Conversations with My Children: The Outdoors as a Site of Disaster and Triumph

  • Jackie Kiewa
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


Outdoor recreation/education provides women with opportunities to reinvent themselves in ways contrary to society’s dictates, but these opportunities are costly, particularly when children are involved. The male construct of adventurer is fundamentally selfish, so that an identity of adventurous mother becomes an oxymoron, inspiring feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Conversations with the author’s adult children explore problems that were exacerbated by her frequent absences and a sense that she preferred to be elsewhere. Yet, her central presence as a strong, healthy woman became a deciding factor in their life choices. As the children struggled to develop an adult identity within the often-contradictory framework of their relationship with their mother, the author struggled simultaneously to resolve the guilt invoked by her interpretation of the children’s needs and expectations.


Motherhood Outdoor leadership Gender Adventure Outdoor career Symbolic interactionism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jackie Kiewa
    • 1
  1. 1.BrisbaneAustralia

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