In the months leading up to our son’s birth, we were given heaps of well-meaning advice (and we still are), heaps of unsolicited advice and heaps of just plain weird advice. An impending baby brings out all sorts of things in people. One of those nuggets has remained with us, though: A farm is the best place to raise a family.

Olson brittany
Dairy Farmer / Freelance Writer
Brittany Olson is a dairy farmer and freelance writer from Chetek, Wisconsin. She and her husband...

We were given heaps of hand-me-downs from folks leaving the stage of new parenthood we were destined for. One of those items was a doorway jumper and another was a blue and yellow Fisher Price swing, both of which were intended for use in the barn.

Aside from me telling Sam I’d be back in the barn mere days after giving birth, like I’d seen with other farm moms on social media, we had visions and notions of Titus swinging happily from one of the beams in the older part of our barn as we moved milkers from one cow to the next.

We’d picture him bouncing up and down from the pipeline in his jumper, or peacefully snoozing in a pack-and-play as the vacuum pump hummed in the distance – like we’d seen a lot of other farm kids doing on social media.

My husband spoke fondly of the many naps he took in the tractor as his dad plodded along in the field with a planter, plow or chopper. He too was looking forward to having a buddy in the tractor, just like his dad, even if that little buddy slept most of the time.


Needless to say, my farm mom era isn’t exactly looking like I thought it would.

Almost a year and a half later, with the exception of a few milkings being worn in a baby carrier or sleeping in a laundry basket as a cherubic newborn – those visions and dreamed-out-loud plans have not come to fruition.

Recovering from a C-section threw any kind of chores for yours truly out the window for two months. Furthermore, the kid we got is not like other people’s kids on social media. That is not a bad thing at all. Titus is his own little person with a big smile, big heart, big laugh and even bigger personality.

His spirited and determined nature will propel him to move mountains when he’s all grown up, but right now he’s an action- and connection-seeking 1-year-old who wants to be involved in everything Mom and Dad are doing. At his age, that’s impossible, not to mention unsafe. A farm is a great place to raise a family, but a dangerous one as well.

For one, he’d scream if he was confined to a pack-and-play or jumper or swing while we were doing our chores, and that wouldn’t be fun or safe for us or the cows. With the exception of one tractor, none of our other tractors have enough room for a buddy seat or car seat, so he hasn’t gotten near the amount of tractor time that we thought he would. He probably thinks we’re being mean when we tell him he cannot visit animals or tractors without an adult present, but he and all his 10 fingers and toes can be mad.

I find myself humbled nearly every day by motherhood, either by my child himself or by something not going to plan. Hard doesn’t always mean bad, though, and seeing the farm anew through the eyes of a wee one has been an experience to savor forever.

My vision for my farm mom era was based on how other people did things, and that wasn’t a fair expectation to place on me, my husband or my child. Rather, we needed to parent the child we got, meet him where he was and pivot as necessary along the way.

That being said, a farm truly is a great place to raise a family, and I look forward to creating more memories with our tiny farmer in the days, weeks, months and years to come.