Farming Families – Home or Hotel?

Is your house a home or a hotel?

(How’s that for starting off slow and easy?)

I mean it.  Think about it for a minute.

In my former life as a corporate trainer, I traveled at least once a month training in cities across the country.  Any time frame from 2 days to three weeks.  Any where from Salt Lake City to Houston to Pittsburgh.  I’ve lived in my share of hotels and enjoyed my travel per diem allowance for wonderful meals.

The hotel life is impersonal.  I came in, dropped my bags, slept, took a shower and left again.  And someone cleaned it all while I was gone.  I never saw them or knew their name.

So many families are running in different directions all day.  They are barely home.  When they do arrive, they drop their bags, grab a snack, go to bed and leave again.  Do you have conversation in your home?  (Talking about the next day’s schedule doesn’t count.)  Do you play games there?  Do you read there?  Do you know who cleans it?

When I ask this question to groups I speak to about life management, they ask “What do I do to change this?”.

First, stop.  Take a breath.  Get a pencil and a paper and start writing down everything you are doing.  Then start crossing things off.  My son is four years old.  We have friends who also have a four year old.  Their child, at age four, is in four different activities.  FOUR!  My job description is “mother”, it is not “chauffer”.  And that flies in the face of the legendary “soccer mom” mystique.  Soccer moms drive their vans or SUVs to all the activities and run kids from this to that and back again.

Where, in all that running around, is family time?  Where is down-time?  Where is deep-breathing?  Those are the things the people I speak to want most.  But they fill their schedules with what they think they need to do, rather than what they really want.

Farm families are not immune to this phenomenon.  In fact, the situation is often worse because they have to drive in to town and back again.  “Oh but Annie, my kids need to be around other kids so they can learn to {insert personal skill here}.”  Let me clue you in to a little secret:  If you and your kids can get along with your family, they can get along with anyone.  ANYONE.  Or I hear, “But Annie, I want my kids to have all the opportunities of other kids.”  Do you know how many parents tell me that they wish they could raise their kids on a farm like mine?  We can only give our kids what we are capable of giving.  You don’t have to be like other families.  You don’t have to do what other families are doing.  That realization will give you a tremendous amount of freedom.

If you are tired of running, if your schedule is too full, if your house is more hotel than home…stop.  You won’t regret the extra time spent as a family.  You won’t regret playing a board game on the living room floor.  You won’t regret lingering around the kitchen table after a family meal.

I promise.

Day 14 Homework:  How can you make your house more home and less hotel?