Another frigid January has come and gone. By now I am sure all of us have slipped on the ice, gotten our wet gloves stuck to a frosty gate or door knob, cursed as the tractor tires start spinning as we attempted going uphill, bounced around in a skidloader trying to break loose frozen manure, and wondered why we do this job as we chip the ice off a frozen water fountain at least once. It certainly takes resilience to keep climbing out of bed each morning, feel the cold air sting our cheeks, and walk into the barn hoping our accomplishments today will lead to a better tomorrow.
    As I warm up with a mug of hot apple cider, I think of how lucky I was last January to escape the tundra for a few days and enjoy Hawaii with my husband, Chris. I am grateful we took advantage of our freedom before becoming parents. We rented a Jeep, drove along the coastline and all the way to the top of Mount Haleakala. Zip-lining, snorkeling, a dinner cruise, whale watching, walking along the beaches, watching sunsets, swimming, touring Pearl Harbor and simply enjoying the breath-taking paradise filled our days.
    Now, my days are spent trying to find balance. Trying to balance motherhood and working is a challenge. Trying to balance being a wife and mother is a challenge. Trying to balance my mind between focusing on work and focusing on Morgan is a challenge. I am amazed how this little baby girl truly does run my schedule.
    One of my first mornings back on the farm, my dad mentioned wanting to leave to attend a ceremony. I assured him I could handle things just fine on my own, and he left me a short to-do list. First, I checked on a slow fresh cow. I heard the ping of a DA through my stethoscope and called the vet. While I waited for the vet, I got several other tasks done. Finally, the vet came for surgery. As I assisted her, my babysitter texted me saying Morgan already guzzled all of the milk I had sent along. This meant the rest of my to-do list would have to wait. As soon as surgery was complete, I rushed to pick up Morgan and kept her content. Another time, I forgot to restock my diaper bag and had to run to the house and show my mom where I stashed my reserve supplies. In December, I had both Morgan and myself dressed and ready for a road trip. I paused to change her diaper before putting her in the car seat. In a rush, I took off my coat and laid her on it. She proceeded to sneeze, pee on my coat and poop all over her clothes before I could get a new diaper on. I now have a better understanding of why moms are always running late.  
    Caring for a newborn around the clock is exhausting. Besides this, no one prepared me for mom brain. This state of mind is when you are so busy thinking about your baby’s needs that you cannot focus on the conversation at dinner, you cannot remember what your husband told you the day before, and your brain simply does not work as quickly as it did before you earned the title of mom. I admit I am having a difficult time accepting this as my new normal. Being able to think on my feet was one of my strengths, and I miss the confidence it gave me. I feel like I cannot give dairy farming 100 percent effort because I simply do not have it in me right now.  
    At my postpartum check-up, I discussed how my life had changed so quickly and dramatically with my doctor. She told me I must find time for myself. I must do something simply because I want to. I must strive to do what makes me feel like me. I did not know how to take this. She assured me it was not a selfish action and an order. As a mom, I feel such guilt leaving Morgan with a sitter while I work because I love bonding with her. How can I leave her with someone so I can have fun?
    I absolutely love being a mom, yet even with a very content baby, it is no easy job. Incorporating my hobbies of exercising, cooking, baking and going on adventures into my new lifestyle is something I am determined to do. I set up a sledding play date with a few of our friends and their children. At the end of the afternoon, I still had not ridden in the sled, as I had been busy taking care of Morgan. When someone offered to hold her while Chris pulled me around, I jumped at the chance. Screaming in the sled as he jumped drifts and spun circles made me feel like me again, seeking adventure and being active. Slowly, but surely, I am making progress on finding balance.
    “The act of balancing motherhood, and a career, and being a wife is something that I don’t think I’ll ever perfect, but I love the challenge of it.”– Kerri Walsh, professional beach volleyball player.
    Laura Scholtz farms with her father, John Rosenhammer, and uncle, Greg, on Roseview Dairy near Sleepy Eye, Minn. They milk 200 Holsteins and run 580 acres of cropland.