When They Become Useful…

The day that your children shift from needy to useful provides a pivotal moment on the parenting journey. I remember the first time that my girls made dinner for the family. It not only brought me a sigh of relief after a long day, but also a tremendous amount of pride when I tasted how good it was!


For several years now, my girls have played key roles in many household chores: washing both clothes and dishes, cooking, taking care of the cats, dog, horses, and chickens, and mowing the grass. Quite honestly, these days I wouldn’t get through the summer without their help.

While it takes a bit of time initially to help them learn how to do a task (and a bit of time after that to periodically remind them of their responsibilities), I think that playing an active role in the chore brigade teaches both important skills and a teamwork mentality.

When farming is your profession, the lines between family and work are blurred. All three of my girls spent large amounts of time tagging along after both Matt and I before they started school. Weekends and summers led the way to continued involvement after they got older. Many dinner time discussions at the Feed Yard Foodie residence revolve around the farm, and my favorite farmer and I have made a concerted effort to keep the girls involved.


This summer my favorite sarcastic teenager and my favorite blonde cowgirl will both play key roles on the farm – Ashley Grace in the office and Megan out at the feed yard. Their personalities allow them to share their strengths by helping the farm in difference capacities. Their tired Mama loves this new transition from needy to useful!

While there are many risks as well as unrelenting responsibilities involved with owning your own farm, being able to share it with your children is one of the redeeming perks. While time will tell if any of our girls decides to build their own professional careers on the farm, at least they will spend their formative years developing useful skills πŸ™‚

I am certainly looking forward to sharing my summer as well as some of my responsibilities with them!


Filed under Family, Farming

8 responses to “When They Become Useful…

  1. Really enjoyed this blog today. As a cattle rancher myself and as one raised on a ranch, I can really connect. Working where you live and living where you work is what ranch/farm life is all about. And being able to share that with your children is special.

    • Thank you, Linda. We share that thought πŸ™‚ I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me and comment. It is always good to know that there are others that feel the same way as I do!


  2. Bobbi

    Thanks soooo much for this blog. It gives me hope that some day our 2 year old will be helpful enough to start making our work load “lighter” or “different” or I am not sure how he will change our work load… We have a ways to go!! LOL!! Raising kids is no easy task for anyone but with raising them where you work makes it very hard to separate “family” time and “work” time. Around our place family time for the past few months has been, checking cows, tagging and weighing new calves, feeding cows….there seems like there is always plenty of work to get done and for some reason it takes 10 times longer to do something as simple as drive the 4 wheeler out to check cows and calves while my hubby feeds them. Every day I have to remind myself that I MUST take time to let him learn and I MUST make it fun for him while also teaching him to be SAFE as his home is our place of business. Even at the age of 2 it is amazing how much he already knows about raising cattle and corn!
    Enjoy your extra summer time helpers!!!

    • He will get useful, Bobbi! It just takes a few years. When my girls were little (and even still some today), I found myself at times getting frustrated when it took longer to show them how to do things (than if I just did it myself) — but, then I realized how much joy came from sharing that time with them and it all becomes worthwhile.

      My girls and I have made some pretty special memories over the years,and I would not trade that for anything. Enjoy your time with your little cowboy πŸ™‚


  3. Enjoy the help and the joy of working with them while you can. All too quickly they’re off to college or wherever and all of the chores are yours again! They’ll be glad you taught them and you’ll still be proud of what they’ve learned, but you’ll be short-handed all the same.

    • Don’t remind me, Carol! I laugh to Matt sometimes that we might just keep the kids at home instead of sending them to college — their absence will bring an abrupt increase in chores πŸ™‚ It is hard to believe that we are only a few years away from that life transition. I have to admit that it scares me a bit. I’m not sure what I will do when the “controlled chaos” that permeates our house disappears…

      Hope that you all are well!

  4. Kathy Owensby

    We have two beautiful children, 23 and 17, that have been amazing work partners. When one of them is absent from the work, I tell my husband that we should have had more! They are so much fun to be around, and so smart about solving problems! I enjoy your posts so much.

    • Thank you, Kathy. It sounds like you have a great “crew” and that we have much in common. I am glad that you enjoy my posts πŸ™‚


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