This post could also be titled “How to farm with a toddler without losing yo’ mind.”
I was pretty “successful” before becoming a farm at home mom. I worked in hospital management and juggled multiple (oh so many) projects at a time. I stayed on top of it, and I was a person who liked to get things done.
Fast forward to motherhood. There have been times as a mother where I felt like a hamster in one of those wheels, working really hard and getting nowhere. It’s a hard feeling for a doer, a finisher. I’ve said to myself more than once that “I can’t get anything done.”
I think recently I’ve started to realize that I had a lot to learn from this change and from my toddler. Although these lessons are specific to us and being here at the farm, maybe there are things to which anyone can relate.
1. Redefine success
So what if your garden has some weeds (or lots) and that fairy garden from Pinterest never materialized this summer? Did you have fun today? Are all the animals well treated and alive? Did you make memories? Did you keep your child from eating goat poop? SUCCESS MAMA! You did it!
2. Embrace routine but know when to just roll with it
Having a routine keeps you from forgetting to feed someone (like yourself). It also makes it more obvious to your toddler what you’re trying to do. Sometimes it’s inevitable that things get shaken up a bit. Did your toddler open the gate and let out the goats? You just got yourself a wild, fun game of chase. Goat water just became a swimming pool? Grab your iPhone. Be in the moment.
3. Slow down and enjoy it
In one of my old jobs I had the nickname “Rabbit” with good reason. You have no idea how difficult this is for me. I’ve had to learn to match my pace with my daughter’s. You know what? It makes things much more enjoyable, and I can take in a lot more by increasing the being and lessening the doing. Whenever I become attached to doing things quickly, my daughter is there to remind me of this lesson.
4. It’s just a (tomato, head of lettuce, cake, flower, insert item here)
In her explorations and adventures, Sylvie can get pretty physical with things in which I’ve put work into. She might grab unripened tomatoes off the vine, pull the heads off of the hydrangea bush, or pull out a newly planted squash plant. That’s how she learns and relates to those things, and after she tastes that green tomato, it probably won’t happen again. Don’t be so attached to what you consider “yours” that you hinder exploration. Just don’t let anyone eat the rhubarb leaves, and you’re all good.
5. Save your “Stop!” and “No!” for when it matters
There are some absolutes such as “No! Don’t taste the teat wash!” (disgusting right?) “Stop! Don’t run down the driveway into the road.” Save those words for when you need them to have an impact, and let them mean business. The rest of the time say what you’d like done instead. ”Please be gentle with kitty.” ”Please get down from the milking stand and take your head out of there.” (true story.)
I’m still in the midst of learning these things, so there are still times of frustration and discouragement. I’m not out here digging in the dirt chanting “Om” and finding Nirvana as my toddler stomps my Basil. I am learning though, and that feels like the right path (even if it is covered with annihilated herbs.)