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.
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.
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.