Family farming

To the Farm Momma Doing it All

I belong to a group on Facebook for women in agriculture. I often see posts or questions pertaining to children on the farm – how do you keep them occupied while doing chores? Do you baby wear? What carrier do I get? What creative ways do you have for strapping them in a tractor?

Lastly, how do you still make sure you are giving your child your most precious asset, time?

I have been struggling with figuring out this new role on the farm. Am I farm mom? A Farm wife? Am I farmer? Am I a full-time employee? Am I a student in agriculture? Am I a mom? Am I a wife?

Needless to say, I am all of those things in one form or another, and finding the balance among it all has been a tricky one. I have been having a hard time accepting that I am in a new season of my life, and as such, a season of my role on the farm. Things are more difficult (but fun!) when you throw a kid in the mix.

Last fall, Harper spent a lot of hours in the car seat in the tractor with Dad. I had taken on a second job because we had bills that needed to be paid, which meant Dad had to step-up his game and besides working full-time, farming, and being a Dad without Mom while she worked 2 jobs was part of that. He did beautifully. We only lost 1 toy and 1 changing pad, and had one feeding mishap in the 2 month harvest season. No tears over any of that.

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

This spring was not as easy. Especially with livestock chores. Packing up a kid in a car seat, to move her to a stroller for chores, to pop her back in the car seat to go back to where we were currently living since we weren’t at the farm full-time yet, was an interesting predicament. I quickly realized that I can’t just hop in a tractor anymore or  run a supper out to the field when bedtime is at 7. I felt a little isolated. A little disorganized, and out of sorts with my “normal.”

This fall, I chose not to pick up my normal second job. Could we use the income, oh most definitely yes. It seems like every other day something goes wrong with this renovation…not having a working air conditioner and a softener we are pretty sure just kicked the bucket a few days ago. Some projects are on the back burner…that new garage roof is going to have to wait another year. Strapping Harper into a tractor is a little different as an almost 1 ½ year old. I won’t be as easy for Mark to just take her a long if I had to work, and he is also traveling for his full-time job on top of it. I chose to focus on taking care of my family this fall. It may mean I get to run more meals out to the field, or it may not, if Harper has an early childhood class instead. It means I probably won’t be spending much time in the tractor, but instead attending Halloween parties, feeding the pig and chickens at home, and selling honey. Will I still strap her in her Tula for some tractor driving? Most definitely!  However, I am also recognizing that she’s little, and a mover, and hours in the tractor won’t last as long as they used to. A second carseat that was a little easier to remove and transfer in vehicles was purchased in preparation for picking people up, transferring equipment, etc.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

It is strange, being in this new season of my life. It is strange trying to figure out my role as a mom, a wife, a farmer, a business owner, and so much more. But I also know these days won’t last forever. Before I know it, she’ll be learning to drive the tractor herself, feeding the livestock herself…these days are precious. I don’t want to take this time for granted.

So mommas struggling to do it all on the farm, here’s what I’m saying…Go easy on yourself. You are doing SO MUCH.  

I once got told that the most important job you can do on the farm is to raise the next generation. What an undertaking we have.

It can be really hard some days. When your baby is crying, and somehow you are still supposed to do laundry, feed yourself and your husband and the dog, write out checks for seed and fertilizer, and schedule the veterinarian’s next visit.

It can be really hard. But mommas, it is so worth it when you see those little munchkins checking fields with their daddy or riding next to you in the tractor or showing their first calf. You are not alone in your struggles, your feelings, your excitement, your celebrations, or the long, exhausting days. We are a strong group of women, raising the next generation. What an undertaking it is.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

-Sara

From little on we’ve been instilled with farming values. These values include taking care of our animals. Pictured is Mark with one of his 4-H rabbits, and me with one of my 4-H lambs. We were both taught responsibility, compassion, the value of life, and how every creature serves a purpose on the farm. 

Keep Families Farming

How many of you have heard about the new child labor law regulations regarding family farms? 

If you haven’t please go visit this website HERE

I cannot stress enough how utterly wrong these proposed regulations are. If they would get passed, Derek, Mark’s cousin who has been helping Hewitt Farms since he was 13 would no longer be able to help drive tractor or help work on equipment or anything of the sort. His work on the farm has been a learning experience for him about responsibility, safety and education. The money he earned, help him purchase his 1st vehicle when he turned 16 last year. Its okay for him to drive a huge truck according to state law, but not a tractor according to these new regulations. 

My niece, who is 6, wouldn’t be able to help feed our chickens or rabbit. She loves our silkies, whom she has named- Ruby, Glitter and Lola. Waffle, our rabbit, who gets shown in 4-H, would no longer be able to get shown and my niece wouldn’t be able to help with her. 

I was able to raise 5 cattle from baby on while I was in high school, and use the money for college. It taught me responsibility, the value of life and what it meant to be involved in something bigger than me. If these regulations go into action, I would have never been able to do that. 

4-H and FFA would cease to exist as the kids showing these animals would no longer be able to do so. Now think about that the next time you go to visit your county fair! No animals! 

Any equine facilities that you child may take riding lessons at and then help untack her horse or give her oats- nope, not happening! 

I urge you to visit that website or their Facebook page to see what you can do to help! Post it on your Facebook, send a letter to your newspaper…ANYTHING! 

Just realize that if these regulations go into action they will affect EVERYONE and not for the better!