Heather Hamilton-Maude: The most important job | TSLN.com

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Heather Hamilton-Maude: The most important job

While she doesn't feel like she's getting as much done on the ranch, Heather Hamilton-Maude is beginning to realize that raising children is even more important than raising cattle and hogs. Photo courtesy Heather Hamilton-Maude

The early years of motherhood are quite a rollercoaster, at least in my experience. I feel like I entered motherhood with a proverbial face plant. Our wonderful little boy arrived on schedule, healthy as a horse, and was truly precious. He also brought unprecedented change to my world.

The hardest part was forcibly learning the art of sitting on the sidelines. Being very pregnant in the spring of the year meant I missed a lot of the cattle work; my favorite kind of work. If I was present, it certainly wasn't in a role in the midst of the action like I had been my entire life. I felt useless: for good reason, but nevertheless useless.

This was only compounded after our son's arrival. I nursed, and he ate. Every hour. Every single hour for a year. Except at night, when he graciously, or not so graciously, waited three or so hours between feedings. There is no book, online article or personal conversation that can prepare you for certain aspects of motherhood, and one of hardest adjustments for me was the fact that I spent 15 minutes of every hour of the day sitting in a chair feeding the happiest and healthiest of babies. In my mind that often equated to doing nothing in the grand scheme of worldly to-do lists.

This frustration wasn't helped by the fact that despite trying numerous things, our little boy did not and still does not consistently sleep through the night. He's currently six weeks shy of two. Again, you can read about getting babies to sleep until you're cross eyed at 2 a.m., and some are still going to wake up. We have one of those.

There I was for the first year of motherhood, sitting in a chair, exhausted beyond comprehension while watching the daily ebb and flow of our operation continue on without me, in spite of me, and with great need for more of me at times. When I did help, it was minimal compared to what I historically contributed. I literally couldn't walk 50 feet to write a tag number on the calendar and remember it when I arrived. That was hard for my husband too – he was used to me being able to at least comprehend basic English most days.

We are now expecting a second child in two weeks, and I have had a few moments of concern this pregnancy as I recall the challenges year one included with our oldest. One day my kind husband just looked at me and profoundly said I was doing the most important job of my life, and doing a really good job at it.

That really hit home with me, and I hope all of you moms can take those words to heart. Learning the fine art of motherhood in an ag operation is tough for each of us, but also so very worth it. The ability to balance all that happens when a baby is added to the mix of farming and/or ranching is a little mind boggling. Sitting on the sidelines because it is what is best for your kids is tough. But, I've come to realize that much like life in general, for the lower and harder points, there is a balance of higher and brighter moments.

A mom friend of mine also put things into perspective for me recently when she said that God has used motherhood to work on her in some big ways. I realized that the same is certainly true in my own life. Motherhood offers a lot of important, Godly lessons that will benefit you and your child or children for your lifetimes. He gave you this experience at this time for reasons so important only He knows them. They are uncomprehendibly precious, even when they are difficult.

May we all remember that as we celebrate the most important of a mom's jobs this weekend. Happy Mother's Day.