When I first married my husband, and moved to his family ranch, I immediately jumped in and helped out as needed. I quickly learned that there’s no such thing as ‘too much help’ on a ranch. I found a job that needed doing, and I took it over. Extra hands are always needed during ranching, so I know my help is appreciated.
For 6 years, I worked alongside my husband and father in law when we worked cattle. We needed the help, so naturally, I was out with them all the time. I was also able to pull the ‘wife card’ and come in to make meals, because a nice hot meal is utmost importance!
We welcomed our son Angus in the fall of 2019. When he was 2 weeks old, he slept through weaning calves, all cozy in a carrier. When it came time for the spring cow work, he’d fall asleep to the sound of all the cows bellering, he would fall asleep on the bumpy four wheeler, or was content in a play pen or stroller watching all the action. There’s definitely been some harder stages/ages where we’ve all had to adjust just what we do.
Now he is 2, and while it’s much easier in some ways, working cattle with a toddler comes with it’s own set of challenges. He isn’t content in a stroller, playpen or carrier anymore, but we can’t exactly have him free roaming around the cattle either. We make it work, weather permitting. I want to help and they need my help, but it is a new challenge trying to keep track of cattle and a toddler at the same time.
While we are outside a lot, Angus spends lots of time in the tractor, skid steer, or feed trucks. He is with us when we work cows, but he does only last so long.
I respect his help and perseverance, but more importantly, I respect when he is done.
Another challenge is the weather. Lots of times it’s too cold or too hot for him to be out for long periods of time. However, I secretly don’t mind having to pull the ‘mom card’ on those hot/windy/cold days and go inside!
I have had to let go of my own love to help, because priorities have shifted.