Take the Time

Time. People. These are things we all take for granted. In an instant it can all be gone. Accidents, illness, lack of judgement. All these things can be taken away.

I’ve had a sad realization lately perusing some agricultural groups I’m in. We simply ignore time.

“I can’t I have cows to milk.”
“No picnic for me I have a farm.”
“He spent our whole anniversary in the field.”
“What’s one dance recital, we have hay to make.”

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Important people in our lives can easily be pushed aside with the notion that they’ll always be there. They understand.

Holidays, life milestones, precious time with family, often overlooked.

We need to slow down.

I am well aware there’s a time things have to be done in. I grew up on a dairy farm. I’m raising my children on a dairy farm.

I realize every event won’t be attended. Every anniversary won’t be pomp and fanfare.

Here’s the thing. Let people know they’re appreciated. That they mean something to you. It’s as simple as a text or a phone call. Attend the dance recital or bring some coleslaw when you actually attend the picnic.

We are a busy people. Life gets crazy and hectic. But please, don’t assume you always have time to spend with the people that love you.

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The Strength of a Dairy Mom

Being a mom is hard enough. Being a mom living on a dairy farm throws in a whole new set of twists and turns.

I recently asked a group of fellow dairy mothers what they think some of their biggest challenges and rewards are.

Take a minute to glimpse in to the lives of these amazing women!

Erin Michels
Mother of 3 (ages 10, 7 and 3)
Milking 120 cows in Illinois
“When the laundry is piled high and all I have is paper plates to serve our made-from-a-box dinner on, I think about how we live the most blessed life. I’m a dairy mom and a dairy wife. We live the dairy life every single day!”

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Katie Harris
Mother of 3
Milking 350 cows in Washington
“Most challenging is trying to find time! Time for kids, housework, farm work, sports and then maybe some sleep?”
“Most rewarding is definitely the life style. I wouldn’t trade this for anything no matter how crazy it can get!”

Char Martin
Mother of 2 boys
Milking 74 cows in Ontario
“Most challenging is finding a happy balance juggling dairy life, marriage, kids, meals, household chores, play and oh yea..sleep!”
“Most rewarding is our family working and playing together! Every day is teamwork.”

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Lisa Shearer-Yoho
Mother of 2
Employee on a 250 dairy farm in Ohio
“I’m a single mom of 2 working on a 250 cow dairy farm. We also have an assortment of animals at our house. My daughter is 18 and graduates with FFA honors in May. My son is 7 and in all the sports he can be in! I juggle working 3rd shift 6 nights a week along with baseball, karate, basketball, bowling and FFA by myself. Honestly I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”

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Amanda Williams
Mom to 1 (13 months)
Milking 50 cows in Wisconsin
“I’m fairly new to being a mom and farming full time. My little guy is 13 months old. I never went back to my day job, starting the transition process on my grandparents farm. My husband works off the farm and most days it’s just me and Wade (son) by ourselves. Most challenging for me is balancing work between the barn and the house. Also newborn feeding, nursing, pumping while doing the field work last spring!”
“Most rewarding is not having to send Wade to daycare and he is growing up in the life I love! His love for animals and tractors is plain to see.”

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Corrine Banker
“My house is my biggest challenge. When the kids were younger it was a lot easier. Even though I worked off the farm, I wasn’t really “needed” on the farm or expected unless it was crunch time. It was easier to keep my house clean! Now the kids are gone and the dogs have free access to the house this time of the year.”
“I’m also full time on the farm now. We are building another another milking cow barn, making improvements to a heifer barn and planting spring crops. My house is the lowest of low priorities, not to mention I hate cleaning!”
Corrine’s Mother’s Day present to herself:
“I finally broke down and hired someone to help me keep the house clean (she comes the first time Monday!) I told her my problems, hesitations. I also told her I don’t want a spotless house, just not an embarrassing one! She wants me to make a priority list of what I want most importantly and as we get more cleaned up she will do deep cleaning. I am SO EXCITED!”

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Sarah Brandt
Mom of 3 (ages 4, 2 and 6 months)
Milking 60 cows in Iowa
“My barn is cleaner than my house and we eat way more McDonald’s than we should. But I would say my biggest challenge is making more time on a regular basis for my daughter who doesn’t like the farm. She tells me she’s not going to be a farmer or milk cows like me.”
“My most rewarding part is accepting and tackling all the challenges of being a farm mom.”

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Amie Sprinkle
Mom of 9 (ages 1-17)
Milking 90 cows with her parents in Ohio in addition to raising produce and processing poultry
“My biggest challenge is not getting overwhelmed. So many fires to put out! I just try to take care of the hottest ones first. The work is without end. It’s easy to get down about it when I think too much instead of just pushing ahead.”
“My biggest reward is watching my children turn into confident, capable people. I don’t think my kids will continue to farm as adults, but their time here now is preparing hen for life.”

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Eline Van Der Veen
Mom of 3 (ages 6, 4 and 11 months)
“My biggest challenge is my house. It’s always a huge mess and can be incredibly embarrassing! I swear our barn is cleaner. The kiddos drag in mud, sand, wood chips, cow hair, rocks and all kinds of other things that don’t belong in a house!”
“My greatest reward is watching my kids grow up vs sending them to daycare and not seeing them. My heart melts when I see them interact with the animals and seeing how much they love them! I love when my 11 month old gets excited seeing cow. Even if it’s only in a picture book.”

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These women and many others leading the hectic life in dairy are incredible. Facing life’s challenges head on, while still finding this crazy life rewarding.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing women reading this today! Bless us as the women we currently are, bless the women who helped shape us and bless the little women we are raising to be the next generation of strong dairy women. ❤️