Work life balance on farm and a good dose of mother guilt

The slow burn of mother guilt catches me unawares sometimes but on other occasions, it’s as sharp as a knife. Or more accurately, as shrill as a tired toddler’s screech.

Just In Time (JIT) fencing

Just In Time (JIT) fencing

When a knock on the door from a concerned motorist signals a heifer and bull trotting down the road, which in turn reveals that a mob of skittish kangaroos have rendered your fence as floppy as a spoonful of fettuccine, a farmer has little choice but to report to the scene, sirens wailing. If the farmer is also the mother of a toddler, the ramifications can be far more serious: Nap Time Deferral (NTD).

Strapped to the Bobcat seat, my Little Man finds it hard to understand why Mama is singing lullabies as she fumbles with the fence strainer when she should be singing them at the bedside.

"Home, peese"

“Home, peese”

“Sorry, Little Man, I promise I’ll be as quick as I can, I just have to get this done…”

I know Mother Guilt is not limited to farming or, indeed, mothers. On Twitter’s AgChatOz forum the other day, fellow dairy farmers told of their dismay.


And, then, Shelby posted a link to this:

Cat’s in the Cradle always “gets me”, too. It’s times like these that I wonder if I am doing the right thing. My children see more of me going about daily life than they would if I was an office worker but, with farm returns so low, it seems we spend most of our time working and less of their time playing.

With the heifer paddock hastily patched up, Zoe, Alex and I returned last weekend to do the major works. As I wrestled with wire and strainers, they gambolled about the picturesque hidden paddock. Flanked by forest, they were out of the chilly wind, away from roads and so carelessly happy. I smiled as their little heads bobbed across the pastures and my spirits soared as their laughter echoed around the trees.

A gambol cures a dose of mother guilt

A gambol cures a dose of mother guilt

I was cured. Well, almost. What mother would stand back and film this?

9 thoughts on “Work life balance on farm and a good dose of mother guilt

    • Hi E. Very perceptive of you – thanks for the question.

      Zoe could be a great farmer one day, if she decides to. She can already identify when a pasture is ready to graze and when a cow is feeling off. Alex, on the other hand, seems mesmerised by machinery. He pulls things apart and puts them back together again. And he loves anything with wheels! Really, they have complementary talents.

      That’s something I love about dairy farming – there really is something for everyone.


  1. My daughter and son in law are farmers here in Florida, they have a son (13) and a daughter (11).the girl loves the farm and helping out but the son in more interested in facts and figures, he has a real head for numbers and computers. My son in law raises sod, land scape plants, citrus and a few cattle. We are very proud of them, it is very hard work to farm. I grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio and that was 60 years ago. Thanks for sending me the note.


    • I bet you’re proud. Farming is very challenging but it’s exciting, too. Glad your family is enjoying the life. Thanks for dropping in at MMM, too. I often wonder how on Earth people find me here!


    • Thank you, E. I love the Northview Dairy blog. Her pictures are glorious and it’s amazing how different life on a dairy farm can be when you’re across the other side of the world!


  2. Hi Marian,
    I would have filmed that too (bad mumma!). Zoe is a real little character. My little girl would love her too.


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