It's show season! And this year, I have vowed to be a more relaxed show stock mom. However, after just one day in the barn prepping for our first show of the season, I broke my personal Show Stock Mom Code.
Mindy's Show Stock Mom Code:
1. Smile and encourage your children.
2. Smile and help your husband.
3. Be calm with your livestock.
They sound simple. But it only took three days for me to break them all.
Let's start with the first one. My 20-year-old daughter wanted to continue showing her string of Oxford sheep. Mind you, she holds down a summer job and a few summer classes about 1-1/2 hours away in Columbia. Her time spent at home is sporadic. So getting sheep ready for any show happens on her schedule, which often does not coincide with mine.
In my mind, I was quite content to hang up the show blankets and call it a career. But, she was not. So, the first day in the barn when she arrived late to help, I was not smiling. I was frustrated. I explained vividly how this was something she wanted and we were on her time, so she should be there. I reinforced my irritation with the fact that next year she will not show. Needless to say, she was broken. Rule #1 busted.
I forgot about her side--classes, work, driving, and serving on the junior board of directors that is putting together the first show of the season. I forgot about her love and passion for the sheep industry and showing her own flock. She has been in the show ring since the age of 10. She lives for summer. She loves being around her friends in the sheep industry, talking about good times and competing.
And I realized; I was not encouraging. So, I had to just listen.
She reminded me through tears, she has just one more year to show in the junior division and then she ages out. It is hard to bring a show career to a close. Granted, she can still show in the open division, but it is not the same. Your longtime friends may not be there. Careers and life takes them places that may not include the show arena. You can no longer count on the one thing you will be doing every summer--hanging with your friends in the show barn.
So, I took a breath and reminded myself of the first code of being a Show Stock Mom: "Smile and encourage your children."
I hugged her and apologized for not encouraging her passion for the industry that has given her great leadership opportunities, a competitive nature and wonderful friendships. After all, it was her project and her choice as to when she leaves the show barn. Then I smiled. "I will be better once I get to the show," I said. "I promise."
Truly, that is always the case. Why? Because at the show, all of the time, all of the work, all of the frustration, all of the broken codes seem to fade. As soon as my daughter hits the show ring, she is smiling. This is her home. This is her passion. This is her time.
Being a Show Stock Mom is actually a partnership, not a dictatorship. Check back next week and see how I broke the second Show Stock Mom Code and just how my novice sheep handling husband responded.