Here’s a lesson about us boys and our toys and hair-brained ideas.
What is it about, this compulsion in men that doesn’t allow our brains to stop/shut up? Shortly after retiring from the military, my wife and I moved the family back to Omaha, NE. We rented a home for two years. During that time, my dream was to do organic farming. You know….the simple ‘live off the land” image of organics, the chickens clucking in the yard, the gardens of golden tassels, green beans, hand-dug potatoes. Now keep in mind, I just obtained a full-time job, was going to classes for computer training already–NO! I HAD to lease a small plot of land to begin this “farming adventure.” The goal was to quit my day job and be able to fulfill my dreams, live my passion and have more time with the family.
Knowing that renting in many cases is throwing your money down the drain….we decided to purchase a small acreage–40 minutes from where the hub of most of our activities (and my job) happen to be. Finally……ahhhhhh, the country life! I bought and hatched chickens, I bought a 1944 Farmall Tractor, an antique John Deer two-bottom plow and a Ford Disc. I had a new engine put in the 1978 Chevy Scottsdale my brother-in-law gave to me and also purchased a greenhouse. I had everything I possibly needed to begin my business of a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation! It was a success by way of customers….36 families to be exact, and a waiting list. We were “this close” to operating in the black and seeing success on the horizon. But…my dream was quickly becoming my wife’s nightmare.
Farming, it turned out, wasn’t my wife’s dream or idea of bliss, neither was it my kid’s. The workload was enormous–every single bit of spare time devoured by planting, watering, pulling weeds, harvesting, sorting, packing, and then delivering every Saturday these bags of organic goodies into town–40 minutes away to two different drop locations on opposite sides of town! A year and a half ago, after two years of this madness, I stopped–saw the anger, frustration in my wife and took inventory of reality. I am one, and WE are five became my mental mantra!!! How is this fair or pleasing? It wasn’t, so I stopped. I haven’t planted a seed for a year and a half. Slowly, we’ve made improvements on the house, and landscaping and are planning to make a few changes in our lives.
Any priority you place on something outside of the home takes
away from priorities you’ve already committed to–your family!
My point in sharing this with you….if you’re a woman, and stuck in a similar situation, hang in there. Perhaps he’ll too have a moment of enlightenment and you can undo and back out of some bad or poor timing decisions. Men, if you’re reading this, decisions like the one I’ve described are “great ideas”….but be careful of your timing when implementing them. If you have young children, they are only young once, they don’t stay with you forever, and they depend upon you for your time, your patience, and your enthusiasm at their level of how they’re piecing the world together. And your wife–SHE NEEDS YOU to be there, with her, in the rearing of your children. Any priority you place on something outside of the home takes away from priorities you’ve already committed to–your family.
Life is not a race! Any deadlines or pressure you feel to “accomplish” your dreams are arbitrary and self-imposed…and interpreted by your mate often as selfish, and they are–especially if you haven’t considered the reality of your dream and how it will impact those you matter most to. There will be time on the other side of your parenting career to chase a dream. Use the child rearing years as your time to observe, learn, share, and see the world from a completely different perspective. Chasing your dreams at the expense of your wife/family is making a huge assumption that has consequences beyond yourself!
If you don’t heed this advice (which I review daily for myself), I promise you’ll quickly find the color and 3-dimensional aspects of your dream turning into your nightmare too. Work/life balance is something that isn’t taught, and unfortunately not modeled very well for any of us. So, learn from my mistake and keep your focus on the most important priority in the phase of life you find yourself in right now. If you are a parent–your #1 priority should be to make of yourself the best, most creative, most supportive parent you can be! You’ll find yourself and your family a lot happier and you’ll feel less like a schmuck!
- Jess Is Bright and Shiny in the Big Apple (popsugar.com)
- How to Find a Local CSA (brighthub.com)
- Winter CSA (suburbanfarmonline.com)
- Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Cooperative – The Pros! (symbolandsubstance.wordpress.com)
- Transitioning to organic farming (physorg.com)
- Shiny Happy People (lucentumblog.wordpress.com)