September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
With so many jobs to get done around the farm, why does it seem the kids turn a blind eye and walk away from everything? A farm mom was saying her husband couldn't understand why their kids couldn't see all the things that needed to get done. The jobs are so obvious. Why can't the kids see them? We have the same discussion at our farm too. As moms we see both sides. The kids lack the same experiences and understanding to look at something and know it is a job they can do. They don't recognize the warning flags of when something needs to get done. Of course when they see an open gate or a down electrical fence, they should know enough to take care of those jobs without being told.
On the other hand, dads see everything and keep adding new jobs to their mental check list. Note it is a mental list, not written and only verbalized after they blow a gasket, overwhelmed by the weight of being solely responsible for getting everything done. I'm sure it feels like they are being buried alive by the number of jobs that need their attention. As one job is checked off the list, it seems three more are added. Once they announce what needs to get done, it is like the blinds have been lifted and everyone sees the obvious. We can now get to work, and the jobs can be checked off the list as completed.
Even when jobs are completed and removed from the list, it can still feel like you got nothing done today because they weren't the jobs at the top of the list when you started out that morning. Once again, no one ever saw an actual list of jobs on the agenda for the day, so we're still working in the dark and of course several unforeseen events popped up to jumble the list. I have learned keep my own job lists flexible, so I can help at the drop of a hat whenever extra hands are needed. I try to ask Mark every morning what is on his list to get done for the day. I do this for a couple of reasons. One is to figure out what he needs me to help with. The other is so I can arrange my job list for the day.
I am constantly shuffling my job list around to fit within the day or even fit in the moment. I prioritize what is most important to accomplish and then I throw the list away when I hear Mark stick his head in the door and ask if I can help him with a project. It's ok. Most of my stuff can wait like laundry, mowing the yard, picking strawberries, weeding the garden. I really don't want to start those jobs anyway. I'll fit them in later. His list on the other hand is usually something that needs to be done for operation of the farm and is limited to shop/ parts counter hours or sandwiched in between morning and evening chores or rain clouds.
As the kids have gotten older, they are also creating their own lists of things they want to get done in a day. They have their intern job lists, fun lists and finally farm list in that order of priority. The kids have adapted both Mark's and my styles of creating and implementing job lists. They usually keep a mental list to themselves and are ready to scuttle it on a moment's notice when extra help is needed somewhere else.
After we finished sharing our similar experiences, the other farm mom and I came to the same conclusion. We need to help our husbands voice or even write down a list of jobs anyone can do, which they want checked off of their list. Then we need to help our children see these jobs and encourage them to step up and take them on. Of course it would be prudent if they first asked their dads if it was ok, just in case something else came up. Then the guys need to step back and let the kids tackle the jobs they see, even if it is not in the order they had planned for the day.
One thing is for sure. As long as there are cattle, crops and kids to care for, the job list will never be completely wiped clean. Something will always come up that needs to be done. Consider it job security.[[In-content Ad]]
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