Extreme Challenges: cycling to South Pole and being a mum

March 30, 2023 Season 1 Episode 21
Extreme Challenges: cycling to South Pole and being a mum
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Extreme Challenges: cycling to South Pole and being a mum
Mar 30, 2023 Season 1 Episode 21

I asked Maria Leijerstam Edy to come on because, as someone I met many years ago through Adventure Racing (pre-kids), I look up to – she has taken on extreme challenges (first person to cycle to the South Pole and fastest human powered coast to South Pole traverse in 10 days, 14hrs and 56 minutes being the craziest, as well as cycled the length of NZ, run the marathon de sable, and been the first woman to compete in the Siberian Black Ice Race, cycling across Lake Baikal)! She is also mum to two girls, 5 & 7years old.  I was keen to hear behind the scenes of that image of a polar explorer with her frozen hair and red nose and how the challenges she has put herself through have equipped her for being a parent. After our chat I felt even more connected and inspired, as Maria shared the challenges of just getting from 7am to 7pm with kids and we shared a giggle at our incontinence issues, post giving  birth to two kids…

Maria's book- Cycling to the South Poll: A World First
Maria's business- Burns Series Family Adventure Racing
Book recommendation- The Accidental Adventurer by Nahla Summers

Show Notes Transcript

I asked Maria Leijerstam Edy to come on because, as someone I met many years ago through Adventure Racing (pre-kids), I look up to – she has taken on extreme challenges (first person to cycle to the South Pole and fastest human powered coast to South Pole traverse in 10 days, 14hrs and 56 minutes being the craziest, as well as cycled the length of NZ, run the marathon de sable, and been the first woman to compete in the Siberian Black Ice Race, cycling across Lake Baikal)! She is also mum to two girls, 5 & 7years old.  I was keen to hear behind the scenes of that image of a polar explorer with her frozen hair and red nose and how the challenges she has put herself through have equipped her for being a parent. After our chat I felt even more connected and inspired, as Maria shared the challenges of just getting from 7am to 7pm with kids and we shared a giggle at our incontinence issues, post giving  birth to two kids…

Maria's book- Cycling to the South Poll: A World First
Maria's business- Burns Series Family Adventure Racing
Book recommendation- The Accidental Adventurer by Nahla Summers

 Yeah, I'd, I'd almost say that the ski holiday in Sweden just now was almost harder than cycling to the South Pole.

But , it's a different level. ,  maybe I shouldn't say that, but , it kind of was. I'm exhausted.

And on this episode, I asked Maria Leisure stamp to come on because as someone I've spent time with, I look up to, she has taken on extreme challenges.  Cycling to the South Pole being the biggest and craziest, but she's also now a mom.

And I was keen to hear behind the scenes of that image of a polar explorer with her frozen hair and red nose, 

and how the challenges that she's put herself through have equipped her for being a parent. After our chat, I felt even more connected and inspired as Maria shares the challenges of just getting from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM with kids and Cher a giggle at our incontinence issues post giving birth to two children.

Welcome to Truth book Maria.

I have loved preparing your introduction because I kept trying to make you sound like a normal 44 year old mom of two girls, five and seven. But I also need to say that you're a polar explorer and you've broken two world records. The first person to cycle to the South Pole, and the fastest human powered coast to South Pole Traverse in 10 days, 14 hours and 56 minutes, and amongst lots of other numerous adventures.

You've cycled the length of New Zealand. You've run the marathon to Sal. And lots of this is well documented in your book, which I'll have in the links and podcasts that you've done. Some folk might feel like tuning out. Now, , I think this just sounds so far removed from normal life, but we've met, I've met your husband, we've got lots of friends in common, and you're down to earth, normal person.

You've just got a huge sense of determination and willpower, which is inspiring. So today on truth, I  want to go behind the scenes here about how you balance being a mom now and the ups and the downs. So welcome. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. Yes. Gonna say I'm actually exhausted listening to your introduction.

Yes. Well, there's a lot more that could be said in the introduction. There's a lot more that you've done. And I, I. I hope I'm not, not done it justice, but I think there's, yeah, there's a huge amount. But now  fast forwarding to being a mom  I was wondering how all these challenges both in adventuring and as you've spoken about when you were in the corporate world in London, and that was challenging as well, but how getting through that has helped or impacted as a mom?

Yeah, because No, that, that's, yeah, it's, it's a really good question because at the time of doing all of the expeditions and the challenges and things, I don't think I really appreciated what it was giving me. I was kind of going out there to experience the adventure and to travel the world and to see how far I could push myself.

And yeah, it's only really quite recently that I've kind of realized that, , when you pull a lot of what you've put yourself through back to normal life, and I, when I say normal life, I mean, being a mom of young girls, there's a, there's, , half the popula, well, maybe not quite half the population, but there's a lot of women out there in exactly the same situation.

And you're thinking, , how on earth do I just get from seven in the morning to seven at night at the moment, because this is extreme. And I think the one thing with, well, , with expeditions that it taught me was that. , you've gotta really know yourself and you've gotta really understand yourself.

And you've gotta know that , there's a lot of things that go on, certain things you can control, other things you can't control. And, , particularly when you're a mum, you've gotta really focus on that aspect of it. And I do think from doing the expeditions, it's definitely something that I've learned to use whilst, , bringing up my children and trying to, , run a business and do all these other things that I know a lot of mums out there are doing as well at the moment.

And, , it is a massive challenge, but, , keep knowing who you are and keeping yourself really focused and trying to stay very present in the moment is you, , it's kind of all you can really do. I, , I think that really is all you can do a lot of the time. 

One of the things with parenting that can be challenging is you can't always control everything and there might be some things that you'd like to control that you can't, cuz you goodness knows what you're going to get going to get thrown and it's not like you can train for it in the way that you could train for an expedition

So, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. How does. Impact on it being tho those moments when maybe it feels very different to the control that you had on an expedition.  Yeah. So when I it was particularly the South Pole expedition although looking back, I probably did employ this technique on a lot of my expeditions was that I sort of tried to create this this circle around myself and say that anything within that circle I have complete control over.

So, , what I'm wearing, what I'm eating, what my mind is thinking what my body's doing, all those sorts of things. I can control that. Anything on the outside. So, , environmental things. So when Gravatas were falling off the, , the, or opening up and, and avalanches are falling or, , there's the.

The extreme heat in the Sahara, for example. All those things are factors I've had no control over at all. And so it's very easy to allow your mind to really go on this journey that creates panic within your body and creates a way that makes you make decisions and take decisions and take actions based on the panic as opposed to that composure that you need.

Again, being a mum, we're constantly in a state of panic with no control over anything that happens. And so it's actually a really useful technique that, , you can, , during the day it's like, okay, can I control that my child is running around? Well, yeah, I can hold their hand to stop them running around, for example, but can I control when a child is crying and crying and crying?

Well, to a certain extent, no, you can't. You need to find a way to try and calm them down. So it's deciphering between what you can control and what you can't control. And, and again, that is something that I use on a daily basis. This, okay, can I control it or can't I, yes I can. No, I can't. And therefore I can, , put a something in place to help with that.

And again, with this, this invisible circle that I talked about, I use it quite a bit with my eldest daughter, who she suffers quite badly with anxiety. And so it's kind of our safety circle. We create this safety circle and whenever I see that she's having a moment of worry or panic, I sort of say to her, right, come on, let's get into our circle and that we are together, we're in it together.

Anything we have here we can control, we can talk about, we can be open about, et cetera. Anything on the outside, let's just let it. Don't try and hide it. Don't try. And, and, and one thing that I started to do with the hearing anxiety was to try and push it away. But I've actually learned that you can't push it away.

You have to just accept it and let it be. And the whole point of this is that it's there on the outside of the circle. It will always be there, but we don't allow it to come into our circle to affect us. And that's something that, whether it was the South Pole, when I was worried about, , the fact that it was minus 40 and that my knee was hurting and that this was going wrong and that was going wrong, was it something that I was gonna allow into my circle or not?

So yeah, it's only really been since becoming a mum and dealing with things like that, that I've realized that actually my expeditions have set me up really, really well. For, for, for having techniques really to manage a lot of this. Th there's a very nice link there, isn't there? Yeah. Because you've had to learn to deal with really, Big challenging emotions while you're out there.

If you let that take over, then it would've impacted your performance and and success. And now you're able to see that in your daughter. And that's lovely to hear you're saying, I can now see that the anxiety isn't something we're going to try and get rid of, but something that we To learn how to be when it's, when it's there.

Exactly. And I also, I also think that having children, it teaches us so much about living in the now. So children generally don't think about the past and they generally don't think about the future. They're really happy playing in that moment, and it's something that only as adults after having had experiences and having had, , tempted things, tempting us, that we're thinking of the past in the future.

And then we really forget about the present and what is happening in this very moment. And it's something I've become a lot more mindful.  about I've been doing a lot more things like breath work, which makes you very, very in the now. It makes you really focus about what's going on right now. And , when you are with your child as well, you're kind of thinking, oh, I'm exhausted.

I can't wait for 'em to grow up so I don't have to do this and that. But , you're gonna miss it. If you do that, you're gonna, they're gonna grow up. And I, I even can't believe that my children are five and seven already. , it. Yesterday that I didn't have children and I was at the South Pole.

And, , life's short. And it goes really quickly. And the more we think in the past or the future, the, the quicker it goes and the more we actually forget what's important, which is the now. And then going back to expeditions as well, , you can only achieve things if you really make the most of that moment that you are in.

You, you do have to have a goal and you do have to have aspirations because otherwise where are you going? , you could get, get lost, but the journey there needs to be very, very present. And, , I think the reason that a parent can become worried and anxious and exhausted, it's because they're thinking too much in the past or the, or the present.

If they think about that moment when they're with their child and they're drawing or they're playing or they're, , throwing water around the kitchen, whatever it might be, , just allow it to kind of be in, in the moment and, and it'll, it'll ha it certainly has helped to. To, for me to get a perspective on what being a mother is really all about.

So it's been a lovely journey. I feel like I've kind of really developed myself during it. And being able to pull in all of these, , aspects I've learned from expeditions has, has been just, just incredible. Yeah. And you've lived through and, and almost thrive off challenges and thrive off what we'd call type two, probably even type three, fun,

And sometimes as parents, we maybe want to protect our children from challenges. We don't want them to, to suffer. And I'm wondering where you fall with that one, because you've actively sought out, I mean, we, some of the, during your expeditions there's been a huge amount of pain and you've had to push through that.

Yeah, I mean, I think it's very important for children to learn things for themselves. Mm-hmm. I'm definitely. , , I want them to go out and I want them to experience things. I want them to make mistakes. Of course. I don't want them to get injured and I don't want them to, , put themselves in dangerous situations.

But I do want them to get out there and, , and try new things. Particularly my oldest that suffers from anxiety. She's, , really tears me up to kind of think that she doesn't feel that she's good enough or she's worried about something because of a consequence. That's a very mature way of thinking.

And she's a child. I want her to go out there and do things and then learn about them. And so I'm always trying to give her opportunities to. To do things. She's, she, funnily enough, she's become a really amazing mountain biker. She's completely fearless on a bike. We f I found her a really great club to join that she goes to every Saturday morning.

We camp out whenever we can. Basically, , I want them to experience that feeling of not having too much, being cold, being a little bit uncomfortable, cuz all those sorts of things, , I think it's really good. It helps to, to develop children and, and. . So in fact, the other day it was just, it just felt so good.

She came to me and she said it was because I was talking about the fact it was gonna get quite cold. This was a few weeks ago, and we've always had this thing that when it's cold, we are gonna camp. Just cuz it kind of makes it more exciting. And she said to me, mommy, can we camp tonight but only take three things each?

So she wanted even to do this whole, , let's not have all the luxuries that we have at home. Let's go and see what we can, , what we can survive with. And as she told her sleeping bag her role, and then her little diary that she loves to keep. So yeah, we, we had a really fantastic camping trip and for her to come to me to say that was just, , it made me think yeah, , she's really starting to, to feel it and understand it and, and wanna get out there and explore, so.

Oh, very nice. Very happy Mommy . Yes. And we, we know. From the research that's been done and also my, your lived experience that kids do love actually being put into these challenging situations, being outdoors, but getting them there can be difficult. Yeah. I, I know we, yeah,  and, and it's something that's come up on previous podcasts is that, that you have to check in, is this my need to go camping and do adventurous things I'm putting on my children?

Or, it is that sense. No, this is, this is good for them. Yeah. And, and it's, it's that moment when you're halfway up a hill or you're camping, , which way do you go? How do you, how do you deal with those one. Yeah, I mean, it's been really challenging. Like I've done, my husband works away a lot, so I've done 99% of the, , adventurous stuff.

So when we go on holiday and we do things, , it's, it's all me doing it. We've just returned late last night back from a skiing holiday. I, I call it very loosely holiday. I'm completely shattered today and I need a weekend break. But , to take two young children, five and seven on my own, on a skiing holiday is quite a big mission.

So the first thing I do is remove any aspiration I have of having an enjoyable time for myself, . I think I probably got two runs in, , down a red, black, kind of what I would normally ski the rest of the time was spent in toilets, in restaurants, having hot chocolates falling off ski lifts, having tantrums because the socks weren't pulled up tight.

Having cold ears, , all these things that you just, , I just took it with the flow and the fact that Clara now whizzes down everything and could not get enough of it, and didn't wanna get off the, , the ski lift and off the ski slope to all her, going from a complete nons skier to now being able to ski and yeah, she only did a few runs each day, but, , that was massive result.

Huge result. And they came away both wanting to go back on Moss ski holidays, having loved it. I did put them into ski school for one hour each morning, which I was worried about. So again, Clara's anxiety in the past, she would've really panicked about that, but she loved it. So that, , so it's, I think it's all about how you , how you class.

Success. So for a ski holiday, it wasn't gonna be to have five hours on the slope skiing, it was gonna be to have a child that's not crying and smiling or a child that can now put on her own skis without having a tantrum or, , so you just have to really moderate what you, , class is successful.

And I think that goes with anything. So, , you're walking up a mountain. Okay, well maybe the summit is not the goal at all. The summit is to have children smiling or walking in the front or walking in the back or carrying a backpack or, , whatever it might look like. And I think it is quite important to remove the, what you are trying to get out of it at this stage, particularly with young children.

You do need to put that definitely on the back burner. Cuz it's not about your ski holiday or your climbing a mountain. At the moment they're young and they need you to help, help support them. So, but , like I said, they grow up so quickly and. In no time at all, we'll be back off doing, doing the things for ourselves.

So yeah,  and people may often ask you, what's your next challenge? What are you going to do? And I'm, I'm listening, thinking. Yeah. It's getting my kids out into the outdoors and see adventure. It's hard work and there's, there's times when Yeah, you're, you're, you're not having fun yourself. But like you said, oh absolutely  the satisfaction of coming home and they want to go again and yeah, they did enjoy it.

Is is hugely rewarding. Oh, it's, it's massively rewarding. But any expedition with a child or even, , like let's say ski holiday or camp, , one day camping trip in the back garden even it's always gonna be really, really hard. And, , it is gonna be more challenging than any. . Yeah, I'd, I'd almost say that the ski holiday in Sweden just now was almost harder than cycling to the South Pole.

But , it's a different level. , it's , maybe I shouldn't say that, but , it kind of was. I'm exhausted. . Yeah. I'm, it's because it is a different type of challenge. It's emotionally quite draining because you have to keep up your, you have to keep your bucket full so that you can keep giving to them.

And you, like you were saying, that's really nice to break down the goals cuz that's, that really helps in your goal driven. But trying to keep hold of that, why am I, why am I doing this? Cuz it would also be very easy to, to say, right, we'll forget it, we'll just go and sit in the cafe and drink hot C all day.

Or we'll just stay inside. But I imagine with your determination and will, that doesn't , that doesn't happen. That doesn't happen. No. Oh no. Oh, no. Although I do know when it is time to sit down and have a hot chocolate. Yes. , it's there, there is always a time and a place. Yes. So, yeah. And yeah, I mean I've got, I've got some things lined up now.

Personally, some other expeditions. So I'm, I'm doing adventure racing world championships in South Africa in October, which, , is gonna be a major mission. I've really gotta start training, trying to fit time in for training is, , it's, it's kind of nonexistent at the moment, but I've gonna have to try and just carve that out in some way.

And, and then, , I'm still running my business, the burn series, and that's growing. I've got more people involved in it now, but of course, , even though you have more people involved, it still takes an awful lot of management and an awful lot of time. And , I think like, again, like a lot of mums, , we have sacrificed our careers.

We could have put a lot more into growing them and developing them and maintaining them, but I very much chose to put all my focus into my children. But , trying to build that up again now is something that I'm really, really trying to do. So, , there's a, there's a lot of, I guess through a day, I have about five hours a day.

which is time to, to work. And that is like, I run a deer park, I run my business, the Ben series, which I should just, Alex for, for listeners, that's family adventure racing. Yeah, yeah. Getting mom, dad, and the kids to run cycle, kayak, hop, other sport you want to put in. And I know you've recently franchised that as well, so it's not, is that right?

You it's not just Yeah. Running in Wales. Yeah. We're, we're, we're, I'm working with a team now over in England just starting to put on races over there. We're still working out what the structure looks like it's gotta be something that works for everyone because, , it's adventure racing is a tiny sport in this country.

So fairly listeners that don't know what it is it's basically multiple sports. So it is kind of like a triathlon, but it's much more fun, , it's far less like crowd  a little bit more muddy. So it's, it's mountain biking, it's kind of trail running. There's kayaking instead of swimming. And then also there's an element of navigation.

So there's the strategic element involved in it, and also you can do it as a team. So I run actually quite a progressive series. So it starts with the mini burn, which is for families, specifically for families. It's all about just having fun, giving it a go. You need no experience and no age limits.

It's very simple. We'll kind of hand hold you through the whole thing if need be, but yeah, you'll do a really short little walk run, and then a bit on the bike and a little bit in the kayak, and then you'll get given a map with a few checkpoints and then each checkpoint that might be a climbing wall or something fun to, to get, get stuck into.

So it lasts, , anything between an hour and a half and three hours, depending on how fast your family move. . And then we have the Burn two, which is a similar sort of layout, but it's for adults that have never done adventure racing and are looking for sort of a two hour challenge. We then go on to the more serious, which is the, the burn six, which is a six hour, but this is fully navigated, so you'll just get given a map at the beginning and some checkpoints will be foot, some will be bikes, some will be Kayak.

You've got six hours to go and get whatever you can. So that's, , quite a long race. And then we also do we call it now the Burn Ultra, which is anything above really 12 hours which are for the more serious, I guess, adventure races out there. So we, we've been working really hard on developing like a progressive series for it so that, whereas I think in the past there's been one-off races here and.

And people don't really see where it's going in the future. Whereas this is all about, , we'll start, start small and build up and build up and, , we're gonna start having series points and things like that just to get people motivated. Everyone loves their medals and their leaderboards, so yeah, we're looking at that.

But a lot, a lot of the focus at the moment is on families, the mini burn. And we've got in fact we've just, I've just opened the entries last week. A brand new venue in the forest of Dean Mallard's Pike, which is absolutely stunning, has the most beautiful lake and a really lovely like family trail cycling path and beautiful running through the woods.

And a nice little gruff, low trail orienteering challenge. And so it's gonna be a fabulous day. That's what day is that? Oh, it's on the seventh. It's the day after the King's coronation. So a bank holiday weekend, the 7th of May. The Forest Dean. I love. Yeah. I love how you've busy a lot going on.

And do you find Yeah. That with the burn series, that. , it's attracting people that would maybe, or parents are already doing the, this kind of thing, or are you getting people in who are new to it and, and like the idea of doing things as a family? . Yeah. I think, , adventuring is a very difficult concept to sell because it is quite complex.

, you're running, you're cycling, you're kayaking, I'm navigating, you're in a team, you're, , there's a lot to it though. Up until now, it has taken, I guess, families that are already quite outdoorsy. The adventurous generally all have bikes that, , will on weekends want to get the kids packed up in the car, taken off to some forestry and go cycling.

, that, that tends to be the sorts of people that come along. But what I really want to do is , really try and open this up. And so we provide, all you need is a bike, but all the venues that we go to, you can hire bikes from, we provide everything else. So, , we really want to give, , families that haven't even really thought about doing something like this, just give it a go because the, the main focus is on fun.

we will help you as much as you need help. You don't need to have ever even been in a kayak before. , again, we've, we've had some young families that have got children that. , three years old and they're on the tag along bikes. Do  how anything goes? It's a family event. You can carry a child the whole way around if you want to.

It's all about that family bonding, that family time, being part of an event with other families. There's no other event like it out there in the uk. It's totally unique. And, , because of the, I guess the complexity of it, there are limited numbers on each event. We sort of have about 250, 300 at an event because that's sort of, that's kind of the maximum that we can cope with, with all the kayaks and all the bikes and everything.

But , it, it is open to app to everyone and anyone. And I'm always on the end of an email or a telephone number if anyone wants to call me up and l and let me to help, , talk them through it just to put their minds at ease. But and we run it with a staggered start so it's not one big on your marks.

Get set, go Where some people find that quite. Pressurized. It can be you start, , as a family at a time or if you're a group of families, you can all start together. And we make quite a big thing of the event center and we have music and the microphone and we tend to allow the children to have a little chat and the microphone and tell us about their training and, , whether mommy and daddy are gonna keep up with them.

And, , it's, it's really pitched a very, very family orientated and family focused level. So, , anyone can, anyone can give it a go for sure. And yeah, you get home with nice big shiny metal, which is always nice to take into school assembly. , definitely good advertising. And you, you do a lot of this, you were saying with your, with your husband weighing away.

Yeah. How, how do you manage to juggle? And again, it's something that's come up on other, other podcasts of, of juggling.  kids. Yeah. And training. Yeah. Again, it's, it's kind of setting parameters around what is achievable and what is not. So now both girls are in school but it, so it gives me five hours a day, Monday to Friday.

But in those five hours I'm also doing a lot of other things. I've got some property that I, that I, that I manage. I've got land that I rent out. I've got a deer park that I've run. I've got, , I've got, there's an awful lot. So I probably have, , an hour or two a day that focuses on the burn.

And, and it's interesting, , you can gather list of things to do things, do things to do things to do, and you kind of put them all on this list and you sit there and you kind of panic about them. When something needs to be done, it tends to jump to the top of your mind and it becomes the urgent sort of thing to do.

And , I think not allowing yourself to get really bogged down. In fact, just this morning I had to, I had to reset myself a little bit because I had about 50 different things that I needed to do. And I was looking at them all and I was worrying, and I was worrying. And then I thought, okay, there's an email that I've got to respond to today that I'm starting to worry about and it's taking up a lot of my time and my energy, but actually it's Friday.

And at the bottom of the email they said, let's chat about it next week. So I don't actually need to allow myself to worry at the moment about this email. I've got the time over the weekend now to think a little bit about it and then to draft it up maybe on Monday and send it on Tuesday. So again, it's, it's, , I think we all put pressure on ourselves.

and you, there are ways of being able to sort of decipher between what has to be done right now and, and  what doesn't, but , we are only human and mums. I mean, we are just, we are incredible cuz we do all this stuff and all this work. We don't get paid a penny for any of the, the mothering, the, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the looking after the children, the dealing with tantrums.

, it's like, , it's crazy. We're doing all this. Plus we're then trying to run businesses, we're trying to earn money. We're, , we're trying to do all this stuff on top and, , we've gotta remember and focus on ourselves a little bit as well and give ourselves that time. And I think that's why I very much got into doing this breath work and focusing on, , learning more about the now and the present.

You.  right now. I'm really enjoying sitting here chatting to you, and that is what I'm thinking about right now. , I don't want to think about all the other stuff that's gonna happen later or that has happened. And it allows me then to kind of just be calm in the moment. And, , it's something that it takes time to learn.

And, and it, and you do need to give yourself the time to kind of focus on that. So, . Yeah. I, , there's a lot, a lot of mums out there that, and we're all, we're all in the same boat. And that's why your podcasts, , sharing stories from other, other mums and all the things that, that go on, it's really nice to hear that, , that , we are not alone.

We're definitely not alone. So, no, and it, it's little things. It's so humanizing, , to hear that you panic when you look at your list of things to do. And I'm thinking, oh good. , . But, but you, cuz you have to have that panic, don't you? And then, and then recognize that it's there and then you, you go into your right, okay, do my breathing or whatever it is that, that, that centers you.

Yeah. And do, and you're, it's, it's a lot juggle. When, when Wayne is home, are you able to  pass over? Yeah. Well, yeah. A little. A little bit. Yeah. But I think, , I do have this overwhelming feeling that right now I am mummy first. Mm-hmm. , that is what I am first, , and, and I, of course, I will always be there until, , they move out and they don't, , they don't need me in the same way.

But, , it's kind of a sacrifice I am very happy to take because, , I feel.  very comfortable and very at home. And I love the fact that I'm a mummy. It's what I'm here to do and to be and giving the, my children every opportunity. And , it's really important for me as well to let them see that okay, , mommy works hard, she does a lot of things, but she's calm and she's, , and she's focused and, and there's all that aspect.

And, and it was really interesting cuz when Clara's anxiety started to get quite bad, I went to see lots of different psychologists and psychiatrists and behavioral therapists and hypnotherapy the whole lot. And, and and it was really, it was really interesting cause they said, they all kind of said, oh, , we've not really seen anything like this before until she's ready to start to change and, , accept help.

There's very little we can do. And then one of them turned and went, you, however you need therapy cuz you need to just chill out a little bit. And I thought, Oh my god, that's so right. And this was like a while back now. And , I think about that regularly, how as a mum we have the most massive impact on our children and we have got to really try and center ourselves and focus ourselves on that calmness and not trying to be everything and do everything and achieve everything because it's just gonna send us, , to an early grave and it's just going to instill in our children that they have to do the same thing.

? They don't, they don't, they can choose and they can, , they can take their time and focus on being children and in the now. So yeah, there's, there's a, there's so much, I think we are gonna learn so much from being a, a parent. It's, yeah, it's incredible. It, it is incredible. And with my hat on as a, as a child psychologist, I'm, I'm laughing cuz it's nice to hear the, the perspective and, and then yet will often be in that situation where with compassion you say, well There are skills that we can give you.

It's a bit like giving the parent a fishing rod rather than a fish and saying, exactly, I can do, but also you're a problem solver. You're a goal setter. We, we, we need some control in our lives. And when we see that our children are distressed and upset, particularly anxiety and where you want to be able to shift and fix it and, and it's, it's difficult to sit with it.

But it's lovely to hear that you've done that full journey and know, well, I can, I can sit with that and acknowledge Yeah, her worries, and, and, and also not stop putting her into situations where maybe there is a worry. And then she's found mountain biking. , which actually I remember reading a really good article on mountain biking for kids.

Cuz it, it, there's, there's a lot of risks involved. There's, there are injuries that happen, but it allows children to manage that fear. Yeah, exactly. And so that sounds like it, it's, it's been a, a growth for her. Yeah. I, I think the, the minute and it was it was someone called Rupert Spon. He talked about the fact that, , instead of trying to get rid of anxiety and get rid of things that worry us, it's mu it's much more about acceptance of them and allowing them to be, because you can't say to a child, right, but don't worry about.

because they will worry about it. So instead it's like, okay, you're worrying about that, that's fine. I understand why you're worrying about it and let's let it worry you here for a moment. And then when we are ready, we're just going to let it be there. It's still gonna be there, but we're not gonna let it come into, and I go back to the circle thing again.

We're not letting it come into our circle. And that was quite a big like gear change for us because try and get rid of anxiety or worry is, , you're setting yourself up to loo, , it's, it's that you can't do that. And it's much more about the acceptance and acceptance of things and, and then when you start to bring that into just everyday life, , okay, well I'm just gonna accept that that's okay.

It's, it is what it is and I'm just gonna leave it be. It really does help with state of mind massively. And I think the more it helps us, the more it then helps our children as well. . Yes. So many things to  lessons us to learn. It's, it's a tough job cuz not only do we need to manage their worries, but try and manage our own and yeah.

Model how, how we do that. Yeah. I like to ask, what would be an image of yourself in, in those calm moments when you do achieve what, is there an image that comes to mind of what you might appear like in those moments? Oh, it was interesting. Somebody said to me once, oh, you're always rushing around. And I thought, I don't want to be seen as this person that's rushing around.

There's something lovely about people that have a real calming aura about them. I think it, people gravitate to other people like that because it gives them that sense of, of, of comfort. So, . And I, , it kind of goes back to that feeling, that confidence in yourself and, and the belief in yourself.

, I definitely want to be seen as someone that has a belief in themselves.  because that's where everything begins, doesn't it? If you don't believe in yourself, no one's gonna believe in you, and you're not gonna achieve anything at all. So, , just having a really solid kind of belief in myself, I think is something that's really important.

Yeah. Yes. Oh, that's, that's lovely. The, the thing that a lot of people often talk about is that, , the swan where you're, you're gliding on top, but then your feet are going first underneath . And I also like to, we've had some good images here of what you might feel like when you're in your not so calm moments when you're panicking, looking at a list of things to do.

How does that feel, ? Oh, it's not, it's not good at all. It's I get really kind of hot and bothered. I'm sure I'm starting to get through menopause as well at the moment. So that doesn't help , that's a whole topic. Think again. Oh, you get, oh, get hot and flustered and panicking and, yeah. Yeah. . In fact again, I've got this app on my phone.

It's called the Mood App. Mm-hmm. . And basically every day you just you just give it a color based on kind of how you are feeling. And it's really nice to look back at that, to sort of understand, help you kind of understand, go, oh, look at some good days. Oh, and then that was a bad day. And then you kind of go, oh, well I know why that was a bad day and then this is a better day.

So yeah, there's lots of little tools out there that can help. Yes. And as we were saying at the beginning, just putting yourself, doesn't have to have been a polar explorer or climbing a massive mountain, but putting yourself through a challenge. Yeah. And having that determination and will. Does allow you to then yet deal with those trickier parenting situations.

Oh, absolutely. It sounds like we've had a good time, chunk of time to reflect on . Yeah. Well, as, as we bring our chapter to and end, I'd like to ask if you've got Avi Truth book confession for us, one of those moments for anything. I am so glad. No, no one saw that . No one saw that. Oh my gosh. I know you did prep me with this question.

I'd be so busy running around this morning with Might do list . , one thing , I heard you talk on your podcast about the incontinence, , when you're just walking along with the wheels.

Oh God, yeah. God, I didn't know I, I, well  . I'd like to ask you that. Cause I, I, anyway,  I dunno if that would be something you might like to Well, no, I mean, I've openly thought about the incontinence, but last year I actually, when I was in Sweden, I had the T v T operation.

Mm-hmm. And it has been revolutionary. Oh my gosh. They don't offer it in this country. Yeah. But I was able . To go to Sweden and have it done and, , I couldn't, I couldn't do anything before. It was awful. I couldn't even jog for more than 10 piece paces without being drenched down to the knee. And when I did my North South Wales challenge in 2020, During the lockdown.

It was just embarrassing and it was uncomfortable and it made me sad. It made me upset. And of course there were risks with this operation, but it was a risk I was so willing to take. And it is revolutionary. Like I can run on a full bladder now and not wet myself. It's amazing. And , I don't think any woman should have to put up with that.

And, , I had two heavy babies. They were like nine pounds or whatever they were, they were massive, massive big babies. And the second one came out really fast, which I , I've been told is not great. So I lost all form of any control down there. Awful. Yeah. Both ends. Brilliant . Yeah. I so it, it's just horrible.

It is. And, and I've yeah. Experienced that as, And I remember being in hospital when I realized that it was in incontinent for both things. I was like, Ooh, this is not nice. Yeah. Oh no. It's just awful. And, and yeah, we shouldn't have to put up with it. We shouldn't. And there's help. There is help out there you can get, yeah.

Get them done. So yeah, I highly recommend the tb t operation for it. Definitely. What does that stand, what does it stand for? T v T. Oh, it's tension of vaginal tape. Oh, right, okay. So it's like, yeah, they basically, they cut and they put this tape in that supports the ureter. Okay. Which is what lets the we in and out.

So . Yeah. Yeah. But no, I think just back to the truth book thing and it's not, I mean, I don't, I'm not very active on social media, but I think a lot of people will put out on social media all the good and all the. . , they airbrushed photos and all of the wonderful things that's going on in their lives, but nobody should be under any illusion, and that is what PE other people's lives are like because all it does is make you feel that you are not good enough.

So you've got the mum breastfeed and the baby who's four months old after having run a hundred miles and doing this and doing that. There's a whole story around that as well that's not being shown. It's only being shown that little bit, that little snippet that's gonna make everyone else feel rubbish about themselves and that they're not doing enough and they're not some super mum.

But Ever's gotta realize that that is not the whole story and it's not the truth. So, yeah, I think, yeah. And that, that's what massively motivated me to do this. Particularly during Covid. I think there was a lot of, look at our bake off and look at this wonderful boat Yeah. That we've made out of cardboard and Oh God,  you feel, you feel like an awful person.

Cause like I should be really happy for them, but I'm not  No. Just really inferior and pressure to be doing more. Yeah. And, and that's the bad thing about social media. It's, it's, it's a killer. I've switched all my notifications off for everything. Cause I do not want to be driven by my telephone and driven by someone else's agenda.

I want to drive my own agenda. It's like, follow my own, make my own footprints, not follow other people's footprints. And it's the same with, , social media things though.  How do we inspire each other? Without, cuz you want to share these big moments because it can be inspiring and, and you can Yeah.

I, I, I know I'm inspired Oh, by, by you and our, and our mutual friend, Nicola, , you, they've done Yeah. Big. And it's thinking what platform do we use? And that's I hoping to do through things like podcasts. But yeah. But I, I think it's all about, , sharing the whole story, not just all the good stuff.

And that's one reason that I've not done a lot on social media, like posting this set and everything. Like once a year I'll post, it's my 10 year anniversary and that's, that's basically about all I do . But , it's kind of, of course people aren't really interested in all the bad stuff, but I think , you need to kind of talk about the challenges and you need to talk about all those sorts of things.

And the fact, the fact that some outcomes, they don't work out as you planned or hoped or wished. And, , I think that doesn't necessarily inspire people, but it makes people feel okay, I'm not alone. , which is what's really important. Yeah. So, and like I said in the, in the introduction that I was trying to get that balance, like, you're, you're, you're your normal down to earth mom.

And don't, you don't want people to be put off or, or think, well, that's just not in my sphere, or that, that's not even achievable. And I think with the, , with the mini burn and the burn series, I'm hoping that I'm creating the balance by giving all that back now and offering all of that so other people can come and experience, experience their own sort of adventures and their own things.

So that is how inspiring, isn't it? That's how. Spreading that message spread. And that's a hands-on way of doing it. Yeah. Just get, do  I've just just bought this book, the Accidental Adventure by Nala Summers. Ah. And it's all about spreading ki I've not read it yet, it's just arrived. Okay. But it's all about, , spreading, just how far can kindness take you and , it's all about spreading kindness in the world.

And I love the idea of that. So  that is, I'll, I'll put that in in the show notes, cuz that maybe that's a book. I've not read it yet, but I'm gonna start it tonight. So . Yeah. Well it Marie, it's been really lovely. Talking to you and Ins, yes, I am inspired, but because I've connected with you, because we've heard about the the ups and the downs and the normal parent challenges and how you've learned from your expeditions and that you're not giving up, that there's, there's more expeditions to come and maybe one day we'll  we'll meet again at a house cross.

Cause I wanted to, I feel like putting my running shoes on now, . Oh, brilliant. Yeah, no, for sure. On a mountain in Scotland again, I think that was the last time, wasn't it, ? Yes, yes. Yeah, it was. Yeah. Yeah. Well, a long, long time ago. That's, it's been really lovely speaking to you. Thank you for coming in. Oh, thank you for having me on your podcast,

thank you, Maria, for sharing your journey that has led to such an important lesson in life. Accepting what we cannot control that is out with our circle, and having the courage to change what you can. And as the classic quote goes, having the wisdom to know the difference. And I wonder how many listeners will be off to Google TB T I know I am.

 And if you know someone who'd enjoy this episode and get inspiration from it, then pass it on. And if you have a behind the scenes that you'd like to share, get in touch through Facebook, on Facebook and Instagram.

Your story of how you have navigated family life will inspire and become part of someone else's family survival gate.