Most people have been encouraging as I regale them with tales of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sure, they wonder about the bathroom situation with wrinkled noses and pointedly question my ability to climb 19,000
feet to the ceiling of Africa. My enthusiastic response usually satisfies the run-of-the-mill naysayers.
There is one common challenge that doesn’t retreat so easily:
You are really leaving your FOUR children for 2 weeks? How can you do it? Isn’t it hard?
To that, I say this: NO, it isn’t hard. Sure I will miss them and yes I am the vital cog but since you don’t believe me, here are 8 reasons why you should leave your children behind and climb a mountain.
Mountain climbing reason #1: You might need a break:
The longest I have been away from my children, for business, vacation or mandatory weddings/ funerals is 5 days. I have been there, online to keep my in-box from growing to big, planning play dates and ensuring the basic household bills are paid. I’m not sick of it all, but I’m sure when I will return from the mountain refreshed, with a new perspective. That’s what breaks are for.
Mountain climbing reason #2: It’s MY time too:
I have many friends who feel their time is not now, that this moment is for their children and all resources – time, effort and financial- should go to their offspring to give them a better life. For the most part I agree; I am responsible for the wellbeing of my kiddos and I want them to have the best possible start to an amazing existence. I believe, however, that our dreams can run concurrently, rather than end to end. The truth is, I am not guaranteed tomorrow. I must fulfill my dreams as well. There’s room for all of us.
Mountain climbing reason #3: It’s good for someone else to do what I do, once in a while.
My husband has gladly taken on the responsibility of looking after the four children that reside in our home. Without touching the “they are his kids too” argument, it is healthy for me to relinquish control (gasp) and depend on him. The children will all see a man handling the household effectively and even though he will not clean the kitchen up when I think he should, it strengthens our bond because this act of leaving to climb a mountain indicates I believe in him and therefor US. If you don’t have a husband, all the more reason to leave. Your children may see you as too vital of a cog. They need to know you will come back.
Mountain climbing reason #4: It’s good for my ego.
As most ladies, I am what my friend Molly calls “the vital cog.” All plans, financials and food decision run through me. I know where the extra toilet paper is and I am the one to remind everyone it’s garbage day. I confess there are moments I “retire” to bed exhausted and feeling put out. How would this world work without me, I wonder. The truth is my household works just fine without me. I never had to do it all alone. Leaving and climbing allows my family to very quietly and resolutely make that point. Who knows, maybe I won’t take it all on myself when I return!
Mountain climbing reason #5: It’s good for them to see me make room.
If you want to raise children who will grow up to be balanced and fulfilled adults, it’s best that you live that example. If they never see YOU choose YOU as an adult, it’s unlikely they will choose themselves when they are your age.
Mountain climbing reason #6: You define what is healthy for them.
This type of challenge required me to train extensively. For those of you who think hours of training is overkill, I ask you, isn’t working 10 hour days excessive? Maybe we should take more time for fitness. Particularly for my daughters, it’s important for them to see me choose a healthy life with workouts, healthy eating and good sleep cycles, and not to fit in a dress or bikini. I am teaching them how to be a strong and powerful woman!
Mountain climbing reason #7: They will see beyond their neighborhood.
We tend to move to places that protect our children, but with that protection comes a lack of insight into the vast, diverse and beautiful world we live in. Combine that with the restricted collective conscious of their classmates and the parade of ugly stories on the telly and they will grow up not understanding the amazing variety of life choices around them. Buying the ticket, traveling across the ocean, experiencing another continent- these things make the world real to them. It’s not an answer to a test anymore. It’s a place their mom has traveled.
Mountain climbing reason #8: You will inspire them.
My children are inspired by me at the moment. Not because it’s so revolutionary to travel to climb a
mountain. It turns out everyone either has climbed it or is planning to climb it or know someone who climbed it. The inspiration comes from determination, persistence, excitement, joy- all things I have been living for the six months I have planned for this trip. I don’t know where the inspiration will lead them, but I do know it will be bigger, better and badder than what I am doing right now.
So leave those kids behind, ladies and gentleman. Cut the ties, wipe away the tears, take a deep breath and board the plane. It’s good for them and it’s good for you.