Farm Life: Balancing Farm Work and Family Life

By Rebekah Gustafson 

Balancing home life and work life is a challenge for every family, but it can be especially hard for farm families. Farming is a 24/7 job. We don’t punch a clock at 5 and head to the golf course. When a cow is calving at 3 a.m., we have to be there.

As all farmers know, there’s seldom down time on the farm. Often, things need to be done at a moment’s notice and now rather than later. This makes planning difficult. Like ours, many farm families have day jobs and spend their nights and weekends doing farm work. With constant farm chores, it can be a struggle to carve out family time.

As I sit here on the beach watching our girls swim in the lake, my husband is spreading fertilizer on the crops. Normally, I would be baling hay right now, but thanks to rain earlier this week, we had to put that on hold. I’m taking advantage of this little extra fun time with the girls, and this is exactly how we find our balance between work and family time. We find small moments like these and enjoy them.

Farm families often have high expectations for their children. For example, our girls know that as soon as we get home they have chores to do and animals to feed.  These responsibilities are teaching them valuable life lessons and a strong work ethic, but we also know that children need time to relax, be kids and have fun.

I don’t have the answer for finding the perfect work/life balance for your family, as we’re trying to determine our own. I do know that I will be taking advantage of every moment I can this summer to have fun with the girls. And we will make time to be a family. After all, being a family is just as important as farming, if not more, to this family. 

About the Author

Rebekah Gustafson spends her days as a mom to three horse-crazy little girls, and as a wife to her husband, Neil, in a small town in northwest Wisconsin, where they were both born and raised on small dairy farms. She shares her passion for agriculture through her blog Cooped Up Creativity, as an administrator for the Ask The Farmers blog, and volun­teering for CommonGround.