Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Having it all; Kids Edition

This one is the toughest part of it all.  If you ever want to feel like you are being ripped in 15 different directions both physically, mentally and emotionally to the point that you might just come apart.  Then I recommend have a bunch of kids.  And bonus points if you have them really close together in age.  It feels like a game of Operation where your soul is picked apart slowly with some shaky hands and a pair of tweezers.

Sitting in your back yard watching this it just makes the heart burst.

OMG did I just make having kids sound awful?  Haha every parent knows what I am talking about but maybe not brave enough to admit it.  But the secret that every parent also knows is that the unconditional, indescribable love that you immediately have for these little life sucking aliens makes every bit of it beyond worth it.

Kids and Horses they just go together.
Then try to have a hobby or your own interest or even want a moment of your own so you can pee in peace!  It's a laughable attempt at retaining your own identity.  The good news and the sad news is that they don't stay little and helpless forever.  For as exhausting as they are we really just never want them to grow up.  God they are precious!  It's a double edge sword, two sides of the same coin, painful and beautiful, exhausting and exhilarating.  There is no experience like it and you wouldn't trade it for the world.

Really they just do.

When they were little it was a lost cause.  I didn't even attempt to do the horse thing.  Kudos to those of you who babies and still find a way to get out and ride.  It was not in the cards for me.  I had a husband that worked 70 miles away at a very stressful job.  NO family and no real support system.  So if my babies were gonna stay alive it was up to me.  So that is what I did for about 6 years.  Then when my youngest was 3 and could feed herself, go to the bathroom herself and could sit in front of the tv for an hour with her sisters I did not hesitate and that is when I got back into horses.

I've been blazing trails with this kid...

Since before she was this kid.

It then became my peace and restoration.  It made for a happy Momma.  Since then we've gone through countless changes but each year I still continue to get out on my horse and do something.  Now I have all 3 kids that ride and still the name of the game is continuous change.  You must be adaptable to survive at all.  We've cycled through a few horses over the years as the kids riding ability grows and interest increases. 

You get to watch as they get brave and good...

and be there when they start to get really good!

What I have always made abundantly clear and is the key to  making it all work is, that I am not your caretaker, your groom, your maid, your cook.  I am not one of those self sacrificing Moms who will go through 2 decades of her life not pursing or having any personal ambition.  I won't.  My husband knows this and my children get that.  I'm not sure what that makes me appear to be to the outside world.  Selfish?  Neglectful?  Mean?  Who knows but actually I really don't care.  It is working from the inside. 
Having your very own pony is really really hard. 

My kids must and do carry their own weight around here.  It's like a time warp to 150 years ago where on a farm everyone was expected to chip in.  I have made it quite clear to them that they do not have to do so much work.  But that would mean they wouldn't have so much privilege.  With great privilege comes great responsibility and that my friends is pretty much the gospel of this family.  If you want it then you have to work for it. 

And if you don't go through all the trouble of having all those kids and your horses at home then you will never get the opportunity to have your child and pony knocking at your front door.

That means on top of your obvious priority of school you must, get up early to feed your animals, after school clean stalls and ride a reasonable number of times a week to keep your horse working, healthy and happy.  You will help clean the house, cook food and maintain the farm.  You will not get a monetary award for doing any of these things because they are your responsibilities.  Now if you go above and  beyond and help with extra things it will not go unnoticed.  They understand that the privilege of owning horses, taking lessons, Pony Club and showing are not things that other kids get to do and that is their payment.  As my daughters will tell you, "we are paid in Pony".

They even make cold, wet shows fun.

You won't hear them whine or complain.  They understand that it is just the way it is.  They know that most of their friends spend most of their time watching tv or on an Ipad or cell phone  with parents that cater to them.  But they are ok with the way it works for them. I do get pressure from my peers that I am too strict, make them work too hard or am boarder line mean for the requirements I put on my kids.  But they will openly admit that my kids are light-years more capable then their own.  And you know what? I'm Ok with that trade off.  Will my kids need therapy as adults?  Probably, it's an on going joke around here.  But even now my kids say that they have it really good and are the most grateful and respectful kids I know.

Having a part in this's just worth it.

I kind of look at it as if they are working students.  It is kind of similar.  Some manual labor for the opportunity to ride, train and compete.  Hey they get free room, board, food, tack, horses, clothes, transportation, lessons, entry fees and any other physical need met.  I'd take that working student position any day.  My parenting style is not for everyone I know that but there is no way I could have a job, 4 horses, 3 kids, 3 cats, a dog and a farm without them pitching in.  NO WAY!  So that is how having it all is even possible. The kids have to carry their weight, period.

Few in this world will ever get to experience what is in this photo.  Not just the kids and the horses but the unique privilege to experience a shared passion with all of their children.  I know it is special I acknowledge that amazing fact.  Tough, expensive and exhausting, yes.  But there is nothing like it in this world and I will cherish it.


  1. I wish there were more parents like you in this world.

  2. You're a kick ass mom and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. :-)

  3. You definitely shouldn't feel the need to defend your parenting choices. Raising kids on a farm is probably the best thing you could have ever done for them.

  4. Amen to all the above comments! You are shaping capable, compassionate, hard working future adults. Maybe if more young lives started out this way - the world would be a different place.

  5. awwwww this is freakin precious. and it *almost* filled the daily quota for pics of cute kids + ponies.... almost haha. #adorable

  6. Everyone needs therapy--but I expect with this upbringing your kids will need much much less than anyone else. :-P You guys rock.

  7. Learning how the world works thru horses and a farm.
    Love it!

    I would have given anything to be one of your kids.

  8. When I was a kid I would have cut off my right arm to work at your barn. :)
    I couldn't agree more with the idea that the kids have to work for it. Mine had no interest in horses (holding out for grandkids) but they had hockey. I too refused to sacrifice my own dreams for my kids. I think it's good for them.

  9. I adore your kids! They are so well behaved, respectful and hard working children. I FULLY agree with your parenting style. I think my parents were even tougher and I think I turned out fine. Plus you're right, working for it makes it better

  10. Your life is my dream. I know it is mostly hard work, sweat and tears but I still hope to be a parent like you one day.

  11. What an inspiring, awesome post. It helps me because I am a mom of a 7 month old and even though we lost Pongo too early, I was struggling to try to have a baby, part-time job and a horse. It's not really doable. I told my hubs I'd like to get back into it for real once we have 2 kids in elementary school assuming I don't have to work full-time. Fingers crossed. The rest of your post is just plain sensible and funny. I think you're a GREAT mom.

  12. Having a 1yr and 3yr and a horse has only been doable with a stay at home hubby who lets us going to the barn while kids get watched be a "date night". I'm still losing my mind a bit. I think it's important for kids to see you work hard at a hobby/interest too.

  13. You are an incredibly awesome mom and I've thought that since I first started reading your blog. Your kids are amazing and it's all in how you've raised them. There is nothing wrong with the way you do things. I think it is so much healthier for them mentally and physically than it is for the kids who are catered to and never go outside. There's a reason people used to have kids to help work the farm. Because it works! LOL! Keep up the great work and keep enjoying them. They are far better off than their peers thanks to you. :D

  14. I love this. It seems like in the equestrian world there are a lot of people who don't want kids, so sometimes it's not easy to find advice on making it all work. I love your candor and your love for your kids is so evident <3

  15. With our first kid on the way, folks keep telling me we're CRAZY to think that you can have such high expectations of your kids. To help out around the farm in exchange for the privilege of riding, horses and country living. Just like you, I know I would have LOVED to be a working student, and that's just how we plan on raising our kids too. You're an inspiration, and so are your kids. Props to you. Who cares what those not strong enough to raise the bar might say; you're raising good young adults there, and that's what this world needs :)

  16. You sound like an amazing parent and I do not say that lightly! Thank you for raising kids that will be functioning adults and who understand the value of things.


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