The other day, my little girl asked me what a farm looked like. It made me really sad to think I've gotten so far away from my roots that my child doesn't have a clue what it was like growing up in a teeny tiny farming community.
Okay when I say small, people don't quite understand how small I'm talking about. The population sign entering Mud Lake said 179! Now that's small! Granted most people live outside of the "city" limits so there were definitely more people than that, but you get the gist of what I'm saying.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on my up bringing at all. In fact, I'm very proud of it! I'm glad that I learned to work and didn't take things for granted. I'm glad I had to drive an old beater car because I had a horse that I cared for. I'm glad we had a huge garden that I had to pick weeds out of as part of my summer chores (man, I never thought I would hear myself say that!) I'm glad I lived in a place where you left your keys in your car and never worried about locking your doors.
As I reflect on my childhood, I'm thankful for the life lessons I learned. Here are a few:
1. Volunteer work is a way of life
Our small community wouldn't have worked if people expected to get paid for any little act of service that was performed. My dad and my brother were volunteers for the fire department, and my mom was always doing some type of community volunteer work.
2. If you didn't make a plan, you go without
The nearest Wal-Mart was about a 45 minute drive, and so when you made a trip into town, you had to prepare! And if you forgot something on your list, you did without. Yes we did have a little gas station and a little grocery store, but you didn't do all of your shopping there. It was too expensive.
3. The animals needs come before your own
When your a farm girl, you learn there is no such thing as a 9-5 work day. We sometimes had up to 30 horses at a time all in individual stalls that needed to be fed and watered at least twice a day. That was my chore in the summer and I learned that before I even asked to go do something, the horses came first. Now that I look back on it, I can say I loved being out there working on my tan and sometimes reading a book as I waited for each watering trough to fill up (my younger self would've never admitted that! lol) I feel like this experience helped me as a mom because you realize your kids needs always come first. It's never convenient and there's a lot of times I want to pass the responsibility on to someone else (don't we all wish sometimes?) but there is nothing more gratifying than raising my kids.
Me at around 7 years old, feeding the baby calves
4. There is no such thing as a 9-5 work day.
Growing up on a farm, you realize that work needs to be done all the time. There is no such thing as sleeping in until 8 and being done at 5. Some days are shorter and some are longer. When you are in the middle of harvest, days and nights will be long! If a cow is ready to calve, you stay up at night to help her. But even though the schedule is crazy, I appreciate that my family always made sure we sat down together at the table for a nice family dinner. Every. night. My mom is an amazing cook and even when the schedules got crazy when we got older, family dinner was always a priority. Most nights there were usually a couple of extra people around the table as well. I love that I grew up that way.
5. TV was limited
This was actually one I never thought about as a child because we only had 3 channels. Most of the time they were all "grown up" shows so we didn't care about TV. We did however look forward to Saturday morning cartoons. Sometimes my sister and I would set our alarm for 6 am to try to catch the early cartoons!
Sometimes after school, if our chores and homework were done, we were able to pick out a movie we could watch. And the funny thing is, I never felt like I was missing anything! I have to admit, my kids watch a lot more TV now, but I do try to stay conscious of how much iPad and TV time we have a day.
I could go on and on about things I've learned but I don't want to bore those of you reading! I'm sure there is different lessons learned growing up in a city that my kids will learn and I'm HOPING I teach them things that are important for them to become successful, responsible adults!