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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2010
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    28

    Default Any Other Mom's Trying to Balance it All

    Just curious if I am the only one out there who feels this way. I am trying to balance it all, working full-time, be a Mom to my two little ones (3,7), be a wife and also keep up with my hobby, eventing. I really want to just have fun, compete maybe once a month at the Novice level, take a lesson or two, cross-country school, etc. All of my horsey girlfriends are either not eventing anymore, or have little kiddos and can't participate. I miss the days having the comraderie of going to an event, etc. with friends. Any other similar folks in my area (2) who are in the same situation? Ones that get that I am a Mom first and that don't have 7 days a week to ride?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    857

    Default

    I'm not in your area, but I totally get it. My "best" horse friend who I used to go to shows with is now pregnant with number 2 and has pretty much given up riding at all. Another good friend is single with no kids and can't understand why I can't go on "fun" road trips to tack shops, etc. I have one child, a full-time job, and just want to have fun on horseback. I don't jump much anymore, but I used to pony club and event.

    I recently had to change horses because I bought the horse I wanted to have time for when what I needed was the good-natured, two-day-a-week, not-necessarily-a-stupendous-athlete, good guy. I'd like to find a group of similar women to have fun with too. Maybe we need an internet support group!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2007
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    367

    Default

    I have a 5 yr old, a full time job and a non horsey husband that thinks horses just cost a lot and are dangerous. He is supportive but thinks horses is the rich mans hobby. This is a bit true but it can work. I bought a wonderful prospect then realized that she is not a family horse at all. I also need that good-natured, two day a week horse that I can compete and have fun with. Most of my horsey friends have no kids and good jobs...My one horsey friend that does have young kids has a really good job. I don't get paid a bunch so it is tough to keep going. I love it but I often think I should take some time off until my son gets older... I am glad others are dealing with the same type of issues...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2010
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    28

    Default

    I just did the same thing too with my horse!!! I wish you weren't in Maine, but, I like the idea of the internet support group thing!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2010
    Location
    Six miles from the beaten path
    Posts
    330

    Default

    Sign me up...maybe we need our own clique, eh? (Always wanted to be part of a clique)

    I'm a single mom, work FT-except in late summer, when it's 7 days a week and usually 7 am-8:30 or 9 pm-have a 4 year old with severe food intolerance (celiac disease) and I own a home-which, to those with hubbies or apartments, doesn't seem like much. BUT I also get to mow the lawn, change the light bulbs, shovel snow, and trim the trees, clean the gutters, all that other happy BS that goes with the 'joy' of home ownership. I don't have anyone to help with cooking, laundry, or cleaning-(Not that I'm bitching, just whining).

    The advantage, though, is that when I need a $200 saddle pad to make my saddle fit properly, I don't have anyone after me!

    If it wasn't for a super-awesome family-my grandma (seriously-a saint of a woman) watches DS when I need/want barn time (usually 2-3 days a week), and my mom, to whom I quite literally owe the world-there is no WAY I'd ever be able to maintain my habit. I pay for everything, BUT I do use her truck and trailer, and occasionally 'store' horses in her pasture (she farms a little over 5000 acres with my brother and has several pastures from when we ran cattle).

    I have my own trailer,and I'm saving to trade my TB in on a pickup, but until I get my post-divorce-get-life-set-up-on-my-own debt paid off, no way. My one horsey friend lives about 80 miles away-but I still manage to get up there and ride with her after their cattle 3-4 times a year.

    I consider my horse to be my therapy-otherwise I might lose my friggin' mind. Now, if I could just figure out how to get my insurance to cover it under my mental health bene...Wouldn't that be a score!?!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
    Posts
    2,165

    Default

    I hear ya. Two wee ones (5 months and 2 years), a full-time & demanding job which requires ~20% travel, and a horse I do not get to ride nearly as much as I used to- with a lot of planning and organization and early mornings and late nights, I get to ride her four days a week.

    I ended up leasing her 2 days a week to a H/J teen at my barn (I event, foxhunt, and ride dressage). This has worked out fantastically and gives me two days a week where I don't worry about getting to the barn and I know my horse is in great hands and getting fussed over as only teen girls can do . One day a week a friend of mine hacks her out with her hubby on her horse, so that they can ride together. As I'd be doing a gentle 1-2 hour walking hack myself one day a week, this is another day where I can be a mom and a wife and turn my attention to the rest of my non-horsey life.

    Competing right now is not something I have the time to do. I am happy I can get out to foxhunt a few times during the season. I take lessons when my travel schedule permits and will pay my trainer to ride my horse or have the H/J teen ride her while I'm traveling.

    It is not the ideal horsey situation for me and I really miss competing, but right now I have other priorities in my life and I am happy I get to ride her as often as I do. I have taken steps to make sure my horse does not suffer from my other priorities, and quite frankly she looks fantastic and her attitude is as great as ever, so that is one less thing for me to worry about.

    it is a trade-off right now but I have enjoyed being a mom SO MUCH more than I ever thought I would, that I do not mind it and in fact I am so happy right now with all the aspects of my busy, satisfying life. Best part- my daughter is showing very clear signs of loving horses herself and I can't wait to share it with her, more than just the pony rides I'm giving her right now!
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    There are more of us out there than you think. Juggling many things is pretty much a prerequisite for any grownup who wants to have a multi-dimensional life. IMO women are better at it.

    Forget what you "ought to" be doing, and learn to ignore the tut-tuts of narrow-minded individuals who look down on anyone who doesn't fit their mold of ideal wife/mother/employee/horsewoman. Screw that guilt trip! Live your life NOW and avoid the mental health problems down the road that too many people have who give up their lives entirely for someone or something else, whether that "something" is kids, job, horses or anything else.

    Nothing comes before my kid, but IMO he is better off growing up in an environment where the main female figure in his life is someone who lives a life of many facets.
    Click here before you buy.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2005
    Location
    In too many places at one time!
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Deltawave you took the words right out of my mouth!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2009
    Location
    Virginia zip 20120
    Posts
    486

    Default

    THANK GOD there are more of us out there! I thought it was just me! I have 7 and 11 year old's. My husband's job is insanely demanding (without the pay to match), which means I run the household, wear the hats of home care/up-keep, auto maintenance, all bills and finance, grocery and housecleaning, laundry, AND I was mucking fields and doing odd jobs at a local barn 15 to 18 hours a week while the kids were in school, just to earn two free short rides per week.

    I envied the others at the barn who either were without kids, or retired, which meant they had greater time and means financially to ride more, and without the time and financial strains that made my riding suffer. Recently, my over-extending myself caught up with me and what started out as a cold turned into bronchitis, and then pneumonia (just in time for the holidays, yeah, right?). I finally called my BO and told her I had to cut the riding out for now. I decided the time with the kids was so short-lived, until I had more money and could simply pay to ride, or had my own horse, there was no way I could remain sane, be a mother to our two kids, take care of our home, and squeeze horses into the mix. I miss riding, but if I can't do it they way I wanted to, compromising and doing it half-assed just wasn't going to cut it for me. The horses will be there in 5 or 7 years, my kids' childhoods are now, and very short-lived. I'm not trying to sound like a martyr, but rather, just acknowledging there are other things I can do now with the time I have, and do well (run, landscaping, play violin, take care of the home) that give me pleasure. Not as much as riding, but I'm horseless and can't afford to take lessons, or lease, so I have to compromise....I like the idea of an online support group, solidarity and compassionate support!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
    Posts
    2,738

    Default

    I need to join the support group. I have a 12 mo old and have ridden probably 4 times since I started puking after every ride when I was pregnant. I work full time (well a little more) and I just can't figure out how to get to the barn other than on the weekends. (I have to be on the phone at night and mornings are for playing with DD.) The upside is my horse seems to be loving retirement.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
    Location
    Port Perry Ontario - formerly Prodomus
    Posts
    2,364

    Default Light at the other end of the tunnel

    I really feel for all you girls - I could not do it. But I am at the other end of the road you ladies are on.

    In 1985 I gave it all up - my horses that is - because I knew I could not do it all. My choice completely. Knew I could not renovate the farm, get married, work full time and have children and then still try to keep my horses. I am an all or nothing kind of gal and if I couldn't do horses to the max - which meant then I couldn't devote myself to my family - something had to go for me.

    It took 20 years - but now it is awesome - I can devote myself again to my horses - I am lucky that my hubby is involved and I have my own business that lets me afford what I want to do and have our horses at home. Now I was able to do it right and there is no guilt. My sons ride too so it is a real family affair.

    We live in a world where we are expected to have it all and handle it all - sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. I made the right decisions for us. no regrets at all.

    So ladies - while I can't advise you on your own decision really - just thought I would add a different perspective from a been there. And believe me - there are a great many of us re-riders.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2006
    Posts
    55

    Default

    I am in the same boat having two small children 5 and 7 and working a full time job. Prior to having the children I started a small breeding business years ago but have since quit that as well because I cannot work it like I want to plus I realized very quickly that you can't really make money on breeding. I however have all of my youngstock that I need to work (I have 12 horses total but 9 that need to be ridden) and clearly there are not enough hours in the day to do it all. I do all of my work myself including the barn, riding, breaking, etc. although my kids are starting to be able to help me with the smaller tasks. My daughter is now showing but that leaves absolutely zero time for me to compete. It is working for me right now but my end goal is to sell some of these horses in the spring and get down to one or two that I can compete when my daughter goes to the shows. I have learned that through all of this that nothing can be perfect but as long as my children and husband are happy and that all of my animals are well cared for then that is going to be good enough for now.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2007
    Location
    Lubbock, TX
    Posts
    1,607

    Default

    Another one here!

    I was "horseless" while I started my family. But I really missed it, and now I'm back to being "horseful"!

    I have two kids, 12 and 14 (both boys, both totally UNinterested in horses because "that's what mom does"). Thankfully, they're finally at the age where it's ok to leave them alone for an evening, etc.

    I have a great job as a professor, and I was just promoted to full, so while I'm in committee meeting hell, I don't have to worry so much about my job (and yes, I still publish!). But it's hard, because the eventing season coincides with big things like end of the semester and exams. Sigh.

    I have an incredibly supportive SO (who is also a professor in my department).

    AND I live 5+ hours from ANYTHING eventing!!

    I have the normal conflicted feelings ("I'm a bad mom! Partner! Rider! Owner! Scholar! Teacher!" etc.) because I try to do it all. But I have learned that if I don't do what's important to ME (the horses), I won't be good at the other things.

    I just wish I had better joints!!
    --Becky in TX
    Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
    She who throws dirt is losing ground.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2009
    Posts
    607

    Default

    yup! another!

    Mom of one 3 year old, and wife.

    I am currently finishing up my masters degree and headed in to my PhD

    Running my own business, I have one broodmare, one boarder and three sales horses (three rides a day) on my property, and manage the property by myself.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
    Posts
    3,593

    Default

    Me!
    Three kids, now ages 18, 21 and 23. Have had a horse all along, with the exception of five years after # 2 was born.
    Hubby just doesn't get it, but does support me most of the time.
    I was lucky to be a stay at home mom. But once middle child got interested in riding and I insisted on buying her a pony, I had to get creative. Initially, I worked off board at the barn, then started substitute teaching when child #3 got a horse. I also worked for a vet, first part time and then full time, 3 years ago. That job totally sucked and they sucked the life out of me. At one point, I also started to run a non-profit horse rescue, while working full time and with 2 kids, then 1, at home.
    This past year I made alot of major changes so I can ride more.
    I had a health scare last February, when I had a funky mamogram...turned out to be nothing, but for a week, it really made me rethink my priorities. I gave up the rescue and then I searched for a new barn to lease..the one I had been at for 6 years required me to drive 20 miles twice a day to feed and muck...after doing upkeep and repairs, there was no time to ride. It was consuming my life....amazing how easy it is to get sucked into a situation. It helped that my oldest daughter was a big help, with mucking, feeding, etc. But then she went off to college and my youngest daughter had lost all interest. I was spending so much time running around, from barn, to work, to soccer games, to pony club, then back to the barn, and of course, there is house and yard work to do. I finally found a barn this summer, which, while I still have to drive the same amount, the property owners feed and turn out (or in, depending on the time of year) in the morning for me, so I only go out in the afternoon. Two of my boarders came with me. But then I had a blood clot just before I moved the horses. I realized a month ago, that I could not care for my 3 horses (2 belong to my daughters) and my 2 boarders....by the time I was finished with chores, my leg hurt too much to ride. Sooooo, long story short, I told my boarders they either had to go on partial or move to one of the 5 other barns on the property. Then, last week, my youngest daughter's mare died (she was in her 30's). Suddenly, I have gone from 5, plus rescues, to caring for 2! While I am sad that Dolly died, wow, it is nice to have my chores done in a reasonable amount of time.
    I also now work as a chiropractor's assistant, and while I have to be at work at 6:15am, we are done at noon on Wed and Fridays, and the other 3 days I have a 2 hour lunch, which I can either run to the barn and clean stalls or run errands.
    I now have time to ride, a minimum of 4 days but I am managing 6 days of riding! My horse is getting fit and so am I. My daughter tries to come in to town from school 1-2 days a week and she still helps out at the barn, especially with her semi-retired eventer.
    It helps to have support...my oldest daughter is my biggest supporter! I am the DC for pony club, and I have a few parents in the same situation as I am. I also belong to the local OPRC chapter and really value my one night a month when we meet for dinner.
    It really comes down to not getting sucked into a situation like I did, where your life is consumed by the horses. I made it a priority to attend my son's highschool soccer games, but I was going crazy! Of course, had my husband bought me a farm, I would not spend so much time driving, but we agreed to wait until my youngest graduates (we are in a really good school district)...that will hopefully mean that sometime this year, we can finally move.
    P.S.
    Where in WV are you? I was born in Wheeling and raised in Cameron!
    Lori T
    www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
    www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2005
    Location
    In too many places at one time!
    Posts
    307

    Default

    It really is a juggling act. I had boarders at our old place and had two boys who were 7 and 5 at the time and I felt like I was always being pulled in two directions. If I had to take the kids somewhere then something happened up at the barn that required my attention and if I was doing something in the barn then something happened with the kids. While I made a point of riding almost every day I always had this sense of guilt like I wasn't doing anything as well as I needed to. It was stressful and it was my own stress.

    We wound up moving for DH's job to a non-horse property and right after that I was diagnosed with breast cancer which really made me think about how I was living my life. I don't overextend myself anymore. I enjoy going to the kid's sporting events without worrying about being home to feed or worrying that I'm not there if something happens at the farm. I am present, for the most part, with whoever I am with be it kids, husband, friends and not thinking of the farm. Thank God I didn't have the farm when I was going through treatment because I honestly don't know how I would have been able to care for the horses.

    I don't have a horse right now and I won't until I can have one and not care about how much I am spending on it but I have a business that is horse related and allows me alot of contact with horse owners and competitors so I get to live vicariously through them which is totally fine for now. Kudos to anyone who has kids and has time to ride and compete because it isn't easy.

    Whatever we choose in life we can't have any regrets. If you are feeling guilty or stressed about the farm, your horses or your kids and the money and time stressors then you need to step back, look at the big picture and make the tough choices so that you can live a happier, stress free (or almost) life. I wish it didn't take cancer for me to realize this but at least I did get to realize it and am happier for it!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2004
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    145

    Default

    I'm with you! It's so nice to hear I'm not alone! My son just turned 6 months and I'm desperately trying to find a balance for everything. I have my horses at home which helps, but also makes for a lot more work in addition to my job (I work nights as a RN), being a mom and wife. I used to ride 2 horses every day, take lessons once or twice a week and compete once or twice a month. Needless to say, that's not happening now . Being a mom is now my number one priority. Now that we're past the newborn phase though I'm really hoping to get back to it at least on some level. I'm lucky to have a supportive husband who is great with our baby and understands how important eventing is to me, but he works long days too and isn't home until after dark. We don't have help from anyone else right now. Regardless, I'm just now getting comfortable with the idea of a sitter anyway. I have a college student who has offered to hang out with the little guy while I sneak down to the barn for a couple of hours once or twice a week, so I'll see how that goes. I'm determined to make it all work some how!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Bradenton,FL
    Posts
    353

    Default I understand and appreciate this!

    Quote Originally Posted by finneventer View Post
    I'm with you! It's so nice to hear I'm not alone! My son just turned 6 months and I'm desperately trying to find a balance for everything. I have my horses at home which helps, but also makes for a lot more work in addition to my job (I work nights as a RN), being a mom and wife. I used to ride 2 horses every day, take lessons once or twice a week and compete once or twice a month. Needless to say, that's not happening now . Being a mom is now my number one priority. Now that we're past the newborn phase though I'm really hoping to get back to it at least on some level. I'm lucky to have a supportive husband who is great with our baby and understands how important eventing is to me, but he works long days too and isn't home until after dark. We don't have help from anyone else right now. Regardless, I'm just now getting comfortable with the idea of a sitter anyway. I have a college student who has offered to hang out with the little guy while I sneak down to the barn for a couple of hours once or twice a week, so I'll see how that goes. I'm determined to make it all work some how!
    I haven't ridden in almost three weeks, and though I am mostly okay with this, at times I do feed guilty, as I coown a horse with someone, and I am the one that keeps the horse going and worked, so that the other owner (more of a beginner rider) can have FUN on the horse...

    That being said, I have a 22 month old daughter that is very much my life now. This winter though,she has been constantly sick, so I've had to cancel ride days, also a hubby that I love spending time with who is so neglected, and a full time job working in the local hospital in the ER. I also work nights. I try to work three nights in a row, have one day to recoup, then ride at least twice a week, but that doesn't happen too often.

    I used to ride at least 4 days a week, more than one horse daily, and show a LOT. I haven't shown myself in about 5 YEARS, and don't miss it, but really want to bring this horse along and show him. He is nice and so much fun. I also want to bring my student/friend along and really give her the experience of having a nice horse to learn to ride and eventually compete with. We moved the horse closer to her, now about 50 min from me so this is an issue too, but I have to figure it out. I really feel like I am dropping the ball here. We do have another trainer coming to work with her 1 day a week since I can't be there, but I do feel bad. I keep going back and forth about whether I should change the deal we have with the horse... UGH

    REALLY wish I could figure out how to balance this all. NOTHING is more important than my family of course, but can't imagine life without horses. :-)
    Lori
    Fly Teddy Fly!
    Connemara's Rock!
    RIP Reilly Go Bragh



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2008
    Posts
    198

    Default

    This is a wonderful thread!

    Not sure I qualify as having things balanced... but you all are inspiring me. I have a 2yo daughter and a 7 yo son. I don't have a horse (I sold it when we moved to Chicago) and I haven't found the time or money to add another since. It gets me down if i think about it too much, but I know my time will come when the youngest is in school.

    But until that time comes, I just focus on appreciating the time I get to spend with them. They are so sweet at this age.
    Let others know how XC went --
    Post your review on www.crosscountryreview.com!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    781

    Default

    Yep, been there. I know the silent approbation, the sharp little intake of breath and pursing of the lips when an unbeliever finds out that you have a small child and RIDE! Worse than admitting that you're a crack whore, I expect.

    I found the thing that helped the most was to cut down on unneccessary things - ironing and washing cars were the first things to slide, along with perfect grooming (sorry, just grooming - who am I kidding?) and overnight stabling, and leg wraps, and unsuitable horses. What also went out the window was the belief that looking after other people's horses was a Good Thing. With my own place, it was easy to believe that the small profit made from boarders would "pay the bills". No chance! While the company could be nice, even the sweetest people take up time and space and oxygen, and really, the effort of having to feed and rug and clean up after other people's ponies is not worth the $$$.

    I also ensured my horses live out pretty much 24/7, and in the past, had trainers come to my place once or twice month rather than haul the horse out. I also picked my competitions carefully. Time is money! I now have friends with small children who struggle to ride their own horses (which they have at home!). I suspect it is easy to fall into a (depressive???) rut which is supported by less than encouraging partners and relatives, and attitudes which still demand utter compliance to some sort of weird notion of Motherhood.

    The amount of time my friends procrastinate about riding, and setting up a suitable environment to sustain husband and kids while they step outside, could be spent actually riding! It is also important to find a system that works, and which might involve a lowering of standards in the grooming and gear cleaning department.



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