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My motivation has left me
I was always one of those people who could work my butt off all day running a barn for someone else, and still find the time to ride two or three horses a day. If I missed riding for a couple days, I had serious withdrawal. I've had my own farm for 11 years, and was always doing something with the horses, just to be around them. Lately, something has been slipping. I have two kids, ages 4 and 8, 6 horses (actually the smallest number I've had in 15 years) and a farm full of other assorted animals to take care of, and I teach lessons four days a week. Lately, I never ride. When I do feel the start of an urge to ride, my kids always want to, and so instead of getting in the saddle myself, I let them, and play babysitter. Now it's to the point where I NEVER want to be in the barn. I clean stalls reluctantly. I do it, but I dread it - I used to love it. Just putting out hay takes every last scrap of energy. We have no grass, so I have to lug bales three times a day. I still have the passion for horses. I can spend hours on the forum, or looking at classifieds, or watching videos of horses. I love my fur-babies dearly. Every day i wake up and say today will be the day I start riding again, and every day passes without my doing it. And to make things worse, now I feel guilty every time I think about riding or playing with them, because there is always so much other stuff that needs doing. Mowing, trimming, fixing fence, cleaning tack, repairing things, the house, dinner, the list goes on for miles. I don't have enough hours in a day to get my work done, much less play. I'm in a downward spiral and I can't seem to get out of it... :-(
Apachie, it's called burnout.
I've had my horses at home with me for the last 5 years, and some days it feels like all I do is work.
Let me give you some great advice that someone else gave me.
Instead of thinking of riding as a reward for doing everything else, start thinking of it as another chore you need to do during the day.
Since in your mind riding is merely 'fun' and not 'work', that means it has to take a backseat to real work. Not so. Start thinking of it as something that needs to be done at least 2 to 3 times a week. Think of it as necessary exercise for the horses, not as something fun that can be put off indefinitely.
That actually does make sense, and it's a good idea. I just feel horrible guilty if my hubby comes home from work and asks "what did you do today" and I say, "well, I rode". He works sometimes up to 100 hours a week at the hospital. I guess part of it is that I feel like I don't contribute, even though I always have work to do, and pretty much run everything around here. I know it's silly, and he always tells me to ride, but I just have a fear that he will resent it. In fact, I think that is a big part of it, that and feeling like I am the glue that holds the place together, and if I slow down for even a minute, everything falls apart. You are right though, I need to add it to my chore list, and maybe that will help.
Just a couple quick comments...
By the way, my wife was a 'stay at home' mom and I fully appreciated that her day was full of work even if she said that she (seemingly) didn't do anything.
As a mom myself, I feel I can relate to you. I deal with some of the same issues, mainly guilt about riding when there is so much that Needs to be done.
It is also a syndrome of today's stay at home mom, I think. A lot of today's moms work outside the home, and for those of us that do not, it feels like maybe we're not contributing our share.
But You know as well as I do that this is not the case! Think of all the work you do in a day. What would you charge to do that work for someone else??
About the kids wanting to ride, I deal with the same thing. I go to the barn, my 7 yr old and 3 yr old want to come, that means no riding for me. What has worked for me has been actually scheduling a time for when I ride. Treat it like any other appointment, and don't break it. The kids can ride during the week after school, but satuday afternoons is your time, period. And you know what, even if when your scheduled time comes and you don't feel like riding... take that time anyway. Whether you spend that time with your horses or something else entirely, the point is you get a break, and you deserve it.
And if things do fall apart while you are gone... Good! Shows them how much they need you!
If you're burned out, I'd like to suggest doing riding early morning, and force yourself to do it.
Thanks everyone for the support and advice. Now that school is getting out for the summer, I'm going to try to get up early and ride before the kids really get moving. Maybe that will help. Plus it will be cooler. And that way I won't be so tired by the afternoon that I don't feel like riding even if I get the chance. I'm just going to have to chose to make time. Enough is enough. I have all these wonderful horses going to waste because I'm tired and feel guilty. I have to change my attitude and give myself a break.
My mom and i raise cats and at one point it became more work then a pleasure and enjoyement all caused by too much work to our plates. We stopped for a short while and retired many and now it's back to pleasurable again enjoying each litter as a passion along with the work it entails.
You have alot on your plate, you need to do something yes... slow down, cut down and get that spice back in your life ;) Kuddos to you for everything you do... it is hard work!
You're SO lucky you own horses. I would KILL just to have one!
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