Equestrians are usually the ones who smell like sweat, oddly off due to the barns odour and who run on their own time. Now, this own time business isn’t even close to “farmer time”, it isn’t ten minutes tardy… it’s running in a couple hours late because you forgot there was life outside this giant, magnificent animal. It’s a hard obsession to explain to those who aren’t in on it all. So with all our smell and time issues it shouldn’t really be that hard to guess how hard it becomes for the average horse loving person when you become a mom. I know, combining TWO life consuming and altering ways of life- prepare for mayhem.
BUT for the equestrian mom this is where it all starts. I feel it’s where we all have to grow a little and realize while our equine children are important, someone can step in for us if needed while we grow a life inside of us and then nurture it as they grow. Am I saying it’s easy? No. Nor do I believe we need to do all the compromise, besides it took two to make this little bundle of joy, right?! Having your partner give you some horsey time is totally great, but sometimes it’s hard to grow into your new role as mama when you feel you’re losing such a big part of your identity pre- baby.
So, maybe I am the only one struggling with this all and you’ve officially wasted a good few Minutes with this equestrian loving, baby snuggling, crazed mama but I feel like there’s a number of others in my same boots. When it comes to the equestrian lifestyle and mama hood it takes adjustment for a while. It’s not like our social life that we’ve (unwittingly) let slowly become less exciting, it’s a solid piece of our foundation of who we are, both as an equestrian and a mom now. It can be hard to continually give ourselves on a daily basis to our amazing baby’s when we used to have all of it to give to our sanity in horses.
I am however still a devote believer that it is a lifestyle that can work for all involved- it does take some time to accept that maybe you need some time for life to settle and that maybe your competitive dreams need to take a little bit of a back seat to your family changing, but it doesn’t make you less of an equestrian. We get to inspire a new generation of equestrians from the womb!
Growing up pre-millennial stage- I feel, our generation was started on this fairy tale / teen drama based outlook on life. You know. Nice clothes, minimal life issues, always taking part in social moments; a life lone episode of “FRIENDS”, that never ends. Then one day you realize, no one’s paying your rent- working at a coffee shop doesn’t pay enough to live – and that if you want something you better be working your butt off to get it.
In today’s world we struggle to even buy a house, because who has that extra 30,000 to put down on your new abode. So we rent, we stay with roommates, family or travel to avoid the cost of a home base…but then we start to feel rootless and meandering.
SO… what if we say shove it to the conventional expectation of order of marriage, babies, aging, houses, and the general expectation of what adulthood has become?
I know I for one have struggled with feeling ungrounded and even struggling saying shove it to convention by living full time in an RV, with a 6 month old baby and my partner (who I will marry after we’ve already had a child together, just to add to unconventional starts and life) and a beagle and a labradoodle-DEFINITELY not on the conventional side- for the last 5 months while Josh works.
But, you know what? We are still alive, we are happy, healthy and have a roof over our heads (it can just go wherever we want it to!). This push for the everyday – conventional life- is something I have tried to make my life fit for a long time, but maybe I’ve been going about it all wrong. Perhaps I am supposed to have been living the unconventional life and saying shove it to the conventional all along?
Searching the trails and trials of life, finding the feeling of home.
I have always lived with the unvoiced opinion that when life gets bumpy you start posting. Now for anyone who’s not a horse person this may be confusing… but to all the equestrians and horse lovers abound we know it’s the truth. That’s the best part of horses- while they’re giving you joy and sanity they are also teaching you about life.
No one truly likes to sit the trot, ride out the bumpiness, when we all know if we just rise on the 2nd beat it makes things easier. Well I find that’s how life goes too- much easier to make it through the bumps when you get relief in between and on the second beat. This relief in everyday life usually comes from friends, laughter, your family or a stranger buying you coffee perhaps. It doesn’t matter where the posting comes in just that it gives a reprieve from the hammering of life on your body.
It’s having that partner to do the dishes while you just sit for a minute or someone to hold the baby so you can enjoy your coffee without trying to pull a circus stunt and drink your coffee three feet to your left while still holding a grabby infant.
It just makes sense … when life gets bumpy we start posting.
Horse metaphors are my favourite in the world- just ask my previous staff of all the conversations, emails and text messages about this very same topic. It’s my quest to collect all the dorky and so true equestrianisms.
It’s like working in the round pen with a new horse and then when you step out of the round pen and into regular day interactions you spend a lot of time talking yourself out of round penning the snotty teenager talking s*** to his buddies about the girl he is taking out Friday night. The horse person in you just can’t stand the disrespect emanating off them. It’s the life skills that transfer between the two I find.
Now that I’ve got myself riled up thinking of roundpenning some
Of the the youth, and some adults, I know I am going to leave you with a few of my favourite equine – human related life tips.
1.) Horses are just like toddlers. They will give it everything they got but you have to expect the language barrier to cause frustration and sometimes even melt downs. Speak their language to ease it.
2.) You can’t keep kicking your horse with spurs on and expect a quick answer after- eventually the horse will block you out. Speak softly and ask appropriately.
3.) Be tough but fair, that way the horse is never unsure and the direction can always be clear.
4.) Sometimes you get bucked off… You have to get back on and keep trying if you are going to get the partnership you want. (Suitable for life lessons and marriages I think)
Partnerships are great. You meet someone. Fall in love. Tip toe around each other’s worst habits and then agree to annoy each other for the rest of your lives with marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in marriage and even more in the power of love but I sure am not naive enough to think you get married, have a baby and everything is gorgeous sunsets and lovely, meandering walks into the evening night. Relationships take work , and we all know it, right ?
What happens when you start to have to point out the bigger issues. That financial support is obviously a part of life but so is the menial tasks of dishes, laundry, picking up clothes and toys and feeding animals?
Let’s face it, at some point we all think about how much being an adult sucks. It’s paying bills, making meetings, taking care of payments and trying to plan for a future. But it’s also staying up late to talk, to snuggle, to do everything your parents would raise an eyebrow at. Yet at the same time it’s the balance and the life we have that we need to focus on and enjoy what we have in front of us by balancing out both the menial things and the big. … how do we balance them all while remaining sane ?
I like to think we talk it out. We move through life connected to those around us and and need to face them head on together.
Too many times as a new mom, and as an equestrian, do we find ourselves giving up socializing. As a new mom giving up socializing is for getting our little ones to nap or just relaxing ourselves and as an equestrian its usually for the hours with our equine partners practicing or grooming . Even as I type this I have a baby drifting in and out of naps and I’m planning my day between it all.
As I was home last week for the past 3 weeks I only saw my friends a couple times but when I did it was like a weight had been lifted for those short hours. The little one was still with us but the laughter and discussion was just what the Doctor ordered. We discussed our funny stories of the weeks past, future plans and the day to day but just having that outlet was the best realization. We all need that outlet. We need that feeling.
The feels of friendship are so important to make time for in a time of our lives we so often don’t think past the next hour of feeding or naps but our mental health is so important. So take time for maintaining the friendships and doing what you love so you can still be a good mom just still keeping up your mental health too.
Planning is a great tool, although I am sure Josh would tell you it is my downfall because as soon as an idea is out in the open it means my planning can start! I love planning, I like the process of working out the troubles in my mind or for the big projects drawing them out, in fact I think disaster management should have been my fortay.
Seeing as we only have one truck up here, on the edge of the continent, I have been feeling more house bound…errr RV bound… then usual. This feeling really tightened when it looked like the transmission was done in the truck and we were stranded without a vehicle for days on end! We walked, ALOT, and the dogs loved it and I think Emma did too… only I tired of walking the groceries back. So on one of these walks I spoke up, I told Josh I feel like I’ve lost the feeling of home I’ve been searching for, for so long. He took it pretty well, however I felt I needed to explain that while I was working on forming our home in my mind and building it without a physical landscape to officially call home I have always felt the draw of the Cariboo as my true “home”. Now to be told that the feeling of home has been without him in it for so long is not necessarily fair I suppose, but wherever my boots have landed, where horses have taken me or planes flown me to… it has always been the Cariboo I refer to as home. It is where my dog always felt he could wander, my horse could graze and I loved the feeling I got driving through the gate… it’s the feel of home.
So, once Josh dropped the idea that we should use my allotted acres my parents have always offered me, to build a house at the ranch, my heart felt full and I realized my searching for home was waiting for him to realize home was where I always dreamed it was, in the rolling hills of the Cariboo and with him and Emma it meant so much more as HOME than he could ever know.
To bring the feeling of home together with the mental building of home is a huge bonus but to know you get to build part of it as a partnership with the love of your life is truly a gift. So know I sit planning our physical home while still trying to build the mental and emotional home that I hope will draw our children back to us just as my parents built for me and my sisters. I was recently told that it is up to me to build my feeling of home, but I truly believe that family is what builds the home… the sense of safety and support builds ties that cannot bound you. The landscape you dream of and retreat to for mental repair is where you long to be in the hills and misty mornings. It is part of the feeling of home to build on and establish in our lifetime for our children to come.
– AJM, seeker of the feeling of home.
Where my dog can wander and my horse can graze.
Where my dog can wander and my horse can graze.
Life takes you down interesting trails and sometimes even more interesting trials. We are living in a bit of upheaval here. We have given up our house to move to the NW Coast of BC for a job for my husband to be…
Relocation is nothing new for this wandering soul, but it is a new experience to have a little one and two dogs in tow in a town where you can see the devastation of a previously poor economy. As money has slowly found its way back into the community you see the grab for it even more- mostly in housing. Some rentals are dank, dark and, dare I say it, a bit scary to step foot in. Yet these places are still being priced at $1200 upwards! So, what is a family of three and two dogs to do? … We adapt. We form a plan that lets us preserve the family core while maybe taxing your patience.
We took our RV to the edge of the North American continent and here I sit writing a blog post for my own sanity while my baby swings in her swing and the dogs lounge in front of the electric fireplace. We are adapting. In honest truth the RV is nicer than most places we’ve viewed to rent and isn’t the worst place to land, but it does try you’re sense of success and the feeling of finding home.
So tips to survive living in an RV with a baby include:
- Have a portable bassinet or crib that allows you to move baby from bedroom to living room
- Keep baby items like stroller, baby swing or glider, carriers in the under storage of the unit to open more space for you in the trailer
- Use the colorful play mats on the ground so the baby has a cushion (in our case it is laminate floors so we needed a barrier) and somewhere to safely play.
- You need to downsize your toy collection but not eliminate it. Bring a variety of books and toys for your baby to look at
- Layers are key as the Rvs can sometimes be chilly
- Decorate for baby to be entertained
- Continue with a general routine so your baby stays in tune to your days plan.
- Have storage everywhere- keep diapers in a easy access container that’s not hidden away.
- Get outside as much as possible- you and baby will appreciate it.
We will keep you posted on more tips as we move through this new trail in life.