I grew up in a small town really close to a major city (10 minutes away) and I bought a condo and lived in that city for 2 years after I graduated university. I met my farmer going to university in 2004, and when he graduated 6 years ago, we made the permanent move to the farm. I want to make a disclaimer up front and to make it very clear that I love this new life that I have, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I am blessed beyond measure and I recognize how good I have it—but I also go through periods every year where I tend to feel the hardships of my “new” life on the farm more than others and I wanted to reflect on that.
Missing My Old Life
Yes, in marriage we leave our parents and become one with our spouse. We more-often-than-not take their last names and join their families. In my case, I left behind a life in the city that I really loved, a job in the pediatric operating room that I still miss very much to this day, the friends I grew up with, the friends I made in university and at work, and of course my own family. Everything that was familiar to me I left behind and moved three hours away to the farm where I really only knew his family and some of his friends. Our friends back at my home all have kids that are our kids’ ages, and sometimes I long for how good of friends they’d be if we lived there.
There’s probably about 3 months of the year during the busy times on our farm: seeding in late April & May which trickles into a less-intense, but still busy spraying season in June; and from mid-August to at least the end of September for harvest, that I single-parent. Most mornings my farmer sees the kids for breakfast before he runs out the door, he only sees them during the day if I take the boys out to the field for a visit/tractor ride and we see him probably >80% of the time for supper and he’s never home to help at bedtime unless it rains. After a week or so it just becomes routine doing everything, but I still miss having that support, especially as our kids get older and have school and sports to be taken to.
Constantly Being Flexible With My Time
This is going to sound selfish to some of you, but that’s okay because this is about the musings in my own life. I have to check with my husband before I do anything. ANYTHING. It’s easiest to have him watch our kids if I have an appointment rather than relying on their very busy grandma or his sisters who have multiple kids of their own to watch them. I don’t have immediate access to any babysitters like one perhaps would living in town or in a city, and that can get very pricey. He’s not always home in the evenings, so I need to be at home with the kids instead of heading out with a girlfriend for coffee or wings, or taking a coveted trip into the city by myself for some shopping. There’s weeks at a time where the only outings I get are with the kids. I think it’s important for everyone to have their “me” time, but I have to be very flexible about when I get mine (even when I get to take a shift at work). We can have a party planned or a date and things get cancelled instantaneously if something needs to be done at the farm instead. I have to continually be flexible.
The Weather Dictates My Life
This plays off the last point and if it’s a really important thing like Braden’s first T-ball practice ever, Jay will try and make a point of being there even though he could have/should have been working, but typically the weather rules the roost in our family. Farming is very time-sensitive, and I respect that, so when the weather is nice or a storm is coming….the guys have to work. They just have to, even if it means missing a dinner with friends, a birthday party, or helping out at home or delaying our summer vacation for 3 weeks like it did last year. Farmers can never commit to things unless the forecast allows them to.
I know there are many careers where husbands work out of town or overseas for weeks and months and years on end, and yes—I know what I signed up for marrying a grain farmer—but this is a reflection of my life and my story and how it affects me and only me. I am learning as I go and I’m trying to become more gracious and understanding as the years and farming seasons go by, because truthfully I didn’t/don’t know exactly what I signed up for when I married my farmer. How could I? I didn’t grow up on a farm or in a farming community.
It is not my intention to demean anyone else’s story or struggles, so you don’t need to tell me how good I have it, because I know I do but I’m allowed to struggle through life and so are you. I have also shared the things I love about being a farm wife, which are far more than what I struggle with. I love my farmer husband very much and appreciate all the time he puts into his work for our family.
If you liked this, please read my tips on how I get through harvest season!