Kristen Kellison Surles- #AgMoms
We're celebrating the moms in agriculture.
We interviewed 10 #AGMOMS. Each were asked 5 questions. Our goal? To inspire long-time mothers, new mothers, and aspiring mothers who feel overwhelmed, over worked, or moms who just need a little encouragement.
Mom #9: Kristen Kellison Surles
You are a young mother of two, you and your husband own a feed store, and you raise cattle. How do you find balance?
That’s a GREAT question. I would say lots of prayers and teamwork. We work well together as a couple and as a family. The kids are great at teamwork too. Owen is always willing to jump in and help out big sister when she needs him. Lynnlee will help with the cattle and dogs when I have to take Owen to baseball. Its usually a revolving door of obstacles so being able to adjust and adapt quickly helps us too. I will say that sometimes balance is hard for us but it is something that we are always working towards. We always start our week off together as a family in church. I will say that is the best way to begin a week with your heart and mind in the right place.
What are some ways you have taught your children about agriculture?
We have always had the kids help us work cattle with us since they were very small. In fact, I would strap Lynnlee’s carseat in the ranger and she would go with me to check cattle. We are always trying to explain what we are doing to the kids while we are doing it. The feed mill has been a great way to teach Lynnlee and Owen about nutrition and also agronomy. Owen has learned so much about mechanics. He helps Jason work on equipment at the feed mill and also the house. Since we have started showing cattle it has been fun to watch them learn so much. They both enjoy learning what we are feeding, why we are feeding a certain way, when do we breed them, and who do we breed them too.
What are some of your favorite memories with your kids in the show barn, at a show, in the pasture, etc.
I have so many it is hard to narrow them down. We went to a small stockshow in Cameron last November. We brought both of Lynnlee’s Charolais Heifers to the show and they were the only two there. We didn’t know any other kids in the barn and I needed another showman. Owen was 6 at the time and had only shown in a few peewee showmanships. He was very excited that he got to step in and help his sister show her heifers in a real show. He showed Jolene the big heavy bred Charolais heifer. Most 6 year olds would have been scared but not my Owen. He did a wonderful job and one judge even called him by name on the mic, shook his hand, and gave him fist bumps as he walked out of the ring. Jolene actually acted better for him than she ever did his big sister. She was proud of him she let him keep everything he won in the ring that day because she said he deserved it. Jason and I were very proud. It taught us that he is always watching and always listening. Even though he had only shown in a few peewee classes he knew what he was suppose to be doing. The one that touched my heart the most happened this year during our trip to Houston. I do all of the hauling to majors. I was tired and was debating on even making the trip to Houston. Lynnlee kept pushing me to go. She had never been to Houston nor had she sat in line all night waiting to get in the barn. I decided being tired was not an excuse. She had worked too hard this year to skip it. So we decided to go. It was a whirlwind trip and we were running on absolute zero sleep. She had not complained about being tired at all. I know she was exhausted but was just so happy to just be there. At 5 am on our way to the barn she gets very teary eyed and said “mom, thank you for not skipping out on Houston. It doesn’t matter how I place today I have had the best time with you.” She placed very well and it was a great time with lots of mom and daughter bonding. This will always be a mom win for me.
What do you think y’all would be doing if you weren't involved in agriculture?
I have no idea. I would probably have a lot less wrinkles, more money, lots more time. But I can guarantee you that wouldn’t be having as much fun as are now.
Can you share some advice for #AgMoms who balance raising kids, raising cattle, and running a business?
I would say try to have a schedule but don’t get frustrated when you have to throw the schedule out of the window. Try to find time to relax and reset even if its just for a few minutes. Take time to enjoy your kids no matter where you are they will be gone and grown before we know it. Make sure to make time with your spouse. Whether it’s a date night or just sitting and talking after the kids are in bed. That has really helped us. We try to always enjoy each other and enjoy our kids no matter where we are or what we are doing. But just as important take time for yourself. Sometimes as a woman when you wear many hats you tend to give everyone everything you have and don’t do take time for yourself. I struggled with this for years but I have learned sometimes when I am tired and it’s been a rough week it is better for me to take a few minutes to myself, or go have lunch with my girlfriends to reset. Because lets be honest when mom is happy she can usually make everyone else happy also.
Stay tuned for our last #AgMom interview tomorrow!