Since I was a young girl I have always been a supporter of unique and different. I have a

strong belief that everyone should be who they want and be able to express their self without

judgement from other. My style has always reflected complete individuality. For example, my

favorite hair color is purple. Up until a few weeks ago I had purple highlights in my hair and I

loved it. Go figure.

I am in my late 20s now and for some reason reflection has become a regular part of my life.

Apparently I feel old or something... I along with my husband and my parents have worked

hard. We have invested a lot of hours into farming and taking care of our cows. Over the past

few years I have had friends tell me that my Facebook page is full of cows. Then they continue

to look back to previous years on Facebook and it just shows lots of cows.

Now, I love my cows. This is an obvious passion since I am the herd manager for my family’s

dairy. But there is so much more to me than just cows and the farm. This happens so often to

people who own farms or manage them because farming takes so much time and dedication.

Often who we are outside of the farm is forgotten. I think it is even more common for dairy

farmers, especially with kids because they take a lot of time and energy. When my husband are

blessed enough to have kids, I know I will not be any better. The reality of it is, I enjoy working,

and I’m sure I will need to reread this column often to remind myself of my advice.

Anyway, I don’t believe that means we need to totally forget about ourselves! There is more to

us than cows and kids and corn. We all have outside interests and we need to remember what

those are. I am not saying we need to book out entire days each week to sit around and eat

cookies and do some day drinking. Although that would be nice from time to time. But I don’t

think there is anything wrong with doing a girls’ night once a month. Or maybe get a massage

once a week. Or joining a bowling league or a sewing circle; whatever suits your interests.

We are all intelligent, hard working, loving people who deserve a free evening to eat all the

chocolate and ice cream we want. Who doesn’t want to go to the movies to see that movie

everyone is talking about? Why wouldn’t we want to have a day at the spa with our girlfriends

laughing so hard our sides and faces hurt?

There is nothing wrong with leaving. I can clearly remember one time I felt like I was being

guilt tripped because I was going to a concert with my cousin. I repeated this mantra for half of

my drive, “You have no reason to feel guilty.” I knew I had put the time in and I deserved the

evening off from calls and chores. You know what? It was totally worth it!

Take an evening to have dinner with your spouse to celebrate the end of harvest! Plan a girls’

night with your closest friends. Send the kids with their grandparents and just sit around and

watch all of those shows you wish you had time for. Go golfing with your buddies. Enjoy some

time off because we all know we work enough to deserve it.

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Comment by Ashley Messing on October 30, 2014 at 5:15am

Anytime Christina! ;-) It was just as much a reminder for myself than it was everyone else. I am so guilty of working too much and not enjoying time away from the farm. 

Comment by Christina Winch on October 29, 2014 at 8:15pm
Thanks for the reminder. We do tend to forget to take care of ourselves.
Comment by Ashley Messing on October 29, 2014 at 11:19am

That's great that you have a lot of great interests! My parents are looking to retire from the dairy part of the farm and we are having a hard time thinking of something for my mom to do with all of her time. 

Comment by Betsy Fleury on October 29, 2014 at 8:48am

Well said, Ashley! That is the reason I love my husband so much. Although he is a farmer first and foremost, he also has lots of outside interests! So many farmers (and I am talking about both men and women) devote their whole lives to taking care of the farm and their cows, but not to taking care of themselves. So many of these types of dairy farmers actually work themselves to death, or at least have no interests to occupy themselves when they are finally forced to retire due to age or poor health. For real health and happiness, everyone needs outside interests and a wide circle of friends. Luckily for my husband and myself, we have always had friends and hobbies to help us relax now and then from the stresses of farming. My husband has played tuba in our town band for 25 years and also sang in a choral group for 10 years. We both enjoy books and movies and make a point to have a lunch date at a local restaurant at least once a week. And we almost always were able to get away from the farm for at least a few days each summer to enjoy a camping trip. But you are right about the guilt that many of us put upon ourselves about doing things outside of the farm. Like you said, we all work hard enough that we deserve a little time off for rest and relaxation. It reduces the stress level, certainly makes the farm work that we do more enjoyable, and actually makes us more productive on our farm.  And since we have always had a lot of outside interests, we aren't wondering what we will do with all our free time now that we are having to sell our cows. We are looking forward to a lot of different activities, including traveling the country which is something we have always wanted to do. So, like you, I encourage every dairy farmer to take up a hobby, get off the farm, and have some fun once in a while!

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