Jackie Crawford is winning while balancing life on the road with a toddler.

When my money was on the line in a high-pressure situation, I’ve always been able to have confidence in the fact that I have prepared myself to the best of my abilities. I’d breathe deep to be sure my heart wasn’t racing, and I’d be able to keep from getting nerved-up when I was backing into the box.

[Read: 5 Tips for Consistency in Leaving the Box with Jackie Crawford]

But now motherhood has changed how prepared I am for the roping before I get there. I don’t have all the runs in the practice pen I once did from which to source my confidence because I lose at least two to three hours a day of practice to my son, Creed, who is 1 ½. I have had to practice smarter, not harder.

Without the rope being in my hand as much, I needed to get the feel back. I’ve increased my dummy roping a ton if I can’t be horseback. At least I’m having my rope in my hand, staying sharp. I try to find things I can do faster—like around the world dummy drills. 

[Read: Maximizing Dummy Practice with Charly Crawford]

This is what I do for a living, so I have had to refigure my days. I’m still in the process of figuring out how to get more accomplished in the time that I have with the help that I have. I have to make enough money to pay someone to help me so I can ride that same amount of horses I used to. I have to have a hand, at least that saves me that time, and I’m still working on making that a cost-efficient proposition.

When it comes to going to the roping, I’ve always been late. It’s not because I’m lazy, but because I have zero time-management skills. I hate waiting to rope, so I hate being early. But I do have to try to plan a little bit more in advance these days. I need to line up who will be there or who I will take with me to take care of Creed. My step-daughter, Cadence, is a great help when she can go. I have to make extra money if I need to take someone to babysit. I have to be sure I can have time to warm up and place my kid somewhere. I don’t want to take something that will buck me off, because I might not get a lot of time to warm them up. I have to spend the time to pack, because you can’t get to a roping and not have diapers and not have snacks. But I have great people who are always willing to help and that makes a huge difference.

[Read: Adapt and Change Your Swing with Jackie Crawford]

Now, I can be backing into the box literally hearing my son screaming and throwing a fit for whoever is watching him. I have to try to push that out of my mind, though, and focus on the fact that what I’m about to do will only take a few seconds. This is what I need to do to provide my part for him, and I know I’m not going to stop the roping to go to him, anyway. So I have to focus, no matter what he’s doing, just for those few seconds. 

[Read: Professional Cowgirl: Jackie Crawford]

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