February 3, 2019
Many parents out there will understand the challenge of balancing work and parenthood. I have been doing it for 10 years already since I met my partner who had a 4 year old, Nadia, at the time. Nadia lived, and still does, primarily with him so I had a new relationship and an instant family. I took an active role as a parent and learnt to fit work and family into my life. As Nadia grew older and eventually became a rather independent 13 year old it became easier to balance the two.
Then last February, we discovered we were to have another baby. After 5 years of IVF it was a welcome surprise and a long-awaited dream come true. However, I had a 1 year old baby already – my farm business. How would I balance the two? How could I be pregnant and work physically on a vegetable farm? How would I look after a baby and a business? Not wanting to choose between my farm and my baby, I decided to see if I could do both.
Realising I would need to cut back physically, we hired new staff, upped hours of current staff and put systems in place to allow things to continue to run smoothly if I wasn’t physically on site. What’s App, Google Sheets and numerous phone calls helped. An automated SMS-activated irrigation system that I could activate from a hospital bed hours after giving birth was a lifesaver.
I continued to be at the farm as much as possible, fitting in midwife appointments, ultrasounds and baby preparations while also parenting Nadia as she navigated Year 7.
Frankie was born in November and seemed to realise immediately that she was part of a busy and full family life and community farm. Thankfully she is a very easy baby and fits well into her routine of two days away from mum with her dad and her grandparents. On the other days Frankie comes along on delivery runs and to farm pick-ups or chills out at home while mum is on the computer. There is also plenty of time for tummy time, sitting in the swing singing songs, gazing at toys, washing, trees, lights or anything really, and learning to smile, hold her head up, roll over, sit up and open her hands (and realise that they actually belong to her).
The farm is still going strong, and having another child reminds me of why I started it in the first place. To provide healthy local organic food to my community (and my family) while caring for the environment. Long may it continue!
Yours in veg,