If you have your barn and business right on your property then it seems like it should be easy since you are working at home but your kids won't look at it that way. They won't look at your job as a "Real job." To them you are playing with the horses and not working. I don't regret starting our business when my kids were very young but there were sacrifices made along the way for the family. It is part of working with animals and owning your own business. The cool thing is that your children will see a much deeper side of caring for horses that many children don't ever get to experience and it will teach them so many great lessons about life and with all that will come wonderful memories down the road.
Remember that it is a "Real job"
One of the things that I had to tell myself quite often in the beginning is that my job is a real job. This is how I get paid and that is how we pay our bills. If you treat your job like any other job where you would get in your car and drive to your workplace, then the pressure starts to subside and you start to look at your career in a whole new light. So much of it is mental and as moms we put so much pressure and guilt on ourselves. I did for many years and I still do once in a while. It is part of being a mom because we want to do it all and never have to tell our children to wait or even cancel something due to a sick or injured horse. Believe it or not it happens once in a while. We have had plans made to go somewhere for dinner on a Saturday night and of course a horse starts to colic or comes in from the paddock with a cut that needs stitches and the owner of the horse is out of town. That is when things can be difficult and challenging as the equine professional and the mom. It is truly an emotional tug-a-war at times.
From early on I got my children involved with horses. I didn't know if they would have the same passion and love for horses that I did but since this is what we did for a business it seemed natural to get them riding. My kids were out in the barn a lot when they were young and many times it was just to hang out with the other kids. As they grew older they would start to help me with chores if they wanted and they really learned first hand what running a horse business was all about.
Sacrifices made and wonderful lessons learned.
Were there sacrifices made because of the barn and business? Yes! I believe anytime you have your own business there are going to be sacrifices made that no one can prepare you for. You will work often seven days a week and holidays and your children will see what hard work is. They will learn that if you really want something bad enough, you will have to work extremely hard and not give up just because it gets difficult now and then. You will be out in the barn late or on a Sunday due to a very sick horse and your children will learn patience and to put others first. They will see horses that are very hurt or sick and need to be put down and they will learn the value of life and how quickly it can end. They will see the pain and heartache that the owner goes through and they will gain compassion for others and learn to comfort others in their own way. Your children will learn to put themselves second after their horse and to make sure their horse is taken care of before their own needs are met. The lessons learned are endless.
It is very true that as a barn owner you will go on less vacations than your clients and it will be difficult for your children to understand this while they are young. They will sometimes resent the fact that you are tied down to the farm more than most families and it can be much more difficult to pick up and leave for a week unless you have the help to take care of the farm. Leaving our farm for a week with forty horses on the property is no small task!
As a mom you are going to go through all kinds of emotions and guilt-trips while you are raising your kids. It happens to most moms no matter what kind of job they have. You need to take it one day at a time and learn to say no to your clients if its not an emergency and you have plans with your family. The barn can easily take up your day and night if you allow it. Don't go there because then you will be so burned out that you will be too tired for your family. Give yourself a clock-out time and go in the house. The barn will be fine and the horses will too. One day your children will grow up and be graduating from high school and you don't want any regrets. The time goes so fast.
My daughters view of our horse business.
If you were to ask my two daughters (Sixteen and Eighteen years old) about our business and what they think of it, I am sure you would get many different answers. I believe they love growing up on the farm and even though there were not a lot of kids near by, their friends loved to come over. They would also tell you that there were times that they wished we never started the business. There have been times when they felt like they missed out on other things because the business took up so much of our time especially in the early years. They are like any other kids that feel like the grass is always greener on the other side. I think that is pretty normal for most kids during their teen years. When I have talked to other people who have raised kids on a farm they have told me that their kids said the same thing at this age and now that they are grown up they miss the farm more than anything. My girls view of life with horses and the business I believe will change as they grow up and start families of their own. All I can do is hope that as they grow older they will only have sweet memories of the farm.
If you are raising kids and running a horse business I encourage you to find other moms who have been in the same situation and talk with them. Keep yourself plugged in with other equine professionals and business people so that you don't feel like you are alone. Running a horse business is hard enough at times but when you have kids and are trying to do it all it can be overwhelming. Take it one day at a time. I think as your kids watch and learn all that you do to care for the horses at your barn, you will be surprised how it will mold them and teach them so many wonderful things about the value of life.
Today I want to celebrate all the horse professionals who are juggling a career and raising children. I want to be the first to tell you that even on the days when you would rather be in with your children but instead you are tending to a sick or injured horse or dealing with some other issue in your barn, you are teaching your children so many valuable lessons just by how you live and care for the horses and people in your life. Don't be too hard on yourself.
I want to share with you my new book! "One Horsewoman to Another" was written for everywoman who has wanted to start a horse business or work in the horse industry. This book will inspire and encourage you and leave you feeling like you can do it. You are incredible for just trying and I want you to know you are not alone.
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,