Farming with Baby - Lesson 1

When I got pregnant around this time last year (perfectly timed for a winter baby), I knew it was going to make my farming life harder. Farming is tough, physically and emotionally, and it only makes sense that adding a new life to the mix won't make things any easier.

Farming while pregnant had its own challenges. Morning sickness in my first trimester had me stopping constantly while transplanting seedlings to let a wave of nausea pass or chew on some ginger candy. My second trimester coincided with the summer heat, and also found me struggling to carry bins and keep my balance with a growing belly. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was a comical sight, scooting along on my hands and knees to plant garlic, moving slower than molasses.

Now that the baby's here, though, the challenge is really starting. Because of our impeccable timing, I had a chance to adjust to this new life (and catch some naps) for his first month. Then I eased back into work by finishing my crop plans and working on loan paperwork - tasks that I could do while he napped. In fact, I'm currently wearing him in a baby carrier, sound asleep, as I write this - multitasking!

But farming is obviously mostly a physical job, and the other day it was time to try out the real work of farming with a baby. I made sure he was fed, strapped him in the carrier, and headed out to the porch to sow the first of the season's seeds - onions and scallions. It would be perfect, I thought. He'd sleep and I'd get work done. But I'm starting to learn that babies laugh at plans like that. He just wasn't having it. Though he usually enjoys his time in the carrier, in that moment he desperately wanted to be somewhere else. He fussed and wriggled, and eventually I had to give up and come back inside to soothe him.

I was frustrated and worried. Will this actually work at all? Will we be able to run our farm business and take care of our kiddo? Are we crazy for trying? After I calmed down, I realized that the most important concept going forward is: flexibility. I may not be able to do every task exactly when I plan to, and the distraction of having a baby assistant may mean some tasks aren't perfectly executed. But I can be creative, and work efficiently, and I still think I can do this. So, that day, I waited until Eric was free, handed off the baby to him, and quickly finished my seed sowing. And that's just how it's going to be from now on.