Hello you wonderful person and WELCOME to my life on the farm!
I chose to write about this topic because it has been something that has weighed on my heart since shortly after I married my husband. I feel like there is a huge movement of young farming families forming throughout the United States and that makes my heart incredibly happy! Farmers have a job that is totally irreplaceable and it is so important that such a heavy responsibility is handed down to generations who take is just as seriously as their ancestors.
Being a farmer’s wife sounds like such a fantastic role, right? Well, it is. But there’s also some days that it isn’t.
Let’s take it back to our engagement. My head was filled with all these fantastic pictures of how life would be on the farm. Just my husband and I – and my dog, Remington. I saw us waking up, enjoying a cup of coffee and starting our day sitting on our imaginary patio furniture and watching the sun rise. I imagined me greeting him each evening with a warm, home cooked meal and a spotless kitchen. I envisioned flower beds overflowing with blooms and green freshly mowed grass. Cornfields surrounding our house and picturesque wheat fields off in the distance.
There might have been a few things that were a little bit off.
Here’s a list of X things I wish I would’ve known before becoming a farm wife.
1. YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER MOVE
This man is here for a reason. He probably grew up here. He’s probably been driving tractor here since he was five. The land, the equipment, the bins, the pastures – it’s all here. You can’t just pick it up and move it. Although it makes total and complete sense, this fact never really dawned on me until a month or two into dating my husband. He asked me, “So do you plan on sticking around here? Because I’m not going anywhere”. Maybe you’ll move to a different home a few miles away. Or maybe you’ll be able to build your dream house on some of his land. Or maybe you’ll move into his grandparents old farm house on the main farmstead, ehm. But one thing remains…if you marry a farmer you have to be content with the fact that you probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
2. YOU WILL BE VERY LONELY SOMETIMES
There’s spraying, switching headers, equipment maintenance, hauling grain, fencing and everything in between. Planting season and harvest season are no joke. And that is when I find myself being the most lonely. There are nights when my husband won’t come home because he is working in the field through the night. You will have plenty of nights where you are eating supper and going to bed alone. A lot of days your only in person interaction with them will be a quick thank you kiss as you’re dropping off his next meal. They are always on the go because there is always something to be done. It is easy to get angry or resentful when you are spending a majority of your time alone. But just remember that they are doing this for a purpose. They are working hard for your family and for future generations.
Even though I run my business full time and am gone at least three full days a week, I still get lonely. I have found that it is very helpful for me to have my own hobbies and to make other farm wife friends. Other farming friends will be a huge blessing in your life, trust me. They will live the same lifestyle as your (for the most part) and they will understand your struggles. Just remember – YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this! There is a whole community of farm wives out there who are feeling the same way that you are. Find somebody who you can relate to and form a friendship with them.
It’s also going to be very important that you and your spouse make an effort to spend time together. For some people that can only happen once a month, and for some couples they manage to do it every day. My husband always finds a way to sincerely ask me how my day went and give me a few hugs and kisses before I finish the rest of my night. In our house we do not work on Sundays. So we have found a healthy balance of spending QUALITY time together and also allowing my husband to do what interests him – usually consisting of golfing, napping, and eating good food.
3. YOU WILL NEED TO BE ORGANIZED + RESOURCEFUL
Have you ever lived 5 blocks from a grocery store and then moved to the middle of nowhere and found out that the nearest grocery store is 25 minutes away? I have. Making a quick run to Target to grab the toilet paper you forgot? Just a distant memory. Gas stations on every street? Forget about it. Organization and resourcefulness is about to be your new best friend.
Get familiar with meal planning and grocery lists. You will need to plan your trips to town and triple check that you remembered to buy everything before you head out. And fill up on gas – do not forget that – because it is a lot more expensive if you have to fill up from your farm fuel tank. You will need to get creative when you only have carrots, eggs, and soy sauce in the fridge. There will times when you need to come to your hubby’s rescue with shop towels and air filters in ten minutes flat. Schedules and data recording for crops, vegetables, and animals will all be a crucial part of farm life. So get organized. Whatever that means to you, just do it. Any minor thing that you can get in order you will be very thankful for one day and will make your life much easier.
Farmers do not like to waste. So being resourceful will be a trait that you will master whether you like it or not. You will find yourself saving that screw you found outside in the yard and that piece of twine from your peat bag…you know, just in case you need it. There is a fine line between being resourceful and being a pack rat. Do not cross it! It is easy for junk to pile up and be forgotten about and that is where being organized will, again, come in handy.
4. MOST THINGS WILL NOT GO AS PLANNED
If you’re a Type A like myself that headline will instantly stress you out. And that’s okay. You will learn to live with it, but it will definitely take some time. I’m a planner. For real. I’ve got the next 10 years of our lives planned out (God willing) and my husband doesn’t even know it yet. His famous words are “we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes” and “we can plan on going, but we might not be able to go”. Ahhh yes. Welcome to the life of flying by the seat of your pants.
Don’t get me wrong, having a plan is a fantastic and smart idea (remember, organization?) but you have to be okay with the fact that most of the time things will not go as you planned. When I have a typical day of chores planned around the house I usually end up accomplishing about half of them. Running meals, moving trucks, errands, giving rides, chickens causing destruction…sometimes things just get in the way.
And weather. Lovely, lovely weather. You will soon find that a majority of your life will depend on weather. Is the soil dry enough for planting? Is it too windy to spray the crops? A lot of things just can’t be scheduled out.
Since most of your life will not go as planned, that means more than just your daily routine. Sometimes you have plans for a big addition to your house, but the crops just have a bad year. You can plan for a busy and productive season, but you can fall into illness or injury. These are just realities, and you have to handle them as they come. In the end, everything is going to be okay. But it can surely be a rocky road in the meantime. The more you can learn to be open and accepting to change the less stressed you will be. I promise.
5. YOU ARE SO BLESSED
Being a farm wife is such a privilege and an honor. I can assure you that there will be days when you will cry. Days that you will scream. Days that you will be scared. And some days that you just want to plain old give up. But the reward of this lifestyle is so great. There will always be more good days than bad ones.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a crop farmer or a cattle farmer – this lifestyle is for the hardest working and the most dedicated. We get to feed not only our families, but other families throughout the United States. We treat our land and out animals with respect and are grateful for the nourishment they provide us with. We get to raise our children with an incredible upbringing that so many others miss out on.
Being a farm wife will surely not be your easiest task, but I can assure you that it will be your most rewarding one.
God is good, say yours prayers, and be a good human.