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Making Time for Family

Over the past 9 years, most of my focus has been on my business, my husband, and on my children (sometimes, but not always, in that order).  It has worked very well because I was able to integrate my time with all of them since we have the privilege of homeschooling and working together on the farm.

But now that my children are getting older, they’re taking over a lot of my business responsibilities.

Brett and Mason both want to continue working at Goat Milk Stuff and plan to raise their children in the business as Brett was raised in it.  Colter wants to not just work at GMS, but he also wants to take a leadership role in running the business as well. And Indigo is starting to work on some of my bookkeeping responsibilities which is a huge help.

As all of the children mature, they are requiring less supervision in their tasks as they master them and become more efficient.

While I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of free time, I am finding myself spending a little more time trying to add other priorities back into my life.  It’s why I’ve been able to start blogging again and why I’m working to relaunch my podcast and hopefully get the book written – although Brett’s wedding may delay my book plans a bit.

Saturday, I did something I wouldn’t have done over the past nine years.  I left Jim and the boys to work a busy Saturday at Goat Milk Stuff and I took my three girls and Mason to Dayton, Ohio.

What’s in Dayton?  Family!

My brother, Adam, and his family are currently stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and live in Dayton.  They were hosting a small event with my brother Pete and his wife, my brother Mark and his wife, and my Mom and Dad.

So we woke all the girls and Mason up at 5:30 AM and headed to Dayton.

We had a wonderful time.  It was the first time Mason has spent any significant time with that part of the family (he fit in as well as we knew he would).

But more importantly, we took the time to show our family that they are important to us.

Over the past nine years, we’ve missed out on a lot of family events due to our commitments at Goat Milk Stuff. Afterall, we run a farm and the animals need to be milked twice a day.  You can’t easily skip that because there is a family dinner or special weekend.

Up til now, we rarely “split up” our family – either we all attended an event, or none of us attended an event.

But now that Brett is engaged, she and Mason will soon have their own home, and they will not always be included in our immediate family events.  This upcoming change in our family status is giving me a different perspective.  As much as I want us to all be together and attend family events together, it’s not always going to happen.

And so I grabbed the girls, they grabbed Mason, we abandoned the boys, and went to Dayton!

We had so much fun.  The children spent the entire day outside playing with their cousins. The adults spent the entire day all hanging out around the kitchen cooking and eating and cleaning up the mess from cooking and eating.  Our Italian family get togethers all revolve around good food, good company, and lots of laughter.

Did I mention good food?  We had chicken parmesan, penne pasta, lobster bisque, tons of grilled vegetables and mushrooms, and even grilled pineapple, peaches, and sliced lemons with a bit of sugar.

Mason also made a dessert that included angel food cake, lots of fresh berries, and homemade whipped cream.  Most of the food didn’t last long enough for me to get a photo of it, but Grandma grabbed this one of the grilled fruit.

I’ve always taught my children the importance of family (you can’t be one of eight children without learning that lesson!)  I’ve also done a lot of focusing over the past ten years on teaching my children how to work hard.  And I’ve been successful at it – they’re all hard workers.

Fortunately, I think they also know that they need to balance hard work with the following lessons.

It’s not all about hard work. Hard work serves a purpose.  It’s a good thing.  You need to be able to work hard and you need to be able to enjoy working hard.  But you also need to know when it is time to stop working hard and put family or others first.  Hard work is simply one tool in life’s tool belt.

Family is worth sacrificing for.  Saturday is our busiest day of the week on the farm.  Without me, Brett, Indigo, Jade, and Mason, the boys all had to work twice as hard to get the work done.  Normally they go running at some point in the afternoon, but they had to sacrifice their run because none of the girls were on the farm to cover for them.

Sometimes you need to be the one left behind.  For the girls to go and visit family, the boys needed to be willing to stay behind and man the farm.  This was not easy for them as they would have loved to have joined us.  But they were willing to stay behind so the girls could all go.

To balance it out a little bit, the girls and Mason covered the farm on the previous Friday night so all the boys (except Jim) could go and play ultimate Frisbee.  That is something that normally just Colter does with his friends, but he took all his brothers with him this week.

They had a blast.

I asked Hewitt how it went.  He said, “I had so much fun, but I’m not sure it was a good thing I went because now I want to go every week!”

I know on this blog that you will see lots of examples of the children working hard.  And they do.  But there are plenty of times we put work aside so we can do something fun with family. And we love it when we can do that!

What about you?  Are you good (or bad) at putting work aside to have fun with your family?