Friday, 26 September 2014


After Val's lovely post about horse time post-baby, I've been thinking hard today about when I want to return to riding and in what capacity after I have the bub.

My situation is that I can't keep my horse at home right now. We are paying off our first home and we won't have the chance to buy or rent property in the near future. I do have her on agistment 20 minutes away with great facilities... if you keep racehorses. There is no arena. There is another agistment less than 10 minutes away (35 minute walk) that has great riding facilities and fencing but is rather pricey. I'm hoping to keep her there and possibly do one feed up a day to help reduce costs.

But... when can I ride? I will have a little person who needs me to be there most of the time. I won't be returning to work for at least 12 months, possibly more. However I hope to pick up some easy weekday trims that I can bring baby to (i.e. local quiet one or two horse trims that will take an hour max).

I've been reading and researching what other new mums do with their riding. I've heard about women who only ride if the bub is looked after by someone else (partner once or twice a week, or their mums, or child care). Other mums put bub in a pack n play and pop them next to the arena while they ride and if bubs cries, they hop off, tie up the horse and tend to bub. Others leave bub in the car with the AC or heat going the whole time they ride. So much petrol! Others again try to time rides with nap times.

What do I think is OK? I would love to ride 3-4 days a week. Maybe using a combination of bringing bub (depending on weather), leaving bub with Andrew, family or friends. I'll probably bring bub to do chores as incan easily make feeds and  pick up poo with bub in a carrier or settled in the shade in a pram.

I'm fully aware that the child will be demanding and that I will have to drop everything when s/he needs me. I also know that I could end up with a colicy baby or one who has lactose or allergy issues or who can't sleep or would otherwise be difficult to manage and I will deal with that as best I can if I have to. BUT I also believe that bub needs to fit into our lives, not just us change our whole lives to accommodate bub. I have to get some pony time in. Regular pony time. I get that I need to be flexible and if bub is sick I will just have to leave Allie not worked but if I can manage a routine where I cover all the baby's needs plus get out to the horse once a day and ride 3-4 times a week we will all be so much happier. I would LOVE to be able to get out to just one show late next year. Just one. Maybe even a baby little eventing show?

Andrew is reluctant to give me much on this. I know he won't want to be left alone with bubs multiple times a week while I'm off riding, even if it only totals 3-5 hours a week. But to be honest, although he will be working full time, so will I - full time doing baby stuff, house stuff (ugggghhhhhhhh I am the opposite of a housewife), blah blah blah. I will need the time with Allie. I get that I can't expect him to look after baby solo every single day as soon as he walks in the door while I zoom off in my jodphurs and ride. It's not every day that I'm asking. Once, maybe twice a week on weeknights, then for a couple of hours on either a Saturday or Sunday morning. If he didn't make more money than me it would be him staying home to look after bub!

Any advice/opinions/words of wisdom? Am I expecting too much? Am I expecting too little? I am not afraid of hard work. I've waited a damn long time to get out and ride this horse properly. I can make this happen with the right planning and the right support.

On a side note, Timehop tells me that today in the 1yr anniversary of Allie going lame when she broke her leg. She's been out of work for 12 months.



TeresaA said...

unfortunately there is no right answer to this question. It depends so much on circumstance. I would chat with your partner and let him know what you want and see how he can support you. Is there an option of hiring someone to look after the baby while your ride? maybe even a teenager at the barn?

The riding while they are sleeping will only work for a little while and you will find it very hard to concentrate. It is better (in my opinion) if the baby is in the care of someone while you ride. Good luck!

Funder said...

I'm not really making A Plan because the whole baby thing is such uncharted territory. A lot of it depends on his personality, you know? But in general:
My husband G is wildly fortunate to get 8 weeks paternity leave, with another month or so of work-from-home time, so we'll be able to experiment a lot before he's out of the house 11 hours a day again. But my plan is to creep back out to the barn ASAP - even if I don't want to swing a leg over, I want to go pet my horse and take her for a walk, and I'll just build from that.
I'd like to shoot for 3 rides a week, and if it's gotta be Wed-Sat-Sun that's what it's gotta be. G is on board with that - he *wants* to bond with the baby and spend time with him, and he knows that I will go insane and cry if I have to be stuck at home with a baby ALL THE TIME. So I think your standards are too low, and that you deserve more grownup/horse time! And yeah, if you can't get it from Andrew, hire it out - get a babysitter and go spend one-on-one time with Allie. It's Andrew's baby too.

Val said...

I think that not having to return to work for a year will make a world of difference. I got some decent riding in the summer after she was born, but that dropped off dramatically when I returned to work. The worst for me was returning from a short but lovely ride to find that my newborn was screaming for her Momma. It sucked the fun out of it and I felt so guilty.

I would say keep Allie as close as possible. Harley was only eight minutes away and it felt like a journey when I knew that I had to back home to nurse in an hour and change.

Lisa said...

Thanks Teresa. Andrew is sorta coming around. I think I'm stressing more about how I can remain a good horse mum than what I am about being a good little person mum!!

Lisa said...

Thanks Funder! Some non horsey people were giving me advice but were not understanding enough about the whole "I'll go nuts if I'm stuck at home with the baby all the time!" thing. I think Andrew will be super hands on (just as much as me) but I think he is way too worried about being a parent. It can't be that foreign and difficult once we get into the swing of things. I know we'll be good at it, I trust we will be good at it, he just needs to trust too.

Funder said...

My theory with getting back out to the barn as soon as I can stagger out there is that right now *neither* of us know how to comfort the baby. If we both figure it out at the same time, hopefully it won't turn into "but he's so much better for you and he loves his mom more so you should stay here." Make sense?

Lisa said...

Knowing I had left my newborn screaming for me for any length of time would break my heart... :( I can see how it would suck the joy out of anything and create guilt. I hope that didn't happen to you too often! Sounds too sad for me.

Lisa said...

Perfect sense!!