This may just be my old age talking, but I feel like this year is moving at warp speed
I often feel like I’m trying to hold time in my hands. But time is like water, a liquid substance. It spills over and between my fingers, despite my best attempts to store it, to savor it.
I know I’m not alone. If I did an informal survey of everyone I know in the world, I’m sure we all have a deep yearning for “more time.” We’re always rushing, always checking our Facebook newsfeed, always multitasking, always packing our weekends with fun activities. It’s a normal thing, to be busy.
But it’s also a farming thing. Times ten.
This summer alone we planted corn, harvested multiple cuttings of hay, built a barn, dug a five-million gallon manure pit, irrigated our corn (thanks to a lack of rain), and tried to plan out the future of this dairy. All of these things have taken place alongside weddings, birthdays, weekends away, illness, dog grooming appointments, extensive home renovations, parties, personal crises, and a million loads of laundry.
Dairy Man finds it nearly impossible to sit still and to quiet his mind. I struggle with the same. Frankly, in farming, you don’t often have the luxury of calm. It often feels like we bounce from one “crisis” to another. Just when you get the bulk tank fixed, a cow goes into labor. Just when you finalize the milking schedule, someone gets a tractor stuck in the mud. DM is on-call 24 hours a day, and that makes it nearly impossible to ever truly relax, unplug, or find calm.
And when farming never slows down, how is a boy to find time for things like dinner at the dining room table, home repairs, or nights out with friends?
I feel guilty piling anything on. If I’m honest, this can be isolating. Being married to a farmer means (trying) to put everything else in life on hold from April to October in an attempt to keep your husband sane. I struggle with this every single day. I envy friends who have husbands home by six, who are able to take vacations, who tackle house projects as a team.
I struggle not to feel alone, disenfranchised. The farm trumps most things, but it’s not always easy to swallow. I work full-time and try to see friends and family, make nutritious meals, and keep a clean home. Yet I constantly feel behind. Deep within the dark and shameful places of my heart, I resent having to do everything (non-farm-related) by myself. I’m not proud of those feelings. They creep up on me as smoky tendrils, slowly squeezing out joy and positivity.
Honestly, there are times I’m exhausted, I’ve had a terrible day at work, the house is a mess, the dog needs a walk, everything feels chaotic, and I just can’t handle another farming crisis with understanding and grace.
Sometimes I’m not really listening. Sometimes I’m making a grocery list in my head or wishing we could talk about literally any other topic in the world but the dairy. Sometimes I can’t tear my attention away from the dishes he forgot to put in the dishwasher. Sometimes I resent the irrevocable monopoly the farm has on my husband’s brain and respond with frustration or anger.
Those are the moments I regret. When I’m not gracious. When I don’t control my feelings. When I’m not calm. When I choose to be selfish.
But marriage can’t be selfish, especially marriage to a dairy farmer. I chose that man and thus, I chose this life. We will spend our entire lives trying to balance, trying to carve out time for anything other than the dairy. You can’t compartmentalize farming. It’s not a job; it’s not a hobby. It’s a life.
Generally I’ve come to accept this. The Dairy Man pulls himself away during the “slower” times of the year and I try to accept the periods of insanity with understanding.
Because even when he tracks manure into the kitchen or never responds to my “When will you be home?” texts, I love that man. I admire the passion he feels for this dairy. I know he wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. And even when I’m feeling neglected, I know for a fact that he would do anything for me.
Love and marriage aren’t about perfect equality. There are times where we must carry each other. As my mom reminded me in my first year of marriage, “you can’t be so concerned about things being perfectly 50/50. You both have to give 100 percent–all of the time. Things aren’t always going to be equal. You might have to take turns carrying the other. But you should both always try to give 100 percent. That’s what love is.”
This quote still convicts me. While it’s so tempting to succumb to unhappiness or frustration this time of year, the Dairy Man needs me now more than ever. It is my turn to carry. Whether through delivered dinners, a kind and patient temperament, or a listening ear.
There’s nothing fair about it. But there’s nothing fair about life or love. Happiness comes in the realization that we’re here to carry each other. If you find someone willing to carry you–even an occasionally distracted Dairy Man–you are richly blessed.
So I will enjoy my fall nights of solitude. I’ll read, take walks, watch girly TV shows, bite my tongue, and make sure that DM is fed and loved. Jersey the dog accepts this time of year with far less grace than I (since he’s stuck in the house for a few weeks), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a heaping dollop of peanut butter.
For me, I find catharsis in an evening walk through the rustling corn. A good book and a steaming glass of apple cider. A few quiet moments spent sitting in the grass with Jersey before the sun sets.
All seasons are beautiful and messy. All seasons bring frustration and joy. All seasons make up a life.
And I am grateful.
100 thoughts on “When I Don’t Accept Farm Life With Grace”
Thank you for this reminder! My wheat farmer fiance is in the midst of harvest and I have been feeling like I am second lately. Your blog has encouraged me to keep loving and supporting him.
PS: to anyone marrying a farmer. Do not plan a November wedding if you want your fiances help!
You are welcome, Kassandra! I have to keep reminding myself every day during this busy time. Your comment about a November wedding made me laugh. I had a late August wedding and that might not have been the best choice after a busy summer… But we do what we can. Thank goodness for girlfriends and mothers. 🙂 Best wishes!
Thank you so much for this read. I too have a fiance who does the same and kassandra we have a wedding in November! Lol it’s so amazing to hear I am not alone. Y’all are awesome women and I’m stronger to know y’all struggle the same!
Jess, that is a beautiful post. I needed to hear some of that myself. I think a lot of other young women need to hear that, too. I lived with a husband being on-call 24/7 when the boys were little. Maybe not as crazy as your life but still always uncertain. Sounds like you have the right perspective.
Thanks, Judy! It’s definitely not just farmer’s wives who feel these feelings. It’s all about learning to deal with the uncertainty, eh?
I completely feel and understand everything you say!!!! I’ve been with my DM for 4 years, and it never gets easier. I truly enjoy reading your blog…it hits home with me and I am thankful I am not the only one who feels like this. Take Care! Dawn
Thank you, Dawn. This was a post I felt like I needed to write and I’m so glad that it resonated with you too!
So true. Makes me feel better just to see it in written word. Thanks for the reminder. I am NOT the only one. There is DM and there is J and there is my DM and the list goes on. We ARE blessed and NEED grace, today and every day of this season.
So true. And all of this kind, wonderful feedback assures me that we’re not alone! It’s wonderful to share experiences with others who understand.
Jessica! Thank you so much for this post! At times I feel like I’m the only one out there that “struggles with this every single day”! But by following your post and other farmwives blogs… I am reminded that I am sooooo not alone! This post made me laugh, smile and cry all at the same time! Thank you for sharing your feelings. Although I too most days feel isolated, exhausted and alone… I also chose this life, and the good FAR outweighs the bad. I love my Farmer, our insanely busy life and everything else in between. While you spend a few moments with Jersey every evening… know that I’m thinking of you while I also watch our prairie sunsets. Today was a good day… didn’t get it all done (not even close), but tomorrow’s just around the corner, and we’ll give it 150% again! 🙂
Well said, Faye. These comments are making me laugh and cry! You’re so right: the good outweighs the bad. It’s helpful for me to remember that.
I also needed this today! It is apple harvest time on our farm in SW Michigan and last night I was enjoying the beautiful fall weather with my almost 2 year old daughter and thought “we are almost done with apples”! …………… and then I realized we have at least a solid month left of apple harvest and I have a solid month left of making dinners and warming them up later, doing things that need to be done alone and making sure that my daughter knows that daddy’s working but he still loves you like crazy and watches you sleep at night even though she doesn’t know it!
One more month and I can handle that! Because this is the man I love, the farm I love and the lifestyle I need!
Winter can’t get here soon enough, right Beth? I never thought those words would be my mantra. But I’m so glad you’re still taking time to enjoy the beautiful fall with your daughter. 🙂
Having been a dairy wife now, for 22 years, I relate to much of what you are saying! My friend (another dairy wife) and I refer to ourselves as “farm widows” during harvest time, because we often attend events alone (or as eachother’s date!). It can be an isolating life…and I can remember the loneliness that I was not prepared for. I also struggled then, with being independant-which is what you HAVE to be when your husband may-or-may-not be around, and then suddenly functioning as a team when he IS around. You can find compromises though…and you can ask for things like “how about we don’t talk about the dairy at all on our date tonight?” (believe me, he won’t think of this concept on his own!). And if possible, find another dairy wife to team up with. Only she will understand the nuances of being in your position. (and you can roll your eyes together when your friends complain about their husbands having to “work overtime” -for which they are being handsomely paid- and not getting home until 7:00pm! ) :]
You nailed it, Amy. This time of year is all about finding a community of girlfriends who understand (whether they are farming, football, or landscaping widows) AND learning to be independent. And your comment about “overtime” made me snort out loud. Ha! What a concept.
I am honored to have produced a snort from you! 😉
Overtime! lol love this…I have had friends talk of their husband working overtime or trying to get overtime…I just smile quietly, and think if only ;).
I’m dating a dairy man and find comfort in your words.
I’m so glad, Carol!
Thank you so much for posting such truth!! I came across your blog one night when it was 8 o clock and my dairy farmer husband was still at work and I was so sick of being alone all the time …I had a 4 and 6 year old begging for daddy to put them to bed, trying to nurse an infant, getting everyone ready for bed, cleaning up dinner, etc alone. I googled “what it’s like to be married to a farmer” and your blog came up at the most perfect time! It showed me I am not crazy or alone. I am a full time mommy to 3 beautiful children, it’s exhausting to say the least and we cherish every second we get with our dairy farmer. I can relate to almost everything you say in your blogs, well except not having children of course as that adds a whole new mess into the dairy farm marriage lol…but this tells me that all farmers are the same. It’s really quite amazing…I too had NO idea what farm life was about. There’s so many similarities between your husband and mine…I think we are all around the same age too! So needless to say I really enjoy reading your posts, it sounds all too familiar in everything you say. One thing is for sure though….you won’t find more devotion and loyalty, or harder workers :). And now I deal with my 4 year old son who begs and begs to work with daddy all the time. He knows all about the cows and how everything is done at the farm. He is the happiest when he is at “work” with daddy, which tells me it really is in their blood. It’s very neat to see. I look forward to your posts as they make me laugh, and make me feel validated in my feelings as a farm wife! Not many people understand what it really takes, So please keep them coming.
Tara, your comment brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad you found some validation here. And you are supermom. 🙂 I can only imagine the chaos children will throw into the mix!
Like you I was having a very, VERY rough night by myself. All alone. Again. Crying. Frustrated. And did the same thing : googled “being a farmers wife” .
It takes a very strong, loving woman to do what we do on a daily basis. I am only 26 years old and of course, I would love to be that girl that you see who is out all the time with her man, dinners, dates, movies… that type of thing. But after I met *my* farmer and fell in love with him, I knew that this was the life for me. I love him so much, I would do any thing for him! And as far as kids go, I have told him that I am excited for when we start having babies because t hen I wont always be alone and I will always have someone to eat my food that I cook! haha. Thanks for giving me insight though into life with kids… it probably doesnt solve of every problem I have of loneliness huh?
God bless you and your family!
Aw Thanks Samantha! I think we have all been there by the sounds of it 🙂 Too funny we both did the same thing. It’s an exciting thing to look forward to growing your family! I’m slightly jealous as we are done with having babies at 29…seems so weird and hard to say I will not be pregnant again…but 3 is enough lol. such an experience that I hope you get!! Our last, a baby girl was born May 2 right as corn was being planted…ugh it was rough, but like always we made it through. This year has been different for us as their was a family split at our farm. so everything was on my husband and bro in law where in years past they mainly took care of cow end. They of course have so many visions for the growth and updates of the farm now that they have taken over. Built a new barn this year, all sorts of crop plans. As you know how it goes :). So my dairy guy was extra stressed and passionate, and worried as he just wants a successful business with happy cows. It was a lot for welcoming a new life into our hearts and home :). So far things are going great for him and his brother, but on my end it can be very frustrating, lonely, etc. And yes even with 3 kids…I feel weird saying I’m lonely having 3 other people with me all the time. But it’s more of a longing for my husband to be with us. I envy families out and about together on a Saturday afternoon as I walk the zoo alone with my kids. I get sad when he misses things that they do, or when there are days that he doesn’t see anyone at all because he went in at 4am and dint get home til 9pm. And I see the torn look in his eyes, because he had a hard and exhausting day of fixing problems but wishes he could have hugged his babies when he got home. And through my selfish moments he is never selfish…he tries to rush home for us on days. One perk of farm life for us is he does have some flexibility (givin there are no real problems of course!) where he will go in extra early lie 3-4am to be home to have dinner with us between 6 or 7…or to make it to one of the kids school functions. xmas morning was hard for me when we first had our children as I was so used to everyone in my family just having the day off. but no he will go in at like 1am to get cows fed so he can make it home by 6-7am and watch them open presents. Bottom line we make it work…but it is a lot of work! It’s a wild ride for sure. And I am just so glad to have found such a community of people and comments I can relate to!! Best of luck to you :)!! Sorry for my rambling lol
Thanks for your vulnerability and sharing your heart. It’s not easy laying it all out there for the world to see.
Thanks for your kindness. This was a post that was pure catharsis. And I needed it!
Wowza! You nailed it. I’m pretty sure I could write a two-page comment in agreement of your post…but I won’t. 😉 The part that I most related with was the envy of friends and family that have “normal” work schedules, get to take paid vacations, etc. Heck, we have to PAY to go on vacation!! I get a little aggravated when people think our lives are so carefree and relaxing because my husband works for himself and can make his own schedule. But you and I both know that couldn’t be further from the truth. They act like we’re living the dream and have all the time in the world to just do whatever we want!! HA!!!! They can’t understand why it’s so hard to get together or why my husband is stressed out a lot. I mean, good grief, he’s just a dairy farmer. How stressful is that? Uggghhhh… It gets really frustrating. I wish more people could really see what this job entails.Then they might not think he had such a dream job. But, you’re right, these dairy men love it. And a happy man (although it’s a stressful life) is a wonderful thing. I love how honest you are. Writing about the downsides is refreshing and I feel a little inspired to find that us farmwives DO have the same feelings and, maybe even sometimes, bitterness about this life we chose. But, you’re post finished with positivity and that’s what it takes to be successful in a marriage to a farmer. And I’m pretty sure that you and I agree that they’re worth it. 🙂
Thanks, Breauna! We are living A dream, but it’s definitely different from the one many people plan on. And yes, those farmers are SO worth it.
I know exactly how you feel! I’ve been married to a dairyman for 34 years. You learn through the years to let go of the petty things and cherish the time you have together. People who don’t live this life think its a crazy way to live but this is truly my husbands passion. At times I felt like a single parent but my children loved the way they were raised. This life is not for everybody but I wouldn’t trade it for anything:)
Wow, Lisa. Congratulations on 34 years! People like you give me hope that I can make a happy, healthy life here. 🙂
Thank you so much for writing your blog. I find myself on the precipice of becoming a farm wife and while I know it will be hard your entries give me a lot of comfort that I’m not alone in the upcoming craziness and that I can manage.
Valerie, I’m glad you found some solace here. Nothing can really prepare you for the insanity of marriage to a farmer, but I wouldn’t trade my life for the world. Good luck to you!
oops, i posted this in the wrong spot, so here it is, haha.
Not only did I never think that I would be so excited to see snowflakes in the air, but I also never thought that I would be sad to see winter go! I literally go through this hissy fit, almost emotional breakdown type crisis where once warmer weather starts setting in, I literally start sobbing andreminiscing on the past winter, all while trying to make peace with the fact that my days are going to start getting very lonely.
Awesome post Jessica! I know what you mean when you say that you feel as if you can’t possibly take one more farm crisis/incident! And yes, some days it feels as if it takes EVERYTHING inside of me to not respond in anger and confusion “CAN’T I GET ONE HOUR OF YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION!?!?!?!”. It is a choice. Sometimes daily, sometimes hourly and even at times minute by minute to choose to support him, love him and encourage him in his passion.
Look forward to reading your next post!
Aw, Samantha. Thanks for your comment. One hour of undivided attention this time of year would be amazing, eh? 🙂 Hang in there!
Jessica, such a well written piece that mirrors my life story! (as I have told you past posts). Just remember, you are never alone 🙂 *raising glass* here’s to the #TheRealDairyWivesofNorthAmerica! Cheers!
What a great name. A reality show in the making. 😉 Cheers!
Thank you so much for reminding me to carry my DM during this time of year! It helps so so much to hear the words from someone else and know I am not alone!
You are definitely not alone! Thanks for the comment, Jessica.
Your post is so true. While there is some flexibility in my dairy farming husband’s schedule each day, the 7 days a week, over and over sometimes feel suffocating. In some ways, I became less lonely when we had kids, yet now with 5 kids under 6.5, I need him more than ever. One day at a time we make it through. As you mentioned, the hardest part for me is the jealousy over friends’ “normal” lives. I find myself pulling away from friendships and wanting to hide at home because they don’t get our farming life and I feel so isolated. When we are so close to the city and I know hardly any other farm wives, I get little support in the understanding of “the daily grind”. So, thanks for the post in recognizing that I’m not alone in this!
You are definitely not alone, Nancy! And I don’t think anyone can ever truly understand unless they’ve lived this life. This is certainly not an easy way to live. Not many people could do it. But I get so much strength and validation from talking to other farm wives. Thanks for your comment!
I really enjoy reading your blog! I was a city girl myself (grew up near Chicago) and then married a dairy farmer in Northeast Indiana. It’s comforting to know of other young women out there that struggle with worries/concerns I have. I sometimes yearn for a “normal” schedule but with farming, nothing is normal. You are the epitome ofb what many of us can relate to as wives of dairy farmers!
Well, who wants to be “normal” anyway, right? 😉 If nothing else, farming teaches us that life is all about being flexible and taking things as they come.
Thanks for sharing. You hit a lot of same feelings many of us have.
You are welcome, Maria. I think it’s important we talk about these feelings openly!
Once again thank you for speaking out and saying what all farmers girlfriends/ wife’s feel but can be too scared to admit too! (I know I am) I had a few days of struggle to give and give to my boyfriend whilst he’s hard working and know that I won’t get much back (which is totally selfish as I’ve realised he gives back in his land, his passion for work and his love for life)
I can tell you that when harvest time is over (as it is in England now) I appreciate him so much and can see his hard work- in his land, his eyes and his working hands, but I love my farmer so much and like all of you I wouldn’t change anything for the world!
Much peace and blessings to you xx
Thanks for your comment, Sophie! I think there’s definitely a balance to be struck, but there’s so much more joy in partnering with our farmers vs. always resenting the realities of farm life. Best to you and your farmer!
It’s funny that this ‘feed’ always emails me at a time that I need it but don’t always know I need it!!
2 years on I’m now living with my farmer (and our ever understanding springer spaniel..) I go through the motions but now that I know I will see him in the small hours of the night or morning it makes me happy, appreciative and loving of this life!
How luck are we 🙂
Thanks for saying the words we are all thinking! I grew up with a dairy dad and now am married to a dairy husband, so I’ve been living this life for almost 33 years! Sometimes I feel sad that it almost feels normal to eat supper alone with our kids. It’s rare that my husband actually eats a meal with us or goes out of town with us, but we are grateful for those times. The kids adore working outside with him, and I wouldn’t trade farm life for anything. Check out the short blog I wrote about how much we appreciate our Dairy Daddy:
What a sweet tribute to your husband! And I will say this: now that I actually have a child, I think it will be so fun for him to grow up on a farm. 🙂
Couldn’t have said it better myself! It’s nice to know I’m not alone! It’s a crazy one this dairy life, especially in the midst of fall harvest, but even when I don’t like it, I love it! I love reading all the ladies comments above. Overtime makes me lol… I long for a day when my husband makes it in the door before 9 or 10, and is not too exhausted to shower before hitting the couch, or take his dishes to the kitchen… or tuck the kids in… ahh well I could go on and on. Or at least get a check in the mail that reflects his efforts *giggle*. My full time job is our 4 little farmers ages 6 weeks to 10 yrs. My MIL laugh about having a “normal” life. Gotta love the crazy, or it’ll make you crazy!
So true: “Gotta love the crazy or it will make you crazy.” There comes a point where we just have to embrace all of this, eh? 🙂
I didn’t marry a farmer, but I grew up a dairy farmer’s daughter so I kind of understand. I remember not seeing my dad much in the house and my mom had 8 kids to take care of. At the time I didn’t realize how crazy it was because it was our normal, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. We really learned how to work as a team because that was the only way the work was going to be done. It also made us very unselfish because we knew we had to work for everything we got, nothing was ever just handed to us.
Since there wasn’t much alone time with dad, we cherished every minute we got with him on the farm. Looking back now, that was my favorite time. I loved milking cows with him because that was my chance to hang with him and actually talk. That was when he really opened up. Now the dairy farm is gone, but my dad is still here thankfully. As an adult I never thought I would miss the farm, but now that the time has passed, I can’t imagine any other way to grow up.
I love this. DM always told me that growing up on a farm was the best and I don’t think I believed him until I had a kid. I can’t wait to watch Anders follow him around the dairy and learn the value of hard work. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for this post, It resonates with me as a townie Farmer’s wife with a 9 week old daughter, even with the Farm and the harvest having to come first my husband has managed to do his utmost to help at home as well, because we are his world, even though he is in’i’m so busy mode’ constantly. Got to love him!!
Hang in there, Rachel. Winter will be here before we know it! (Did I just say that?)
Best blog post I have read in a long time! I am 3 weeks from delivering a 3rd child (in the middle of corn and soybean harvest, no less), and had a major hormonal meltdown. Although I know I will never have a husband who is home every night after working his 9-5 job, I chose my farmer husband, and he chose me. Needed to hear this today, and I love your mom’s reminder. Thanks!!
Oh my, a baby during corn harvest. You have my prayers, Nikki! We’ll hope it rains that day? 🙂
What a comforting blog to come across! I have been married to a farmer for 20 years, some of it very very rocky. I know all too well these feelings. In the end, love gets you though everything. Hold onto that… always
I’m totally guilty of the 50/50 thing and obsession over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Thank you for this; it makes me not feel like I’m not the only one. I was unhappy once, and my dairy farmer suggested selling everything and just getting a job on a farm. I wouldn’t hear of it because like your husband, mine is also dedicated to dairy and cows. So I proceeded to suck it up and hug my cat more. I would never dream of taking away something that someone loves so much. I even grew up on a dairy and still have to remind myself that it is a lifestyle, not a career. I must say, I’ve gotten better at reacting to cancellations or tardiness due to the farm. Thanks again for this!
Your comment about the dishes made me laugh. I used to play the game of taking-out-the-trash chicken and would ALWAYS lose. Thanks for your comment, Katie!
This post is my favorite! Even thought I just started following your blog a few days ago you have truly given me hope. I to am from the city, I love everything about the city especially my Starbucks ! I’m in my last year of college and somewhere in between my four years here I fell in love with a dairy farmer. He’s so perfect for me in so many ways, but sometimes in a quiet place in my mind I can’t help but think can I deal with losing him almost 24/7 to work? Can I deal with talking about nothing but cows for the rest of my life ? Can I deal with living my life lonely sometimes? I have found so much peace in reading your blog and how you’ve adjusted to it all. It gives me hope that soon enough I’ll be ready to be in your shoes and be as selfless as you are.
Whew, thanks Nicole. Though I don’t know how selfless I am most of the time. I get super cranky during corn harvest with the best of them. 🙂 I guess the best thing we can do is talk to our men and try to find ways to understand each other and find balance. It’s a lot of work, but it’s possible!
Thank you for your wonderful post! I am 27 and I grew up on a dairy farm with my whole family- aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. This reminds me of my mother, doing everything on her own, staying strong, making dinner, lunches, working full time so we could have health insurance, taking us to 4H, sports, other activities, making sure we had the best of a farm life and a “normal” one also. The farm always came first to my dad. Farming is a hard life and no one can really truly understand unless you have lived it! Sometimes i never understood why mom chose the life she did and why she even married my dad some days because he was hardly ever in our house! But now I realize why: my parents have been married for 30 years, they are wonderful example of a strong marriage, my dad is a honest hard worker and it runs in his blood. My mom is his rock when things go wrong. It took me a long time to come to terms with my dad not being there for me as much as I needed him growing up, I too had resentment and i think my mom did too at some points. I love and admire my dad more now than ever and I am so thankful I got to grow up the way I did and now I fully realize how hard of a job both of my parents had. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything and even though I only live about 15 minutes away in another town, it’s not quite “home” 🙂 it takes a strong, honest, loving, hardworking, independent woman to be a farmers wife and it sounds like you are doing a great job at it! Thanks again for revealing your words and thoughts, I’m sure my mom would agree with you!
Thank you for sharing your story, Jessica! This put a lump in my throat. I’m learning that this really is a hard life, but most people wouldn’t change it. 🙂
I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog! I grew up a country girl on the farm helping out my family and I also help my husband farm. I love being in a tractor more than anything! However, I still feel your pain every spring through fall. There are nights when he doesn’t need me and I’m left at home to fend for myself. Dinner schedules are crazy. You can’t make plans with friends together. Sometimes I have to attend weddings alone. However, we lived a blessed life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Enjoy your quiet time to yourself. I loved this post. I am going to share it with a few of my city girl turned farm wife friends. A lot of my friends struggle with this season as well, but with time, we will all learn to adapt! Looking forward to future posts. Wishing you and your husband a safe harvest season!
I often fail at the grace aspect of acceptance but we keep on plugging along. Your post was wonderful and insightful thank you for clarification of the innerworkings,of my mind as odd as that may sound. We run a direct market farm and my DH spends an enormous amount of time marketing. It gets very frustrating when crisis occurs and marketing has to happen. But we get along and are trying to regularly schedule “us” time. This is merely sending the kids out to play and watching a movie but it’s something! Thank you again!
I happened across your blog, and bit did it hit home. I have been with my DM for almost 22 years and married for nearly 15. With a full time off the farm job and three active girls ages 4, 9 & 13, the “single farm wife/mother” feelings happen frequently. It is very hard, but I know it is his passion, and that my girls love to be on the farm with their daddy. The balance is hard always, but he is a wonderful, hard working man. Bless you!
Well said! Your blog provides me so much comfort! I enjoy reading it to provide me with some perspective and reflection about my own life as a farm wife. My DM is young, 28, so I can relate to you a lot about the passion and determination it takes for a young DM to handle the pressures of building the future of the farm. I often read your blogs out loud to him, and we both get a good laugh out of it because it describes our relationship so well! We are expecting our first child this November (who would try to have a baby in the freezing cold at the end if the year? Well a dairy farming couple would!) Just in time for my hubby to be “slower” at work, and we still get our tax write off! 😉 Thank you for your blog!
I could write a book in response to your blog – but let’s just say your words were so spot on – and exactly what I needed to see today. We all need to be reminded what attracted us to these guys in the first place. They did not change. Bless you for your words!
I have been the wife of a dairy farmer for 24 years now. I agree, May – October is a very stressful time! I’m ready for winter!
Although my husband isn’t a dairy farmer, he has extreme passion for what he does. Therefore his mind never rests (unless his favorite football/baseball team is on) and he works alot, but not quite as much as your DM. Your post really made me realize a lot about our love and marriage, as I have always looked to the families going for a walk together in the evenings as I push our 2.5 and 1 year by myself. My friends talk about how their husbands are home by 6 and I can’t help but feel jealous. However, his passion and wins at work energizes him when he (finally 🙂 ) gets home to be a great husband, father and friend. Thanks again for your post, I need that.
Being a farmers wife is hard and sometimes I forget it’s even harder for my farmer husband. Thanks for the encouragement through your blog and reminder to keep supporting him!
Hi there, first congratulations on your baby to be! Just found you while doing some research for a piece on farming wives. Just wanted to say that I can relate to this….and your mother is right! Also, are there any neighbours (non family) that you could forge a friendship with? I love everything about my new life, but the isolation factor is a challenge at times.
Wishing you the best, happy to find your blog! Imen xx
I just ran across your blog yesterday and have been reading all the old posts. They are wonderful! When I started dating two years ago the first thing my sister said to me (she married her farmer ten years ago) was “Please tell me it’s not a farmer!” Guess what. He is a farmer. We didn’t know what she had learned so long ago – it was going to be tough and take patience and a ton of commitment. Not only that but we live 8 hours from each other. This time of year especially, when the farm is really busy and neither of us can make a weekend trip for a while, it can be difficult but it’s always worth it. Thanks for creating this community of support.
I can totally relate to this. It is so hard not to row. We rowed tonight and I feel guilty. Any nonfarmers don’t understand. You’re not alone 🙂
I think a spat here and there is inevitable, but it’s good to know there are others experiencing the same challenges we do! It’s a lot of work to have a great marriage AND a great farm 🙂
I just wanted to add to the many comments thanking you for this post. It’s so often I find myself feeling jealous of non-farming families, frustrated by the long lonely days, and guilty for complaining about the hard times that come with the life we’ve chosen. Especially this time of year (July) when all of my friends and family are enjoying vacations with their spouses while I’m running after two small children by myself. But what I appreciate most about your post is the understanding of why we do it and put up with it all – because it is the hardworking, passionate, driven qualities of our husbands that we love most. I’m a dairy farmer’s wife who grew up in the city and have very few friends who are in the same position. They think it’s selfish of my husband to not come on holidays, miss bed times, or not help with household chores because he’s too busy in the barn – it’s nice to know someone else gets it! I often think about the generations before, when there were more people farming and larger communities of women supporting one another. Now we can do it online!
Although I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times, but, I bet you will find the feeling of pride and love of your husband’s passion increases as your little one gets older! It makes life even more complicated, but the payoff is much more profound! I love it when my daughter tells me she wants to be a farmer like daddy (although was very upset when I told her she probably couldn’t have a unicorn farm) or when my two year old son falls and scratches his knee but gets right back up without a tear because he’s already used to a life outside.
Thanks again for a wonderful post and a great blog.
I’m full of gratitude for this humbling post. I’m home alone again as DM is out doing chores at the farm and I chose to have a bit of a girly, dramatic, tearful, “why me?” moment (all I was missing was being sprawled on the floor with my legs kicking and my fists pounding the floor). Thank heavens for your post. It brought me so much comfort.
I have lived with my DM for almost a year now, and I realize now how much he is away and how lonely I often am. However, your 50/50 comment was PROFOUND to me. I work full time as a teacher and find myself tackling not only those demands but the demands of our home, as well. For example, my girlfriends squeal with laughter when I tell them I cut the grass – they just don’t understand that if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done! (They’re also slightly high maintenance and all married or engaged to 9-5ers do I don’t blame them for their ignorance. Haha!) I often feel like I’m “going at it alone”, and that DM doesn’t see or care how it has affected me and our relationship. Your post reminded me to take a breath, shake it off, and realize that this isn’t the case at all. As many have said, it is a lifestyle. The amount that he works isn’t a reflection of his lack of desire to help out at home. It’s just his life. And I need to accept it, or we’ll both be miserable. I try hard to stave off the loneliness – I even taught myself to hand knit, for goodness’ sakes (one scarf down, just sayin’). I need to learn to fill my time productively and positively. Also, I’m working on getting him to let me adopt a cat – haha! Cause seriously, it’s mad quiet around here sometimes. I need a cat people. The sunfish in my pond just ain’t cuttin it.
Love to you and all those in the same boat. Keep on paddling!
Laura (Ontario, Canada)
The 9-5ers will never understand, Laura, but I’m glad you do! And a cat (or dog) can be a great way to get some company. I’ve had many a heart-to-heart with our border collie. 🙂 Good luck!
Wow I didn’t really know what to think when I read this. I’m only 21 and my partners 23 we are from England and I have only been with him for just over a year and yes he is a livestock farmer. When we first started dating I wasn’t bothered by how busy he was. Even when I had to help lamb a ewe in my brand new dress and heels all ready to go out I didn’t seem to mind. But now every time I seem to organise something, he seems to be busy doing something else. There is no simple way of just planning a day out, or arranging to meet with friends for coffee. And as you said, I get jealous of other friends being able to do even the shopping together. I also struggle with then just going by myself cause I feel like I should be helping him to make his life easier. To see that you said it doesn’t get easier makes me worry that I’m not good enough for him, but at the same time it sounds like lots of people are feeling the same as me. Guess I’ve just got to keep loving him and supporting him and being grateful for everything he does manage to do with me (even when he should be doing something else).
I just came across this blog posting and it is so very true! I was raised on a angus beef farm with a small grain operation. I married into a huge grain operation pushing 2,000+ acres (big for a small town in Ohio) and last year my husband and I decided to add on and built a barn big enough to add 2400 pigs. Already we have had our fair share of troubles with the barn, and I have had to learn a lot of patience and understanding. I’ve given up asking for a summer vacation and take a motorcycle ride with him whenever I get it. Thank you so much for letting me know I’m not alone in this!
Karla, you’re definitely not alone!
I’m a city girl living on a farm with my farmer fiance. Needless to say I hate my life but love him so much. I’d give anything to move back to busy city life. Don’t know how you girls do it with a smile.
It’s all about finding the joy. I had to admit to myself that I was happier WITH him (even if it meant living in the country) than I would have been without him in the city. Wishing you the best! And I have two words for you: online shopping. No lines! No crowds! It’s the best. 😉
I read your article and some of the readers notes and it inspired me a bit. Which I really need this week. Is there anyone else out there who lives on one very small farm but travels 200km with her husband weekly. For a couple of days to plant crop etc on a 2000 acre property. I find it very lonely as due to constantly moving I have no female contacts away there and feel very bored. Also we are 68 and 60. And my husband will never retire but I feel abit resentful. I could not live in a town home though. Any ideas
To the young farmwives out there: I am approaching 50. I grew up on a dairyfarm and knew the sacrifices. I married a guy only five miles from me on a beef, hog and crop operation. I wanted to be a farmwife, but my mother-in-law kept close hands on “her job” – our relationship has been always strained. I operated like a single parent and raised three children. The only contact I had with the farm was taking lunch out to the field. I freelanced some work from home but never a steady paycheck and eventually made my way into a nonprofit as their technology person. His folks would not sell the farm to us until last year (they are approaching mid-70s). All of a sudden, I am doing the work my mother-in-law did, but with a full-time job. This means bookkeeping before, after work and on weekends. I help out like load hogs at 3 am, sorting cattle, and making hay. I am desperately and quickly trying to learn all facets of the operation, since I am responsible in case anything happens. It is a sickening feeling to be in. We are stretched so thin. My oldest just joined the operation, and my youngest is a freshmen in high school. I used to complain to my husband about my job, but it stressed him listening to my unhappiness, that I just shut my mouth. I listen very patiently to his hopes and dreams, because I know it helps him to think and process better. I am trying to get myself in a position that I can work from home, since my round-trip commute to work is 1 hour. Even though it is a hard life, my husband is so happy to be rid of his mother, who built a new house and moved off the main farm a few miles away. I am a new mother-in-law myself and I pray every day to be a better woman than my MIL was to me, and always include my beautiful daughter-in-law in the business. I always knew the farm could not realistically provide a full time job to both me and my MIL, but I can start training my daughter-in-law so she won’t get dumped into the mess that I was dumped into.
Thanks for the post, you describe the situation fully and your struggle parallels mine closely. It beings me comfort knowing I’m not alone. I’m working full-time an hour away from our home/farm, we have 2 girls (2 years old and 5 months old), and my husband works full-time off the farm on top of partnering with his dad in crop farming and maintaining the family farm. Many week nights and most weekends I am alone with the girls after having worked full days and commuted to and fro… add the night time feedings of a newborn, morning massacre of getting kids ready in the morning, daycare drop off, and the whole pumping and storing breast milk into the equation and some days I wonder how I’ll survive (seems a bit dramatic, but I mean it!). I often resent that he’s not home to help and he resents that I am not more accepting. I’m just trying to take it day by day right now, reserving a wee bit of sanity by hoping that things will become easier once the girls are more self sufficient.
I feel like the opposite. My family moved to a farm since my husband keeps bragging he grew up on a 100 acre farm and it’s what he’s been wanting to go back to. We currently have 5 acres, rabbits, chickens,pigs and dog kennel on top of the usual gardening keeping up the land maintaining and so on. He has a full time job but promised all the great work we would do here. Now I find myself getting up at 5 and not being done work until the animals are all in their houses at night. When my husband gets home from work he’s tired and doesn’t lift a finger around here. I love the lifestyle and animals but fed up of doing it all on my own especially since I am not handy with tools and building. The animal population keeps going up and they don’t have big enough house or run space and I don’t know what to do about it. After 2 weeks of nagging about a medicine cabinet that was broken and the new one sitting around he finally installed it with a whole lot of swearing and arguing. I don’t know what to do anymore. There isn’t enough hours in the day for me to do it all on my own plus havING a multi disability child at home with me 24 7
I found your article Google searching, “getting along with your husband during harvest”. I’m a farm wife also, with he and I working side by side every day. It’s an absolute blessing, but the crazy times turn us into different people. Harvest is the worst. Everything is a trigger. Your article brought me to shameful tears, and was just what I needed. Thank you.
I’m reading this today feeling like I could have written it myself. We do beef and hay but we also both have to have off farm jobs because we’re too small. We live on the farm he grew up on and he claims to love farming but a lot of days I question whether that’s true of if he just feels like he can’t let his dad and grandpa down (both passed on) by quitting. he puts in 40 and I put in 30 off the farm and when I’m not at work I’m at home, we have 2 kids under 2. I feel so lonely, this year has totaled the most arguments that we’ve had finance and farm related we are deep into the negatives of time available for friendship, love, romance, relaxation and most of our conversations these days are purely logistical, who’s going where, when, why and how kind of thing. I don’t have any friends or family where we live and the daily grind of taking care of two little kids and trying (and failing) to maintain the house, cook, clean, and go to work is wearing me thin. I wish there was a support group or something like that for farm wives near me where I could make some friends.
I so relate to all of this, Meg! This season of young kids is hard enough without adding farming on top of it. DM and I are often like ships in the night. It can be so exhausting. Saying a prayer that you find someone to connect to! Do you have MOPS in your area? Sometimes it only takes one person. I have one close friend who is a mom and farm wife and it makes all the difference when I want to send angry texts about the corn chopping schedule. My heart is right there with you and you are NOT alone!
Do you have children?
I didn’t when I wrote this post. But now we have two kids and one due RIGHT during corn harvest. It’s definitely only gotten harder now that there’s more to juggle!
I too am married to a dairy farmer. It is not easy life. It’s definitely a love-hate kind of thing and lately more of the latter. We’ve been married 10 years and have 4 kids. We haven’t had a vacation for more than a couple days, since our honeymoon, 10 years ago this last August. There are not many dairy farmers out there, and even less Dairy wife’s to understand the challenges this lifestyle. Not that it’s a challenging I really do love the calf’s, heifers, and cows! And I love watching my kids play on the farm! But again the challenges! There’s not a lot of us time Or family time, that’s not working. All the housework, yard work and child rearing falls on my shoulders. Is not because he doesn’t want to, he just doesn’t have the time. He’s so exhausted by the time he gets in. Truly believe nobody works harder then a dairy farmer! When he is in the house I want him to play with the kids, not have to discipline them. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of time left for him and I to spend together, and there’s definitely no me time. There are a lot of blessings that come this lifestyle, and a lot of chapters, not many people can understand.
From one dairy wife to another!
Hi! Wanted to thank you for this and let you know it still has a lot of impact even though it was written many years ago. My farmer husband and I have been married for 28+ years and he is a very strong type A personality. Even though I’m an independent person, I still struggle with being alone 8 months of the year and my at times un-Christian thoughts. A lot of the time his farming frustrations carry over into the rest of our lives which makes me resent the farm. Your post is still great inspiration for reminding us gals that our husbands need our support, that they would do anything for us and live us unconditionally, that we are feeding so many other lives and really doing good and that for everything there is a time and season – especially in a farming life! Thank you.
I hate this ****. I don’t have any money, I have to do whatever he says, I am trapped out here.