March 30 2021 09:26 AM

Let’s make some time to take some time for ourselves.

Is there ever a season when dairy farming is not a busy job? We often joke on our farm about our to-do list and the reality that we will never actually check all of the items off. But when does being so busy cross the line?

It is definitely way too easy to fully exhaust yourself in this industry. Three hundred and sixty-five days a year of tasks that have to be completed take a physical, mental, and emotional toll. Why, though, do we perpetuate this image that taking time for ourselves is not acceptable?

There seems to be this long-standing stigma around vacation in the dairy industry. Granted, the logistics of even getting a few days away are a considerable obstacle. Still, for the sake of our whole wellbeing, I feel like we need to normalize rest and time off.

There’s no award for burnout. I know we’ve all been there — those days that we push the limits of what our bodies and spirits are capable of. Those weeks, months, and years add up against us.

The dairy industry always has and always will be deeply rooted in passion. It’s a lifestyle choice that we choose every early morning with boots on the ground. But remember, you can’t pour passion from an empty cup.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.