“Well, I love you 100 and I love bunny 16”
Because when my 4 year old son says he loves his bunny, a tiny bit of me remembers the crazy screaming banshee woman from 20 minutes ago and assumes, clearly, he loves his bunny more than me. Thankfully when I asked him who he loves more I was reassured with a kiss on the cheek and his 100 vs. 16 ratio that I am still his favorite.
Being a working mom, a stay at home mom, it’s all hard. For me, being a farm mom is a guilt trip roller coaster ride. I feel the unspoken pressure to keep my littles under my wing as we move cattle, haul bales, and milk cows. I feel that it is my job, to give them the farm life work ethic by working beside them; to show them we all work together until the job is done. There’s a pressure to it, to live up to the idea of how farm kids were raised, to remind generations removed from agriculture that this life is THE BEST way to raise kids.
At their current ages, the kids rarely get asked to help with milking chores; they DO understand that they will get paid for the amount of work they do though. This weekend my daughter’s decided to milk with me, their alarm literally went off before mine and they were ready to go before I could see straight. Here is what I felt during 6:00am milking chores:
Roughly 30 seconds of joy that they were choosing the cows over television.
5 minutes getting into a rhythm of who sprays the cows, who dries the cows, and who dips the cows.
10 minutes convincing my 9 year old she’s not tall enough to bring cows in from the holding pen.
5 minutes where one daughter pouted on a bucket, in the middle of the parlor, because the other daughter sprayed cows when she should have been pulling milker’s off.
4 minutes noticing my husband was M.I.A. and calling him to demand he help me.
2 minutes of amazing parlor flow with everyone doing their jobs. Feeling totally blessed.
10 minutes hearing how boring and cold the job is and can we help again tomorrow morning. Anyone else confused by that?
Cumulatively about 30 minutes of mom frustration that they didn’t choose sitting on the couch watching television because having to keep an eye on them and the cows was utterly exhausting.
*And then it was time to clean up*
I know the magic isn’t in the actual details, it’s in looking back on the moment and realizing I’m helping them understand hard work. But for the last few years the barn has been MY TIME. Escaping to the barn is how I feel like I’m contributing to our business (because I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a full time stay at home mom early on). In the quiet of the barn I am able to recharge my energy. Just me and the pulsing of the milker’s and my cows. Just me doing a job without listening to others argue and whine, and having to feel like the bad guy. Just me I guess, feeling useful. Trying to work with the kids is hard and their safety and well being takes priority, my full focus isn’t on my job. And that is, bottom line, how I have to treat the farm — it’s MY job.
I guess I’m here to show other farm mom’s I struggle too, having my littles right under my feet while I’m working is exhausting. And I think we need to give ourselves a little credit for this farm life! Our children see us take risks, trust in God, and celebrate the end of a good day. Our children also see us at our most vulnerable, and see that we are not prefect humans. What I know farmers are teaching their children is that they are strong, they are capable, and that it doesn’t matter what life throws at us WE CAN find a way. How do you work with your crew of littles? Do you live for daycare days like i sometimes do? I don’t know that any of us have it figured out but I do know we can learn from each other. Xo, Nicole