As simply defined in Webster's dictionary dating back to 1874 : a farmer's wife
That's all Webster and his posse could come up with.
Some of you might find that definition quite offensive.
Not me. I get it.
You see, we farmwives all have one thing in common: We are married to a farmer.
But that's mostly it, folks. That's all we have in common as farmwives.
You see, my life as a farmwife is different than yours and your life as a farmwife is different from mine. That's why Mr. Webster's definition couldn't go into much more detail. He'd have to create a whole new book just to define us farmwives and all we do.
But there is one more thing we have in common as farmwives and that is, we struggle. And within those struggles, there are differences.
My name is Kelly. I'm a new farm wife. And I struggle.
I struggle because, I have a powerful title to live up to. Not everybody gets to be a farmwife. More than likely not everybody wants to be either.
As newer farmwives, we have stereotypes, legacies, traditions and our own lives to sort through. We want to do things the way our grandmothers, mothers or mothers and grandmothers in law did, but sometimes we just can't. What may have worked for prior generations, doesn't always work for us.
Sometimes the modern feminist way of thinking in farm communities doesn't gain a lot of popularity with the less modern generations.
I struggle with getting a hot meal to my husband every time he is in the field. Sometimes I am in the field myself. Sometimes I am gone all day. Sometimes I have other things to do like mow the yard before it turns into a hay field. Sometimes I am trying to make a living myself.
There are times when I do finally get around to planning a hot meal that honestly, I gobble something down at the house and clean the kitchen FIRST before taking something to my husband. You may think I'm selfish, but it's just more practical. I can grab a plate, eat quickly, pack up a to-go meal and put everything else away allowing me to stay out longer and come home to a clean kitchen.
I struggle with letting someone walk in my house with their dirty shoes. I spend a lot of time keeping my home clean and in good order. When I mop, it's a 10-20 minutes process for just one room start to finish. I am not going to let someone, not even my hard-working husband, who can take 30 seconds to remove their dirty boots, waltz into my dining room scattering filth everywhere. I was once told that I live on a farm and I will never have a clean house; that I needed to get use to it. I really struggle with that attitude and concept. I will have a clean house.
I struggle with Sundays no longer being a day of rest. Three day weekends are filled with work instead of play. Sundays and three day weekends are our time to catch up on all the work around the house and farm that didn't get done during the busy farm seasons. Sometimes they are even spent farming. Most of the yard work will be done alone as the farming comes first.
Many stereotype the husband as the "lawn ranger" but in your farm families, it's usually the wife. I'll admit though, I really do love mowing. It is a great farm wife perk! Sometimes our Amish neighbors tend to stare when we are out working the farm on a Sunday, but our modern ways and careers off the farm have lead to this schedule.
I struggle with keeping my mouth shut. I can't pretend that everything is okay. I can't speak if I only have something nice to say. I have a voice. I want to be heard. I will be heard. Just because I am heard, does not mean I am complaining or whining. I believe we are happier if we say what's on our mind rather than bottling it up for years to come, living a life of misery behind fake smiles. Some words can sting, but in the long run, I'd like to think that they are for the better. I'd like to think that we can learn from each other's struggles.
I don't struggle with using a filter. Believe me. I do know that there are some things in life that are better left unsaid.
I struggle with the fact that we will never, ever move. I mean ever. We are married to our ground and we are married to our farming. We wouldn't give that up for anything. Not even a retirement home in California. This was a choice I made when saying, "I do" but it's a choice I sometimes struggle with especially when we travel and see new places. What would it be like to live in another state? Another country?Sometimes I feel like we as human beings are placed exactly where we are suppose to be, even if it doesn't feel the most appealing at times. Even if sometimes we struggle there.
I struggle with the fact that I don't line dry, can from the garden, bake pies from scratch, churn my own butter and sew amazing quilts like our ancestors did. I buy my green beans from a can off the grocery store shelf. I am the worse country lifestyle blogger, ever. I am a farm wife. Not a housewife. There is a difference. You can be both but with the different demands required by today's standards, we tend to stay busy in other ways. A lot of young farm wives still do line dry, can, bake and sew but they are hobbies or preferences, not tools of survival like they once were for our ancestors.
We modern farmwives are spending more time in the fields. We are learning about farm techniques. We are advocating for our farms. We are becoming farmers ourselves. We are turning our farmers into farm husbands. And we are loving this transition but we are struggling at the same time
I went to a family friend's wedding years ago, long before I even knew I would become a farmwife. Towards the end of ceremony, before the "I dos," the minster turned to the bride and said, "Melissa, I know you will make a great farmwife. You will take good care of your husband."
I'll never forget that statement. What does it take to make a great farmwife? Does a great farmwife have struggles like I do?
I think a great modern farm wife had an idea what was coming with the territory before she committed, but she isn't afraid to admit when she is struggling. She knows it's okay to laugh but she also knows it's okay to cry. She's committed to her husband but she's also committed to herself.
I wrote this post because sometimes our farm life comes across as folkloric, romantic, whimsical and easy. When blogging, I try to view my life through rose colored glasses, but that isn't being truthful to my readers. I want fellow readers to know, they are not alone in this life. Our life is good, but it's not perfect by any means and it never will be.