Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sick Days: A Farm Mom's Dilemma

As I have mentioned before, all three of our children go to school and daycare full-time, five days a week.  It is what works best for our family and farm at this time.  And good for my sanity.

However, my sanity is currently waning.

Since mid-to-late March, I have spent more days than not with at least of one of my three boys at home with me, and dealing with a myriad of illnesses.

First it was a nasty stomach/intestinal flu bug that lasted about five days.  Per person.  At different times.

Then it was an annoying cough, followed by viral head colds and fevers.

One child has had two bouts of pink eye.

This week it is another stomach bug.  My oldest has been vomiting on and off for 3 days, but so far today we have been spared.

Day 3 of the stomach flu - hopefully recovering.

All this in less than a one month time span.

Usually sick days don't both me too much (aside from the sleep deprivation).  I have flexibility in my job on the farm and I don't have to call in and tell my boss that I won't be able to make it in to work again today for the (insert number here) days straight.  My husband can see for himself that our kids need to stay home and that I need to care for them when they are ill.

Having to care for a sick child is not something anyone wants to have to deal with, but overall they are healthy children and I know that whatever the illness, it will pass.

Sure, it can seem to be a strain on our finances.  We am paying for daycare when the kids aren't even there, but I realize now that is just part of the deal when you have kids.  It is the same as if you were to go on vacation, but caring for sick children is not a vacation.

However, we are in the midst of planting on the farm.  It is one of the busiest times of the year for us, when we like to have all hands in the dirt (or operating equipment).  If there is ever a time when my help is needed on the farm, now is it (followed closely by harvest)!

I would typically be very stressed about being home with sick kids as much as I have been this spring, but I am relatively at ease about it for the following two reasons.

First, it is an early, dry spring - the complete opposite of last year.  We are to the point where we have the majority of our winter wheat fertilized, barley and spring wheat planted, and other fields worked before we can start planting corn and soybeans (the soil temperatures need to warm).  The mild winter and limited rainfall allowed all of this to happen by mid-April. 

However, this work still would not have got accomplished without man (or woman) power, and I have been in the house tending to sick children more than in the field.  My in-laws work full-time off the farm, so they are not here all of the time either (though the help they offer is greatly appreciated).  Although I would like to think of my farmer husband as a super hero, he cannot do it all himself either.

This farming season we have the help of a hired man (translation: employee).  He is a semi-retired gentleman that knows the area well, which very helpful when giving directions without road signs.  He can operate the equipment the same, if not better, than me, so we have confidence in his abilities.

Does having hired help make our farm operation any less of a family farm?  Absolutely not.  It offers our family a little bit of flexibility when it is needed most.

Nurse Dana

P.S.  You are welcome to come visit me at the house, but make sure you put on a mask and douse yourself in hand sanitizer.

1 comment:

  1. Always a good read! Glad to hear the Dagman Trio are back to full strength!!