washing up!”
Finding a climbing partner
Sometimes the thing holding you back is not being able to find someone who can climb when you can. Perhaps you work shifts or can only get a child minder at a specific time. There are now lots of different apps and social pages out there to find climbing partners like our find a partner Facebook page so you can usually always find someone on your time schedule. We have also made a list of women climbing clubs around the UK.
We would love to hear about how you manage your time efficiently whether it be that you have children, a demanding job, shift work or other such things calling for your time and attention! Please leave a comment below or visit us on our Facebook page