Updated: Feb 23
I am frequently asked how I manage a farm, homeschool our youngest son and babysit two of our four grandchildren (ages 2 and 4). While I'm sure there is much room for constant adjusting and improving, one aspect that helps me is relaxing. I have a schedule that I use as a tentative "daily planner" but I take a deep breath and relax as I remind myself, as needed throughout any given day, that there is no reason to feel rushed because I can shift my priorities around as needed and get to each task eventually. I love what I do and I want to keep on loving it. To protect my enjoyment of life, I will not cave to the pressure of "hurry up and move on" out of some kind of need to check off each task on a list. I tend to think of "dairy farmers" as a group of people who rise with the sun and accomplish farm chores before most people have had their first cup of coffee. I am indeed a dairy farmer, but I most certainly am not an early riser! While I thoroughly enjoy the farm life, the 24/7 "on call" lifestyle of being fully committed to your herd, I also understand that family cannot be left "taking the backseat" in my priorities. What this means to me is that when our daughter brings the grandkids over in the mornings, I don't want to be so distracted by responsibilities calling to me from the barn that I miss out on morning snuggles and breakfast with grand babies. It means that since our son's education is so important to me that I have taken on the sole responsibility for teaching him, that I want to get his day started off right with lessons ready to go. Likewise, since dairy goats are milked every 12 hours, it means that I do not want to be outside accomplishing farm chores in the evening when my husband is arriving home from work. Fortunately, I have always been a night owl! The fact that my husband is not a night owl makes this a pretty easy solution! I usually enjoy my cup of coffee with a morning Bible study while waiting for the grandkids to arrive. As they are settled in and my husband leaves for work, I get our son's lessons lined up and some work ready for him. We enjoy breakfast and a little time together before I head out for milking chores. Our son farms with me, so we tag-team up a bit on the chores. I do the milking and he refills hay and water...There's so much muscle and work to farm chores that I honestly don't know some days whether this is P.E. class or Science class! The rest of the day rolls on....teaching subjects, playing, housework, lunch....dinner....you get the picture! Every aspect of this day may take an unexpected turn if a goat decides it is kidding time! By the end of the day, I'll just continue on with whatever groove the day has brought. We will eat dinner, we will visit...or I'll do laundry or clean the kitchen or whatever. By the end of the night, usually after my husband is asleep, I will slip out for my "night shift" on the farm. I actually really enjoy my peaceful late nights with the goats, chickens and barn cats! Our dog, Bob, does too! Each time I leave the house and slip into my farm boots, Bob is right at my heels heading outside for our adventures! What works for other farmers might not work for me and what works for me might not be a good fit for you. Whatever your goals may be, I would encourage you to frequently take a deep breath and relax a bit. If you can labor through whatever your tasks may be, in a relaxed fashion, you may discover an abundance of enjoyment along the way.