A few weeks ago while on maternity leave, I walked into a beef mineral meeting at the local diner carrying my infant cowgirl – I was one of two female farmer/ranchers in attendance (not counting my little nugget).
The rest of the audience, men bedecked in overalls, Carhartt coats and seed caps, gave me little notice as I walked to the front of the room with my car seat and took a chair near the presenter. Soon, the meal was served (fried chicken at a beef mineral meeting, tsk tsk) and the mineral salesman gave his pitch, distributed some info and awarded door prizes. You know what was really cool about that meeting? No one gave two hoots that I was there.
That might sound odd, but I don’t want to be singled out because I’m a woman. And I certainly don’t want to be coddled. That day, I was just another rancher, learning about beef nutrition products and veterinary antibiotic guidelines. I didn’t get sidelong glances, there was no murmuring, no one gave me special treatment and I had a nice time catching up with some neighbors. Exactly the way it’s supposed to be.
I want my daughter to see me engaged in our operation, an equal voice in how we operate our ranch. I want her to see me in the community talking with peers, male and female, about current events and issues that affect our livelihood. I don’t want her to think that just because she’s a woman, or because she has kids, she can’t continue on with living her life the way she chooses or that she has to be stuck indoors all day (unless she wants to).
To the mamas at the mineral meetings (or the rodeo or the bull sale):
Please don’t feel self-conscious that you are taking your children to a meeting – every farmer or rancher in that room has probably had to do the same thing at some time. You’re not alone and are not as out of place as you feel. I promise. Children learn from their parents. If you want your children to be engaged, contributing members of society – show them how to do that.
Don’t be intimidated if you’re the only woman in the room. Embrace it as an opportunity to share your thoughts and do it with pride knowing that you’re setting an example for your kids.
Don’t let motherhood stop you from being who you were before you became a milk machine. Motherhood doesn’t have to define us; it enhances what was already awesome and gives us new strengths. For example, I can run on far less sleep than I actually thought possible and am even more efficient now that my “me” time is drastically reduced!
Fear not, we were fearfully and wonderfully made for this life. Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” We can do it ladies, because any woman strong enough to make a human is also strong enough to do the 832 other things on our to-do lists, including asking for help. Proceed with your goal digging.
To all my fellow new mamas trying to figure out how to fit 30 hours of chores, activities, work, cuddles, sleep (HAHAHAHA), working out and play into a 24 hour day – don’t worry. God has given us the task of raising a child to be kind, loyal, productive and loving. It’s a hard job, one that I am only three months into, however – the importance of this job is not lost on my inexperience. It’s hard to figure out how to give my daughter everything she needs, emotionally and physically, while also not losing sight of myself and my needs. I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s not a contest, to take deep breaths and to pray for patience and peace.
They say the days are long but the years are short and I’m already realizing how true that is. I’ll be ok and so will you! We’ll get this parenting thing figured out and will look back in a few years and laugh at how worried we were.
Charge on, mamas.
~ Buzzard ~