In talking to my brother-in-law, Mike, who is a vet, he brought up an interesting theory connecting cows and how to be a good mom. We tend to think of cows as a bad thing when compared to humans. He eats like a cow, she looks like a cow, meaning they are bigger or eat more than they should.
Are you curious about the connection? We’ll let him explain it.
Find the Maternal Instinct
On cattle ranches, there are many factors that ranchers use to select the best breeding stock to grow their herds. One of the most important traits that helps in this selection is maternal behavior.
Maternal care includes a wide variety of activities directed towards the young calf. Basically, the mother is chosen based on her willingness to sacrifice her time, energy, and resources towards the rearing of the young calf, as well as to nurture and protect her offspring.
Since a rancher’s livelihood is dependent on the offspring’s ability to grow up, stay healthy and become a productive member of the herd, maternal traits are highly sought after.
It doesn’t matter what kind of a woman you are, you probably have that maternal instinct to some degree. Even if you’re not a mother, you can feel it for nieces and nephews, your friend’s children or your next door neighbor. It’s that innate sense of protecting at all costs.
Spending Time for Family
A good momma cow is endlessly dedicated to her calf. She invests 9 months growing a healthy fetus, endures great pain and stress to deliver her baby and as long as it takes to get that calf to the point where it can care for itself. Medically, her body is gathering and using nutrients and minerals that her calf will leech from her through her milk, warmth, and protective instincts and she couldn’t be happier about it.
Mothers go through similar circumstances to create, deliver and feed their children. Chances are her body won’t bounce back to how it looked before. She’ll lose sleep in the newborn stage and then periodically throughout the rest of her child’s life.
She’ll spend hours and days trying to make her family happy, cooking dinners, washing laundry, picking up the house. Her brain is filled with the family schedule and the long to-do list of things that can’t be accomplished in one day.
But she keeps moving forward, finding the joy in the giggles and smiles of her kids and the love of her husband.
Motherhood takes Energy
Have you ever tried to help a baby calf when his mom thought you weren’t trying to help? I have, and (thankfully) I am here to tell you that she will make you seriously question your motivations.
Once I saw a range cow barrel through a 5-strand barbed-wire fence to deter a well-intentioned human helper from providing “assistance” to her baby. She will stand watch all night against coyotes and wolves and call in her sisters for support in protection of their young. The dedication to their safety is apparent all the way up to the time they can fend for themselves.
What have you done to protect your children? Or what would you do for your future children?
A Good Mom Needs Resources
I LOVE COWS. Really, they are stunning animals. A momma cow needs resources for grazing, traveling, fetal development, milk production, temperature maintenance, reproduction, digestion, and voiding of body wastes. All these needs are met from grass and water.
However, most of her expenditures are nothing compared to what she devotes to fetal and milk development and providing for her offspring. Sure, she needs to meet her own requirements for basic health and maintenance. Those needs have to be addressed to maintain a healthy animal that can provide well for her babies. But, when the going gets tough, she will give up body condition and comforts for herself before giving up any chance of her baby being deprived.
It is not too hard to see the parallel between a good momma cow and a good momma momma. Whether you are the momma cow or the daddy bull, you have seen how an investment of time, energy, and resources properly placed in the nurture and rearing of the baby calves return impressive dividends.
The impact of a good momma is seen not only through the lifetime of her calf but through generations to come. The ripple effect of her influence is felt throughout the whole herd as neighbor helps neighbor.
So what does this mean for being a better mom?
Like a good cow momma, we want to protect our kids from all of life’s obstacles. The critical part is teaching them while they are young and then giving them the opportunity to decide for themselves, learning to fail as we’ve talked about before.
You may not see it today or the next day or even next year but the sacrifices you make to be a good mom to your child now, will show one day. Although you get frustrated by having to repeat yourself several to even one hundred times on a certain topic, your child will remember it when he needs it.
Your family needs you and while you may not feel like you are perfect like your neighbor down the road, you are perfect for your family.
In order to help your children, you need to help yourself first. Take some time now and again to recharge your batteries. You’ll be surprised at how much even an hour away will help you feel like you can conquer anything.
So no matter where you are on your motherhood journey, know you are enough. No mother is perfect but as long as you keep trying, keep going forward and show the love you have for your husband and children, you are changing the future, one person at a time.
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