Building A Family

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

My neighbor had a baby this spring, my other neighbor had a baby this summer, and I’m due to have a baby this fall. When we three go to a ranch rodeo together, people see us and caution each other not to drink the water where we live. This is only my second baby, so I realize I’m still kind of a rookie parent, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the water that caused our bellies to swell.


Some people have mentioned that having a baby in October will be good, because I’ll be tied down by a newborn during the winter months, when not much fun stuff is going on as far as outdoor activities anyway. This way, I won’t miss out on much. I’m like, “Eh, I’ll miss out on the fun stuff regardless of the season, because I don’t like to set my babies down or hand them off to anyone else.”

I definitely haven’t always had this super-maternal attitude, though. I felt pretty dang resentful when I was pregnant with my daughter three years ago. I was anticipating a summer full of roping cattle with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, but those dreams were instead replaced with morning sickness and a general total-body weakness that left me barely able to stand. By the time I felt stronger, my belly was too big to let me ride a horse all day. Riding horses was all I had cared about since I was old enough to hold my own reins, so I was not happy to suddenly be on the ground every day.

After Grace was born, I was still pretty dang resentful when I realized I couldn’t go work with the cowboy crew all day anymore; I had to stay home and nurse, change, and comfort the baby. My husband still got to saddle his horse in the dark of morning, ride and rope all day, then come home tired, dirty, and satisfied with his day’s work. It wasn’t fair.

It might not be fair, but it was biologically unavoidable. Now that I’m two and a half years into this motherhood endeavor, I want to be a mom more than I ever wanted to be a professional cowgirl. I’m lucky that my husband keeps a gentle horse in the corral for me to jump on and rope some cattle if the opportunity presents itself. He always thoughtfully takes us along when he drives the ranch pickup to put out salt blocks or check to make sure certain gates are closed.

I’m also much more grateful to be pregnant this time around, as I had a miscarriage last summer. I learned the lives of our children are much more important than roping a few calves or riding my favorite horse, and I’m so thankful to have a healthy, strong baby kicking around in my belly. Also, my daughter can now dress herself, get a snack from the fridge and throw her play rope at her rocking horse. This is such a change from the sleeping infant we brought home from the hospital in a blizzard who couldn’t hold her head up or see more than ten inches in front of her face. I now understand that children are only small for a short amount of time, but every year the ranch has calves to brand, cattle to gather, and bulls to sort. All the ranch stuff will be there waiting for me when my kids are a little older and don’t need me so much.

Instead of feeling tied down by my big belly this summer, this has truly been the best season yet. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and I get to snuggle our second newborn this fall. Riding and roping will be there next year or the year after, but for now, I’m beyond happy to be on schedule to deliver a fall baby and contribute to my family in a way that only I can.

Toddler and belly

Grace and her serious face. She totally doesn’t believe that there’s a baby in Mommy’s belly; she just thinks Mommy is summering well.

What do ranch moms do when they can’t throw a leg over a horse anymore? They nest! I have no illusions that the baby will actually sleep in the crib (Grace sure didn’t), but for some reason it was very important to me to get it all set up.

Cowboy baby crib

This is the part of the room that I’m sure will see more action. So far it already has, as Grace likes to empty all the baby clothes out of the drawers about twice a week.

Baby room

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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