Rock climbing, mountain boarding, mountaineering, fell running, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlons, football, tennis, traction kiting, camping…
These are just some of the hobbies I used to pursue before children.
There’s nothing like that feeling of summiting a mountain, reaching the top of a climb or speeding down a hill on 2 wheels; it truly is exhilarating and to be frank, it was the reason I’d get up in the morning.
Since having children, that’s changed somewhat. The exhilaration, adrenaline, and excitement are now found in watching the children grow up into little human beings. And they’re the reason I get up in the morning. (And to make the wife’s coffee, of course…)
Having this huge shift in priorities and the way I spend my time; going from being free as a bird to exert myself on a bike to being restrained to look after the children, creates a certain tension.
Yes, I am now a dad and that IS and will always be my number 1 commitment (along with being a husband).
I still have a deep love for the great outdoors and those hobbies. I am not defined solely by my role as Dad. Nor my role as husband. Instead, it’s all of these things (and more) that are thrown into the mix that make me the man I am.
It’s so easy for dads to become all consumed by 1 or 2 aspects of themselves and their lives; usually being a dad and work. Consequently, their relationships with their partner & friends deteriorates and so does their love for themselves.
And that’s why it’s crucial for all dads to have…
Time to themselves. To do what they enjoy. To pursue the things they love doing. Their hobbies.
It’s for this reason that I want to share with you, my recent trip to the French Alps for a skiing trip with my buddy, Martin.
Just 2 dads, away from their kids and partners, enjoying time to pursue the thing they love. Skiing.
Sure, I missed my wife and kids an insane amount; especially when I knew that Ted wasn’t sleeping and Jen wasn’t feeling well. But that doesnt mean it’s not important for me to take the time to pursue my hobbies. I can enjoy myself and miss them at the same time.
Martin and I were excited to be on our own, half way up a mountain thoroughly enjoying a hobby we both love. Our trip was organised by SkiWeekender, a fantastic company who do absolutely all they can to make your trip perfect. Everything from easy transfers from the airport to home cooked meals and excellent advice and guidance on the slopes.
It was a welcomed break for us not to have to cook, clean up and deal with the 2 am wake-ups. Helped by the delicious meals provided, the exceptionally clean accommodation (helped by the ‘no outdoor shoes inside’ policy) and comfortable rooms.
The best thing about SkiWeekender is that they remove all the stress of a ski trip. Everything is made super easy. And when that is combined with a beautiful lodge (home from home) and beautiful scenery all around you, there really aren’t many places I’d rather go skiing and no tour operator I’d rather go with.
Following the advice from the guys at SkiWeekender, we headed out to La Grand Bornand ski resort (part of Lake Annecy Ski Resorts) and before we knew it we were speeding down the side of a mountain.
Every dad will know that with a hobby, usually comes ‘gear.’
Obviously, there’s a lot of cool gear you can get for skiing. In fact, the right equipment and clothing is vital! I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with the experts in Ellis Brigham Mountain sports; my idea of heaven. Everything you could want for many outdoor sports under 1 roof. I literally salivate at the thought of spending time in Ellis Brigham! Back when I was a teenager, a friend and I used to travel up to London purely to spend 2 hours looking around the shop. Then we’d get on the train and come home again!
The staff at Ellis Brigham really know what they’re talking about and they are more than happy to spend quality time with you in the store to make sure you make the right equipment choices. And I (well, they) did get it right; Patagonia salopettes with matching soft & hard shell jackets. I went for layers because the weather can make or break a ski trip and having layers gives you more options to adapt accordingly.
The salopettes were an excellent fit and had plenty of pockets for lift passes, hotel key cards, snacks, GoPro’s & equipment, resort maps etc etc. And the jackets were just unbelievable. I knew Patagonia were a good brand, but they exceeded my expectations. The soft shell was so warm, especially with the bonus of a hood. Even when I didn’t have it up, it acted as a great insulated layer around my neck. And the hard shell is equally as impressive. Sometimes I find them quite hard to manoeuvre in but this one was brilliant. In the snow storm we had, it was completely waterproof whilst making sure I didn’t overheat.
Being so well-equipped made an already amazing trip, even better! Thanks, Ellis Brigham!
Martin and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time on the slopes doing what we love doing, but there was a tangible tension playing tug of war inside us. Finding that balance between spending time with the family and spending time on ourselves is tricky, but crucial.
There is no doubt in my mind, that having time to spend on myself, makes me a better dad. Balancing all aspects of life with the precious time we have is never going to be easy, but getting it right enhances everything we do, both as men and as dads.
And don’t worry mums, the same applies to you. So yes, Jen, this is your free pass to go for a spa day, head off to Cardiff for a weekend to see your best friend or whatever else you’d like to do for your ‘mum time.’
Just make sure the fridge is stocked before you go, please ;)
For more information on Skiweekender, click here.
(They also do BikeWeekender & WalkWeekender!!!)