It is fitting that I am sitting down to write this post with a long to-do list at my side, a bored baby to the other side and oatmeal slow-cooking on the stove. I feel like I’ve been chugging along alright since Ava was born. We have fun, I work a little bit here and there, the dog goes on regular walks or hikes, we generally have good home made food, and the house is clean sometimes. However, a few weeks ago I was feeling VERY overwhelmed by things to do, even though it seemed like I had heaps of time and I wasn’t really doing that much. The unfortunate thing about this was that I had many things that I should have been doing, not that I had to do. My solution? (This is a confession, of sorts) Do as close to nothing as possible while watching too many rerun episodes of cooking competition shows… This is not a good solution, and I don’t suggest it. I enjoy bouts of laziness, but it had gone too far.
Luckily, I had a little farm-watching gig lined up for the fourth of July week. It wasn’t a huge time commitment, but it was something that I had to do otherwise crops could die and people who were patiently waiting for fresh cut mesclun mix would go saladless. I spent quite a bit of time at the farm over the week, sometimes ten hours a day; but I didn’t really get that much work done. It turns out that everyone is right, it is hard to get work done with a baby. I find that I’m super lucky to get more than thirty minutes to complete a task. I’ve become a master of task shifting!
Usually, my time at the farm consists of about 1/3 to 1/2 of it dedicated solely to Ava or me things–nursing, changing diapers, playing, eating lunch, etc. The rest of the time I get work done in chunks. If Ava is napping, I can do something that requires a lot of movement in the field–setting up irrigation or sprinklers is good for these times. If I can wear Ava on my back, I do standing things like using standing hoes. If she’s happy in her car seat (or just sitting on the ground, as we discovered yesterday) I do something that involves moving minimally and I’m on the ground too–like weeding or harvesting. Ava just scoots a long with me. She also loves sitting and watching the giant salad spinner. If Ava is being hyper or inconsolable I stop and we play a bit or try to get her to nap. I have a timer to keep track of when I’m working, and it all works out very well!
Having this forced schedule in my life helped me achieve a 180 degree perspective flip (people often say a 360–but wouldn’t that just bring you back to where you started?). Instead of looking at all of the things I was expected to do and getting unnecessarily overwhelmed, I started to look at all of the reasons why I had these things to do. We have a home that needs to be taken care of, we have a beautiful daughter that I get to share this crazy world with, we have a very active dog that encourages me to get outside and explore as much as possible, and I have a young family with healthy minds and bodies that we want to keep that way! Instead of feeling overwhelmed and stagnant, I started to feel inspired and motivated by the things that I should be doing. I felt blessed to have a home and family to care for.
Perhaps this is a simple thing that others do and have done for time immemorial, but it is new to me! I have a newfound perspective on how lucky I am to have this sweet and simple life. I have a newfound passion to have my own little farm sometime in the near future. Best of all, I have left the reality television behind (well, mostly…).
We are leaving on a jet plane in just a few short hours to visit friends and family in the Upper Midwest. It’s our first flight with the baby, send us good and happy thoughts! My next post will be from NoDak or Minnesota!
Sending you peace and love from AK,
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl