Yesterday I did something I swore I would never do as a farm wife. Until then, I had taken the advice my mother-in-law (who not only grew up on a farm, but is, of course, a farm wife of almost 40 years!) gave me before we got married to heart: never learn to drive equipment or they’ll put you to work! I was minding my own business dropping Ethan off for a pre-supper combine ride with his dad, when I saw my brother-in-law Craig whipping the tractor and empty grain cart around to the corner of the field to park it so they could empty their combine hoppers into the grain cart while my father-in-law shuffled and emptied trucks full of canola. Usually we have a friend to run the grain cart and truck for us, or Jay’s sister Joy comes to help out when she can, but they were both busy with other things. So, when you have two guys out of three running combines, that only leaves one to empty the grain cart into the grain trucks and haul the grain back to the farm and unload it into a bin. It’s busy work.
Jay was texting me “joking” (or so I thought) that I should hop into the tractor and drive the grain cart because they were “short-staffed” tonight. Understand that in the area of operating farm machinery, I’m still a city girl through and through. I cannot drive a stick, I have no desire to learn how to operate our grain trucks or drive a semi…and I’ve never even turned on a tractor before. He was texting me instructions and I all but told him “no bleeping way!“, because I am a very visual learner and didn’t want to learn to drive a tractor via text message! So, once his combine got to the end of the row where we were waiting, he got out and grabbed me and the kids and really left me with no choice but to hop in the tractor and learn.
He’s a very good teacher and before long I was able to slowly drive the grain cart at a whopping 3 miles per hour so the combines could keep going for a couple more passes without stopping. I kinda hate to admit that I actually liked it. A lot. I’ve always wanted to help in the field a bit as the kids got older and were busy in school, because quiet time in a tractor doesn’t sound all that bad to me.
Which brings me to this quandary: am I a real farm wife now? I have seen numerous times throughout the social media world that I’m not a real farm wife because I don’t actually work on the farm. I’ve never had any insecurities about my identity as a farm wife. I know darn well the role I play on our farm is important. I have the luxury of not having to work at the hospital when our farm is really busy during the planting and harvesting seasons so I can cook huge meals with my sister- and mother-in-law and take care of our kids. I do parts runs when necessary and help out any way I can. Just because I’m not literally getting my hands dirty doesn’t make me any less of a farm wife than the wives who work alongside their husbands every day.
I have seen it said many times that farm wives like me give the “real” working farm wives a bad name when I say that I have moments of struggling being on the farm. That somehow I take away from their independence as a working woman on the farm, who also takes care of the kids and the home. That somehow sharing my personal life experiences as a farm wife degrades theirs in some manner, as if my experiences are a blanket statement for all the farm wives ever.
I don’t get it, I truly don’t. I say you do you and do it well, and I’ll do me. Whatever I share about my life truly has nothing to do with anyone else’s. I’m not trying to make a statement or start a national farm wife movement for all the farm wives to do as I do. I think some see this as a gender equality issue? Sorry to disappoint, because to me, it’s not at all. And if I want to be a “1950s farm wife” and love being in my kitchen raising my kids…why is that a judgment on anyone else? Yeah, no.
I’m just blogging. I’ve been doing it for almost 6 years on this website and if you want to know why I blog about our farm life, you can read that here.
I’m happy with who I am and my role as a wife on the farm. I’m happy to be raising our children, cooking meals, baking desserts and learning to operate some equipment as I want. I am me and no one else.
Real farm wife,