Three little kids, and two full time careers here - we love our (low paying, public servant) jobs, and aren't interested in much more then early retirement, replacing lost income at that point by continuing to scale up our CSA program. With our screwed up social safety net, employer health insurance is also a great asset for any on-farm injuries. Remember, as Chris Blanchard and others have said many times, full time farming has always been a RARE option - winter jobs, spouse working in town, you name it - people have always farmed while filling other roles in the community as well - don't let it de-value your work in producing quality food for your community. I think the idea of being able to quit the day-job as the ultimate proof of "making it" is really tied into a purely profit focused model - defining success as bringing in so much income that no-one in the family needs to work elsewhere or at other times of year off-farm.
Thanks for your insight, Shannon! I just finished my MBA and am an experienced video producer. My wife is a nurse. We're expecting our 4th child this winter, and our hope for farming is that it becomes something for our family to work on together and not be separated from our kids for 40-50 hours per week. It's a good dose of gravity to be reminded that a lot of farmers work off-farm jobs their whole lives as well.
We are all out together most evenings till we totally lose the light around 9, especially in the crazy busy spring season, and the kids help distribute the CSA shares every weekend - the way I see it, they would be in school even if I WAS home mid-day - living on farm means more engagement and time working together, even with our day jobs.
Was a quality process manager at Capital One. Unexpected department-wide layoff. Started doing day labor for an old friend who had a deer-proof garden. It was empty so I asked if I could develop. Outgrew that, moved to a friend's 1/2 acre. Ended up on a rented 12 acre site with a farmhouse. 5th anniversary was May 10th. Hasn't been easy. 2018 nearly ruined me with the rain. Slowly moved from 100% farmers market to 50% restaurant/grocer 30% CSA 20% market.