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How do you do it?
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re Ages 3-5 on 12/05/2011 19:42:29 MST Print View

And if sounded cranky, sorry, I do apologize. Preggo hormones make me super cranky ;-)

I do believe everyone needs "me" time as well. I think I need some right now :-D Now if I could shake the toddler off my leg (and if he'd quit hitting the mouse) I might be seen running away into the darkness ;-)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Re Ages 3-5 on 12/05/2011 20:14:05 MST Print View

Hang in there Sarah! No one said being a mom was easy! Moms with little kids are probably more deserving of "me" time than anyone. In that case its not so much a selfish thing as a "I don't want to rip my hair out" thing. Hope all goes well.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Bring the kids, do longer trips on 12/06/2011 15:17:54 MST Print View

My kids are much younger (not quite 3, and not quite 1), but we get out there as much as we can with them along. Most recently, we spent two entire months on a wilderness expedition on Malaspina Glacier (southeast Alaska).

Paradoxically, I find it easier to get out for long expeditions than short backpacking trips. It seems like the planning and gear required to get the whole family out is similar, but the logistics to reward ratio is better for longer trips.

If we want to go very far, we need to carry both kids (50 pounds combined), so it requires both parents. (I'm impressed by anyone carrying 60 pounds of kids by themselves! I can carry both mine, but it's not a lot of fun).

Between expeditions, we do a lot of dayhikes. We have the advantage of living with wilderness on our doorstep, so it's easy to do. It also reduces the motivation to get out overnight, especially in the very long nights of an Alaska winter. If I go by myself, I go at toddler pace, or try to go somewhere where I can bike/sled to get to where he can walk. With both parents, we can mix faster/farther travel with toddler exploration.

We are attempting to "train" my almost 3 year old, but can't get him to walk nearly 4 miles by himself yet (at least not all in one shot). Possibly because the 10 feet per hour pace that comes with a kid wanting to investigate, explore, and play with every single stick along the way means that it would take superhuman patience to get that far.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
"Me" time on 12/06/2011 15:34:33 MST Print View

It's okay to be away from your family for a while. Really.

My family just isn't into hiking or backpacking. I can talk my wife and/or daughter into a few day hikes every year, but that's it.

Truth is, I don't mind. As I often tell people who ask me why I'm nuts about being in the "middle of nowhere" for a day or three (or more if I can get away), I always say,

I love people. I love them even more when i can spend a few days away from them.

You'll love your family even more (and they'll love you) when you get back.


Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Bring the Kids Do longer trips on 12/06/2011 16:04:06 MST Print View

Haha Erin I remember the "ten feet per hour pace." Actually come to think of it we carried my younger sister for that very reason. She would walk but she wanted to investigate EVERYTHING.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re Bring the Kids Do longer trips on 12/06/2011 21:17:42 MST Print View

So I am guessing most parents here never trained their children to hike at a more sane pace by using a tether system........

Lets just say that I have yet (knock on wood) to have one of my kids wander off when little and the tether gives them freedom but safety but also controls the pace. I always plan in stops of course - and scenic camps - for goofing off. But gah, I rarely indulged the "10 paces and OOOOHHH! Rock! Leaf! Slug!" - but also I did take Ford (and now Walker) on goof off adventures that were not real hikes, but rather so they could/can do just that. So Ford knew the difference between hiking and strolling pretty early on.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
How do you do it? on 12/06/2011 21:30:23 MST Print View

It may be slow, but there is no more wonderful thing than re-experiencing the world through the eyes of a child!

@Sarah, it isn't just the hormones, but the physical effort of carrying an extra person around--to say nothing of coping with a toddler at the same time. Been there, done that! For what it's worth (not much to you at this point!), being a granny is a lot easier!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/06/2011 21:32:02 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
How do you do it? on 12/06/2011 21:45:41 MST Print View

Concerning getting out, my wife recently wrote this on my blog...Needless to say, I was pretty flattered when I read it, feeling pretty undeserving...

She downplays how hard she works and everything she does for the family and I pretty seriously in this piece...

Ultimately, all I can say is it's all give and take; I'm fortunate to have a partner I get along with and understand. I know how and when to take up slack when she needs it and she can see when I need some time. I'm a lucky guy.

Edited by xnomanx on 12/07/2011 19:57:03 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: How do you do it? on 12/07/2011 01:15:10 MST Print View


What can I say? This is, well I am at a loss for words. The fact that she takes the time reflect on your relationship and the family, and to put is in written word so eloquently. I am impress, one heck of a woman you have!!

And the last part... I'll have to show that to my wife. Kitchen pass given because it strengthens the partnership and the family. It is not about "me" but us. And she understands the why. You are a lucky man.


So when I see his shoulders stiffen and his mind becomes distracted, I know it is time for him to go. Maybe the mountains, maybe the desert, where a stream will whisper and the sunrise will inspire. Somewhere he can dance alone in the woods or jump in a pool of water naked. Freedom. A brief respite from the drudgery of life and all that it entails.

I know this is important for him and I’m glad he goes. Because he comes home to me, to us, refreshed with a quicker step and a lighthearted mind. I am happy to see it, when his spirit is renewed with whatever it is he saw and did. I am happy to have this man as my partner. Happy to see him leave and happy to have him return. So the kitchen pass is easily given, wholeheartedly for whenever he is in need.

-The Wife

We may be different, But we do hate the same things.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: How do you do it? on 12/07/2011 15:26:35 MST Print View

Lucky for me, my wife allows me to go on just about any trip...Me time is very important. I come back a much happier, humbled, and relaxed person after spending even one night in the outdoors. Thank goodness for the Sierras!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Re: Re: Re Bring the Kids Do longer trips on 12/07/2011 16:51:13 MST Print View

So you just pull the kid along when he gets distracted, using the tether? Does that work better than just telling him it's time to keep going? I do try telling him he has to come (which works better now at almost 3 than it used to), but tugging him along seems possibly counterproductive to getting him to want to come along on hikes with us. I can understand the tether if a kid is likely to run off, but mine isn't one to do that. But perhaps it would work better as a motivational force than I imagine. Certainly open to hearing those tips - we're right at that "training" age now (though somewhat limited by ice and snow that slow down his walking).

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re Bring the Kids Do longer trips on 12/07/2011 19:09:13 MST Print View

Think of it this way: in team races the slowest member is sometimes roped up to maintain a certain pace. Without this, the slowest will continue to slow down. This also works in mtnering to a point if you consider it.

You are not dragging the child - but rather there is a slight tug that reminds them without words to get moving. What I found is that it maintains a steady pace - not too fast, not too slow - and Mom/Dad isn't all worn out from constant nagging to get moving ;-)

It does have a learning curve and you do get plenty of bossy pants that will be sure to point out that your kid isn't a dog (whatever) if in front country areas - although I often would have strangers ask me how I had come up with the idea. I would connect Ford to me using two biners and a large piece of poly webbing that I sewed up - it was usually pack to pack or belt loop to belt loop, so his hands were free. Cheap I might add! At first it was like 3 feet of webbing, as he got older it was over 6 feet. Anyhow, he didn't have to use it for that long and it trained him to pace himself. But most of all it also bought some safety - he couldn't run ahead of me in cougar areas :-)

I think only once or so did I accidentally tug him too hard (oops) - when I turned too fast and he went down.

I also use the same system to connect my jogger stroller to my belt loop when we take it out on hikes. Works great and no fear of roll away!

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Wow, Harry Chapin on 12/08/2011 21:12:28 MST Print View

That is my memory of my deceased father and of our relationship.

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Just Do It on 12/08/2011 21:56:36 MST Print View

I have long come to the conclusion that my wife and her family are incapable of understanding why and unfortunately will never fully support my endeavors. They tolerate it but do not condone it. Thus, I just do it. I do not spend time away from family in the evenings or weekends pursuing other hobbies or interests. I do not think it is asking too much to spend less time in the wilderness than what many spend playing golf, hunting, fishing or attending stadium sport events. One trip a year, no less than 10 days in the wilderness is all I request. As my buddy would say, "Anything less is nothing more than master__tion!"

I am slowly introducing my son to the various outdoor activities and teaching him the skills that go with them. I continue to gently introduce and expose my wife to the wonderful places that briefly bring you in contact with the outdoors when she is receptive. I understand her well enough to know that she requires electricity, running water, heating/cooling and flush toilets. I hope someday that she will come to accept it instead of tolerating it. Better yet, I hope someday we can share a tent in the wilderness mutually enjoying each other and our surroundings.

A voyage into the wilderness is a pilgrimage, a journey, not of conquest, but of reconciliation.
- Art Moffatt -

It is the part of me that needs healing and puts into perspective all that is really important and what is chaff. For now, I just do it.

Doug Wolfe
Just do it on 12/09/2011 06:25:15 MST Print View

No better subject to say it.
You gotta just get that get it yesterday mentality out of your mind. just put life on hold for a weekend pack em up an do it..
I myself have made a promise to myself an that was to get at least 1 weekend a month in if not more.. I hate that (get it done yesterday crap) and I just need a break from the sounds of roaring diesel engines, bosses pushing production on job sites and so on. I need me/family time out on the trail. more so me time at this time of year cause it's a little too cold now for the rest of the family. But I need it like the grass needs rain to clear the mind..

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Just Do It on 12/13/2011 10:12:04 MST Print View

I would totally support my partner taking time out to go on trips or whatever. Sometimes I really just want some quiet time at home with the whole house to myself. I find it hard to believe that other wives wouldn't want the same thing from time-to-time.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Just Do It on 12/13/2011 11:12:33 MST Print View

Piper....I'd say the real difference in partners getting away is this:
If a couple has no kids it is way different than if there are children and the husband goes out for a week, using up the majority of his vacation days - and leaves her with the kids. She gets no vacation, no time off from her duties. And that isn't fair. To a woman, especially a non-hiking wife, it stinks.

All time away has to be evenly thought out. Trust me, I'd love at times to have a quiet house. Hence why if the husband is going to Home Depot or Lowes, the kids get coats on and shoved out the door with their old man. Ahhhhh....peace and quiet for an hour ;-) But yeah, I'd find myself bitter if he went off for 10 days and left me at home with them, with no time off - and then I didn't get the same (and when one thinks about it - it just doesn't happen - who would care for the kids?)