In Horse and Hound this week was an article about mothers juggling competing horses and having children.
While I applaud H&H on doing an article like this, I also find myself wondering where the mum with limited support is. I'm sure many of us would be more interested to read about the one who has to beg, borrow or steal a babysitter, who has to fit 6 hours worth of work into 2 and a half, the ones that have to ride in the dark once the darlings are tucked up in bed, while the rest of us are enjoying a glass of wine in front of The Great British Bake Off, than the ones who are lucky enough to have a yard at home and grandparents or a nanny living on site. Fair play to the dressage couple who did the yard while the kids were still asleep in the mornings. Anyone with small kids knows how precious sleep is, and to get up while the children are still fast asleep takes a lot of dedication!
What I personally would like to read is a series on how professional families work. A different family each week, with a rough timetable - who feeds the horses and at what time, who does the school runs, does the youngest sit in it's pram outside the arena or does it go to nursery? But then I am incredibly nosy, as well as trying to pick up some hints and tips on how to manage myself!
What I will say about the article is that it came across as very wholesome. Where was the bribery with computer games and sweeties? Where was the forgetting the time and having to call a friend in a panic to pick your child up from school? What about having to wait around for vet/Farrier/hay delivery in the pissing rain and dark feeding your children biscuits from the tack room and making them run up and down the yard to keep warm? And not one mentioned the school run outfit! Do you go along in your jods and mucky boots, with hay in your hair and stuck to the back of your sweater, with green slobber up one arm and other dubious looking stains? Or do they have time to shower and dress in something suitable as to fit in with the other school run mothers (and fathers, but they seem immune to the whole 'appropriately attired' dilemma)
Where do they stand on maternal guilt? You have had a competition written on the diary for more than four months, and then your daughter has a ballet exam booked in for the same day? What comes first? Do you feel guilt over putting your competition first, or resentment for missing it to take a 6 year old to a ballet exam?
I'm some ways I imagine it's easier if it's your job as the justification is there, you are not gallivanting, but working. Can you break into horses as a job after having children?
I know one thing, this year could see us getting creative with the childcare as the mare and I get out and about competing more, and the husband has a new role that will take him away nearly every weekend.
So, any hints and tips gratefully received!