FEMALE dairy farmers from South Gippsland and surrounds learned all about time management in an interactive session with communications consultant Leah Mether at Leongatha RSL last week.
Facilitated by GippsDairy, the session was full of tips and tricks to help women in the dairy industry manage time more effectively and be productive, rather than busy.
Simple time saving tips such as batch cooking and virtual assistance were shared, but the emphasis was on identifying what each participant most wanted to make more time for and then creating a realistic plan of action to make it happen.
Quality family time was a high priority for many participants, but others had dreams of owning a home and travelling overseas.
Leah Mether, a working mother, drew on her personal experience of writing a novel to talk participants through breaking down big, potentially overwhelming dreams into SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goals, and overcoming inevitable roadblocks.
Participants agreed that in the midst of running a farm, raising a family, and worrying about the lack of rain, the milk price, and other things beyond their control, it was a “luxury” to even have the time to stop and think about what they really wanted in life.
“I learnt a lot about managing time more efficiently but also about stopping to reassess where you’re heading and how make time for what’s important,” one participant, Kelly, said.
Kelly says life as a female farmer or farmer’s wife is “full on,” as women are often “the glue that keeps it all together”.
“I admire women who milk and work on farms and look after a family. I know what’s involved. It’s hard work.
“I don’t do as much as other wives. I don’t milk cows but there are plenty of other things that need doing apart from milking. I take care of the children, do the upkeep of the house, do the bookwork, feed the calves. A typical day is non-stop.
“I’ve learnt that you have to let go of day to day things to get other things achieved. For example, if you want to go on a family outing, you might have to forgo the housework that day. The washing will be there tomorrow.”
Kelly says the Women in Dairy discussion groups are a great opportunity to connect with people who understand the challenges of life on a dairy farm, and help keep her in a healthy headspace.
“Farming can be isolating so it’s really good to get together and talk to people that understand what it’s like,” she said.