Juggling Children, Farm, And Career

It is a lot to juggle the responsibilities of running a farm, working off farm, and being a parent all at the same time. Despite that difficulty, this is what many farm families are doing across Wisconsin day in and day out.

Lauren Langworthy is a farmer in Northwestern Wisconsin with a full time off farm job and a young daughter. She knows first hand the challenges working farm families face raising children. Having flexible child care is a must for Langworthy, but it has been difficult to find given her schedule.

“A 9 to 5 job is a little bit more clear about it’s expectations, but a farm, you know, you really can’t control when something goes sideways,” said Langworthy. “Sometimes we really need someone who can stick around another hour so that we can run around and do things that might be a little bit dangerous for a kid.”

There are many friends and neighbors of Langworthy’s that are in the same situation as her. Langworthy says, “The one thing that I can say is a constant is that parents, especially those who are farming, especially those who are in rural spaces, we can sure be creative.” She know groups of parents that pool their resources to pay for child care. Some rotate watching children between several families.

Both cost and distance to access are the biggest challenges for farm families in need of child care. When asked what she believes would make the situation better, Langworthy said that an increase in financial support for parents who need child care and an increase in pay for child care workers would help improve the situation.