{Balancing Farm, Family + Pursuits}

Balancing farm, family, and personal pursuits is a puzzle at times. Trying to get all these separate and individual pieces fitting together in just the right way so they form a working picture can be a challenge. There are definitely times where our kids don’t feel like being a part of things or helping out. There are times when Denis or I are tired and just need a break. There are times when things go sideways and not the way we’d counted on.

Yet, in all of that, we have found some strategies that go a long way to making it all work!

Here’s what we have learned:

#1- Establish rhythms.

We have found having daily (and weekly) rhythms are super helpful in keeping things calm and running smoothly for everyone. Having regular daily times for chores, meals, after-school snack, homework etc. means everyone is being taken care of and things are always moving forward. Having weekly rhythms— like work days, Friday family nights, Sunday morning big breakfasts— also help to keep us all keen and connected because they give us regular things to look forward to.

Rhythms let everyone in the family know what the plan is, what is expected, and what they can count on. It keeps us all in sync.

#2- Check in. Pay attention.

We have also learned that checking in with each other and being attuned is vital. Just because things have been working great for everyone for the past few months, doesn’t mean drilling forward in the same way for the next season of life is going to work. Paying attention to how each of us is doing, and checking in with where the other is at, is an important part of doing life together and supporting each other.

We often notice during our busy summer season that at some point all the busyness gets to be too much. Maybe the kids will start nitpicking at each other, meltdowns start happening, or a lot more arguments. That’s our cue to regroup and reconnect— bring in more rest or more play again, and talk more one-on-one. Denis and I have learned to pay attention to these signals, and use them as our cue to bring more connecting and downtime back into the mix.

#3- Know your priorities.

At the end of the day, know what matters most to you and keep bringing everything back to that. For us, it’s our little family and the kids that tops the list. If something works great for the farm, or for one of us personally, but is a strain on the kids— it’s got to be re-worked. If our own pursuits costs us their well-being, then it’s not worth it.

Sometimes that means laying something you love down for a season, but sometimes it just means re-working it so that it’s not conflicting with what matters the very most. Whatever it is, do what you have to to keep those priorities aligned.

#4- Choose Flexibility.

Life, relationships, and pursuits rarely go exactly as planned. Just because something worked well yesterday, doesn’t mean it will work well tomorrow. Things change and life throws curveballs at you. So be willing to pivot or adapt when something stops working or when you see a red flag arise. Use those creative problem solving skills and avoid getting stuck in the trenches of ‘how you think things should be’ or ‘how we’ve always done it’.

Finding that balance with work, kiddos, and personal pursuits can be a legit challenge sometimes. And there’s no idyllic formula for making it all work perfectly. Rather work out your priorities, then choose to be intentional, pay attention, and re-work things whenever something needs a shift or improvement.

And don’t forget to give yourself so much grace for all the times you don’t get it right! Heaven knows we all fall short a lot. Just keep getting back up and trying again. You got this!