The importance of being properly present when with your loved ones can’t be overstated. Chloe Davidson comes back from a break with her family already planning the next holiday.

Life on the farm is always busy with days, sometimes weeks, going by before you realise that while you’ve all been in the same room together, you haven’t spent time together being present, enjoying each other’s company. Distractions such as social media, phones, laptops and the television always seem to encroach on family time unless you make a conscious effort to be present. Don’t get me wrong, there are always trips to be had on the tractor and in the farm ute with Dad, but he is always preoccupied with the job at hand or on a phone call, and well, I’m a stay-at-home mum but most of the time I’m also tidying, folding washing, answering emails, working on Roan admin, or being the snack slave for my darling children. You only have to look at our daily onscreen phone usage to realise where our time goes!

On the odd occasion we do get to leave the farm for an afternoon, there is generally a wash of anxiety on James’s face as he thinks about what could possibly go wrong in the couple of hours we’re away. The issue with lack of control must be a farmer issue I think! And you just know there are going to be phone checks every 10 minutes for the duration of the afternoon to make sure he hasn’t missed anything. I’m just as bad though, until the door-to-door deliveries have been completed each morning, I check my emails continuously just in case I get an email from a customer saying that their milk hasn’t been delivered. I choose to believe it’s because we care so much, that we are so heavily invested in our business.

After a year of change and stress and keeping the above in mind, I decided that we needed to treat ourselves to a low-key holiday so that we could all be present in each other’s company and try and reboot ourselves ready for a much more positive 2021. Now a bit of advice for fellow farm wives, as soon as you get even a slight inkling of commitment regarding a holiday from a farmer, book it straight away because you never know what tomorrow might bring! It was three months out from D-Day so there were definitely a number of conversations about whether it was a good idea or not, but in the end we needed to do it for our family and more importantly, our two little ones.

Because there is such a high level of quality control in our business, we decided that with us being away for a week and unable to control the quality of the product going out to customers, that we would shut the business down for a week. This took a lot of thought because the loss of earnings would definitely take a toll on our business, but we decided the benefit gained from spending a week together being present outweighed the negatives.

As always when you try and drag a farmer off the farm, the day you leave is never smooth sailing! You aim to leave about 9am but there’s suddenly a huge list of onfarm jobs that got left to the last minute and he is yet to pack his bag, and that leave time gets pushed out a few hours, the stress levels and frustration build, and the trip certainly isn’t beginning on a positive note. This has been the case every single time we have gone anywhere so I’m not sure why I haven’t just adjusted my expectations, but I still seem to think that we’ll be ready to go as soon as we wake up! The old last-minute packing trick didn’t go so well for James this trip though, because he had nothing more than one pair of shorts, two tees and one sweatshirt for a week-long trip haha … no jacket for the predicted weather change and no sneakers for the bike rides we’d planned. Once we were on the road though, nothing else seemed to distract us from the freedom we felt!

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was that it was the first time in eight years of being together that James did not worry once about what was going on back at the ranch, he didn’t even make contact with our worker to see how everything was going. For the first time ever, he was 100% present with his family and it was so, so good! We can’t wait to do it all again. We are even going to go one up this year and have one week in winter together and one week in summer! Bring on 2021!