Pandemic, Motherhood, and Ranching

2020 for my family was an incredibly emotional year, with the birth of our daughter Maeve, the death of the family Matriarch who passed on, a 117-year-old ranch, and the isolation of the pandemic. My husband grew up on the ranch in Philipsburg, Montana. We always knew the longevity of the ranch would be our responsibility to carry and pass on, but we did not anticipate it would be so soon. I feel very humbled; it seems enormous responsibilities always come on the years I give birth. We are honored to have such gifts bestowed upon us but like everything, it comes at a cost.

rye and uncle joel bottle feed a baby calf - Pintler Mountain Beef

My kids have been home with me for 18 months and they have witnessed my absolute breakdown and rebuild all within this time. The loss of Josh’s mother and the forced decision of how we maintain our family ranch while my husband was working insane hours at the local hospital, with a newborn, a 3 and 5-year-old at home, while socially distancing during this time has taken its toll. I have never in my life had to live like I am giving right now, where I have no clue how I am going to perform the next task such as making dinner, changing a diaper, overseeing the ranch being placed into a trust, organizing an estate, and keeping tabs on the subdivision going in adjacent to the ranch. There have been days I do not want to get out of bed or I cry myself to sleep from the intensity of my isolated children. So I decided to start a grass-fed beef business because I did not already have enough on my plate.

The overarching theme that I keep taking from these experiences is, live your life the way you want because you never know when things out of your control are going to subvert your ability to choose. We have an opportunity to connect our children to the land through my husband’s family’s ranch; we can choose if we want to slow down. Fast-paced life is a choice and I do not have to adhere to perceived societal expectations of myself or my family. My kids are each other's best friends, they spent their summers naked and in the sun and dirt. We have the opportunity to modernize an ancient profession and root our children in the land that has been in the family for 5 generations. I am choosing to change the narrative I tell myself. I may go to bed exhausted physically and emotionally but we get to protect and honor 2080 acres, connect our children to land their ancestors homesteaded and let go of everything else that does not support a loving existence.