Sara Holloway- #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 #7: Sara Holloway
“It’s what we know and what we’re good at and who we are.”
You’re raising two babies, you’re an on-call, mixed animal veterinarian, certified in animal chiropractic, and you and your husband have been very involved in the Texas Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher program. How do you balance your time between family, work and your extra-curricular passions?
First and foremost, we do checks and balances to make sure we are focusing our time and attention towards the kids and not getting spread too thin. I am only working part time right now so that I can stay home more and be Mommy, because they’re only little for a short time, but I do find myself seeking out new opportunities within my community, career, and agriculture. I love what I do and don’t have plans to give it up all the way, but the break from full time work has been nice with a growing family. As far as my work, I try to be straight-forward with what I do when I have to leave to answer a call after hours. The kids seem to understand when I tell them that “Mommy has to go work on puppies” or “help a cow have a baby”, or “help a sick horse with a tummy ache”, and they love to come up to the clinic to see the animals. When they are older I’ll let them come help with after hours and maybe help with patients in the clinic. Lots of people think it’s a pain to be on call, but I see it as my duty- if I’m going to take care of my patients and this community, that means serving them even in the middle of the night and on holidays. Last year, I saw the need to offer chiropractic care to my patients, so I completed a 6 month training program and took a certification exam to be able to offer this unique service. As a couple, we look for opportunities to be advocates for agriculture. My husband, Scott, and I served on the YF&R Advisory Committee for 3 years which was an awesome experience. We made so many friends and learned about such a wide variety of agricultural operations all over the state and the country, but most importantly we learned how to stand up for ourselves as agriculturalists and to use our voice to educate the public. That happens best by doing the little things: posting a picture on social media of what you are doing on the farm or striking up a conversation with a friend about the perceived advantages of organic or non-GMO food. It takes just a minute or two and the personal touch that you as a producer (and a mom) can put on this subject is invaluable.
How are you teaching your kids about agriculture?
Our kids are raised around it, so it’s pretty easy just in day to day life to stop and teach them a little at a time. My 3 year old daughter is my animal lover, and my 7 year old son is all about the tractors. We had a dairy and now have beef cattle, so they know where milk and meat come from. We custom harvest hay all summer and they love to “help” in the hayfield with my husband and father-in-law, and all the while they see first-hand the long hours and hard work that goes into production agriculture. “Wind shield time” is great family time! While we don’t have any row crops ourselves, we do have a garden and last year planted a small scale, highly experimental, pumpkin patch, and we talk to them about how farmer’s make and harvest large crops. And through our friendships in Farm Bureau my son has ridden on a cotton combine and toured through cotton gins and he loves it! It sounds cheesy, but our dinner time prayer includes “Thank you for the food and thank you for the farmers who made the food and please help us grow big and strong.” We know that they have friends and classmates that have no clue about ag, so we work hard to educate them so that when the topic comes up in their classroom or with friends, they will be able to pass along what they know and have lived. Also through our county Farm Bureau, Scott has helped with yearly “Farm Day” or “Ag in the Classroom” events. It’s great to have a school system and a county that will get behind ag education.
What are some of your favorite memories with your kids in the barn?
My all-time favorite memories are watching my 2 year old son help his Nana feed dairy calves! He would help pour the milk into the bottles, put on the nipples, “drive” the golf cart out to the hutches, help collect the empty bottles, and then help wash and dry them. He was such a big boy in his cute little rubber boots, just like his daddy! We didn’t milk cows by the time my daughter arrived, but if we did, I imagine she would be down there every day. She loves to help me drive the truck while the guys load square bales and she’s very content to ride in the tractor. She greets every animal with a kiss and a high pitched “come here” and we have to remember all of them, by name, every night in our prayers. Right now we have some Norwegian Dwarf goats at the house and she loves to pick weeds and hand-feed them to the “mommy goat”.
What do you think your family would be doing if you weren’t involved in agriculture?
I asked my husband this question and we can’t come up with an answer. All of future plans and bucket list items and entrepreneurial schemes we have lead back to agriculture: pumpkin patch, artisan cheese shop, creamery, agri-tourism farm, mobile chiropractic practice, sheep and goat operation. It’s what we know and what we’re good at and who we are. You don’t just outgrow or turn away from a lifetime of this lifestyle.
Can you share some advice for #AgMoms who want to challenge and better themselves (personally and professionally) while still keeping their family in order?
That’s such an individual personal thing! Every mom, every family is different and has different needs. I think the best advice I can give is just to take life in seasons- no decision or change has to be permanent. For us, when I made the decision to start working part time, we were in a place where I was working 40-50 hours a week, my husband was working 75-90 hours a week, and we had a 3 year old son that it felt like we never saw. We were doing okay, but we weren’t thriving. It was scary to make that change and I honestly felt like I was selling out on a profession that I love and to which I had dedicated my life. But it finally clicked for me that someday I could go back to working full time, that this was just taking a break and taking care of something else that was more important to me and needed more of my time than I was able to give. For me, having more time with my kids has been the greatest blessing God has given to our family. And He also blessed me with an amazing husband that is willing to work hard and allow us to live this way for a time. Because I was able to slow down, I found other interests, like the opportunities in Farm Bureau or with our church, that I was able to pursue as well. As for professionally, I would say find something you are passionate about and go for it! Keep learning, making yourself better, be innovative! Obtaining certification in Animal Chiropractic is not something that was on my radar two years ago, but it has become an amazing asset to my career. In a way, I re-invented myself at a time where I, quite frankly, was becoming bored of the same old routine. This is something that I am going to have to work hard to fine tune for years to come, and there is still so much I don’t know so I seek out help from mentors, more continuing education opportunities, and as I look to build my own business from it in the future. Again, it’s all about balance, and that’s a different equation for every mom. For me right now, that means focusing the majority of my time and attention to raising my babies, but still laying some groundwork and dreaming about the future and my next season.
Stay tuned for the next #AGMOM interview tomorrow!