The farm demands a lot of time. This is something many family farms know and while some have come to find a balance, new challenges to the farm and the family life are always on the horizon. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers these tips to help you find a balance between the family and the farm.
1Talk and listen
You’ve heard it time and time again — communication is key — but are you actually participating in a family conversation. Listening to other family members concerns is just as important as sharing your own. It may be necessary to carve out family meeting times to give each member a chance to express their concerns and offer solutions. Even in an informal setting, it is important to listen.
2Find family time
Between farm chores, work off of the farm, school and after-school activities; the to-do list is endless. It is important to carve out family time whether it is just a couple hours around the dinner table sharing stories about your day or planning a family game night or movie night once or twice a week.
Go on an all day (or afternoon) excursion to the local park, go out to dinner or a movie, or visit with another farm family. However you plan it, just make sure family meetings and family time are treated separately.
3The big picture
Your family and your farm are both at home, which is most likely the reason you started the family farm in the first place. In times of personal or farm crisis, your focus is likely on finding a solution or strategy to address the problem. At the same time, it’s important to recognize this crisis is just a snapshot within the lifespan of your farm and family. It may be tough, but the crisis will pass, and your perspective and the circumstances will change.
Find peace at home
While many farm families think the answer to finding peace is to get away from the farm it’s not always easy to escape, and you can’t always get away when you need it. The key is to find peace and balance within your own home.
(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)
More Farming 101 columns:
- 4 tips for communicating on the family farm
- 4 tips for firing an employee
- 6 tips for keeping good farm help
- 4 tips for recruiting farm labor
- 5 general farm labor laws
- 4 tips for employing minors
- 4 tips for PTO safety
- 5 things young farmers should know about finances
- The farm balance sheet
- 5 items for your farm’s cash flow statement
- Personal and business records: Keep them separate
- What to include in your farm business plan
- How to approach a lender: Tips for getting a farm loan
- How to use microloans to get your farm started
- Saving for the future: 6 tips for young farmers
- How to create a farm safety kit
- 5 tips for child safety on the farm
- 4 tips for transporting livestock
- 5 ways to better understand tractor stability
- 6 farm equipment hacks
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