I hear myself ask the question of many women in agriculture, “How do you do it?” We are all so busy, at times overwhelmed, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but meanwhile still getting things done and succeeding. So how, truly how do you do it?
As a new mom, a farmer, and generally someone who always volunteers for everything, I am always a bit surprised when someone asks me this question. Because inside most of the time I feel like I am constantly screwing up. Let me set the scene, it’s 6 am on Monday, the house is…well we are all tired. It seems like the last 10 months of life have flown by in some respects and have crawled in others. The nights are still quite restless with our little man. I remember the night at four months old that he slept for 8 hours, my husband and I high fived, we thought we had won the battle. Turns out it was just that, a battle and the war with sleeping through the night has continued. Every night in a way feels like a failure, that might be too strong of word, but it doesn’t feel like success.
All of this meanwhile we are running a farm. I’m the manager, making all decisions from day to day and year to year. Where there are mistakes to be made every single day. There are so many situations that you can’t control, the rain and wind to just name my usual arch enemies. Continuing to blog three times a week (which doesn’t always happen), keep up with friends (who I miss and don’t call enough), hit a meeting or two each week, let’s just say that just writing this all down makes me feel very overwhelmed.
So here is what I have learned and here is what I feel when I get asked, “How do you do it?” You just do, everyday you wake up and realize that today you don’t get a day off. That no matter what you have to get things done, take lots of deep breaths, and then find joy in what you are up to that day. I have found that just smiling at my son when I get home from a long day, makes a lot of things better. I have also realized that if I just take 15 minutes to finish the dishes, it makes a world of difference in my life the next day. Try as hard as I can to not feel guilty for making decisions to do something. Because a decision to do something inevitably is a decision to not do something else, and that isn’t easy. And at the end of the day, no matter how long or tiresome or successful you tell yourself that tomorrow is a new chance to work at it all again.
Living the life that farmers do, where our jobs are also our way of life, is a tough position. So you prioritize, you again take a deep breath and you move forward. My answer then, the short of the answer anyway, is just give yourself a break, work hard and remind yourself that you’re working hard for a good reason. Life is meant to be enjoyed and if you can find that joy in the small everydays of life, you have it figured out. Good luck out there, it isn’t easy, but once you resign to that, it becomes easier. (if that makes any sense at all!) In the end everyone has their battles to be fought everyday, those who are successful though don’t give up, they learn from themselves and from others. They just keep chugging along.