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Jun 12, 2014

Sometimes I Struggle


I am a farmwife.

As simply defined in Webster's dictionary dating back to 1874 : a farmer's wife

That's it. 

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. 

16 comments:

  1. You know I love this post so much :) I think one of the things I struggle with too that I didn't mention was unexpected visitors. Where I come from you call before you come over---you don't just show up. My house isn't always pristine, but I would at least like the opportunity to clean up before company shows up! I have often thought "we will never move, ever" but this (for me) makes me happy. No more house-building, no big move, I truly love where we live and don't want to leave and we might have a vacation home somewhere one day too. You might not be a "housewife" but you are an amazing farm wife. I think we need to define it as it suits us. I know I will never live up to the woman/farm wife my mother-in-law is....I admire her so much, but that's okay. It doesn't work for me and I am who I am. I am glad I don't have to do the hot meal in the field thing, we only do that a few times a year when they're on our land that's about 20 minutes away, but usually it's my MIL that steps up to do that and I'm so thankful to be on a multi-generational farm for that reason!

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  2. I can't say AMEN enough! This speaks right to my heart! It is the perfect amount of truth that many women can relate to... all while still being about you and your experiences! Thank you for sharing and for publish on this post! It is something more us women in Agriculture need to be sharing about! It is empowering to connect over the "shared struggle" and my life is proof of that! :)

    Nice work my friend, this is beautiful!

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  3. Great post! I think it is important that we acknowledge our struggles and talk about them. Even though each of us struggle in different ways there are still similarities within the struggle. A post like this is encouraging. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Well Said Miss Kelly! I don't can; I gave up on a garden years ago. I don't hang our clothes on a clothes line because it WAS on the south side of the house, same side as the cow lot, and the majority of our winds come from the south during "hanging out" weather. I get lonely one day and am so excited to be away from people the next. I do bake and cook because in all of our county there is one fast food business and very few restaurants. It is a struggle to learn "on the go" when Steve and his dad have been doing things for years. I could go on, but you have already hit the nail on the head with this post! Great job!

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  5. This is so great! I laughed, shed a tear and totally understand. The floors....I will never get past the floors! And let's be real, I am baking a pie once a month to see if I can tackle homemade pie crust but I would really rather make a Moscow Mule in my fancy copper mug! My farmer wife blog post is coming next week. It's been almost a year! Thanks for sharing and being so honest!

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  6. Amazing and honest post Kelly! I can so relate to all of the points you made! I still struggle after 10 years, I was just talking to my MIL about this the other day because I was REALLY struggling, and she still struggles after 31 years. Each farm season brings a new season of life and all the struggles and realities along with it. Whether it be adjusting to a new lifestyle, the weather, kids, or for us this season, it was moving in the middle of planting. It literally took my husband and his buddies 3 hours to get every box, that I packed by myself, and all of our furniture moved into our new house. They all sat and ate lunch and then Neil was back in the tractor, and I was left to unpack and set up our new house alone, with 3 excited kids running around. I REALLY struggled this season. But we made it through another season , and there will be many more. Thank you for sharing. It is always reassuring to know that we aren't alone in our struggles as farmwives!

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  7. Kelly, this is such a raw, heart-felt post! Coming from the camp of being a farmers daughter I can understand and appreciate your struggles. While I'm not a farm wife, rather a seed salesmans wife, there are several struggles that I can TOTALLY relate! Hello clean and orderly house (most likely stems from my Type A personality), keeping my mouth shut (that's not a reality) and the moving issue! I was bitten a long time ago by the travel bug and have a serious case of Wanderlust! I'm always up for something new or an exciting adventure, Matt is not. I do can fruits and veggies from our garden (Matt's little farm!), bake bangin' cinnamon rolls and my apple crumble pie is pretty dang good, line dry our laundry when I can (to save some $$) and knit, but like you said mostly as a hobby and for sentimental reasons... preserving memories of family traditions!

    Thanks for being open and honest with us to share what you've been going through!

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  8. Kelly I have been a farm wife for 35 years and I still find myself struggling some days and I have been and will continue no doubt to have those thoughts and feelings that you struggle with now. After long days of baling hay I have been known to warm up a can of beans or ravioli and serve to my husband after he comes home from his off farm, bringing in the mony job, then we will both head out to finish up. I will not lie to you there will be a lot of those tough days but as we laugh while heading out holding hands after eating that warmed up can of beans and know how far we have come and we made it and are stronger for it I smile and am grateful I pushed through and no it was not easy. I still love my farm husband and we are very much equal and he and I have adjusted to this new way of farming. Take care you will make it remember to laugh and forget the little annoying things. Great post. Hug B

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  9. Kelly I have been a farm wife for 35 years and I still find myself struggling some days and I have been and will continue no doubt to have those thoughts and feelings that you struggle with now. After long days of baling hay I have been known to warm up a can of beans or ravioli and serve to my husband after he comes home from his off farm, bringing in the mony job, then we will both head out to finish up. I will not lie to you there will be a lot of those tough days but as we laugh while heading out holding hands after eating that warmed up can of beans and know how far we have come and we made it and are stronger for it I smile and am grateful I pushed through and no it was not easy. I still love my farm husband and we are very much equal and he and I have adjusted to this new way of farming. Take care you will make it remember to laugh and forget the little annoying things. Great post. Hug B

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  10. Kelly - This really hit home! I needed to read it and I need to believe it. For me, I married the displaced cowboy who will one day return to the Kansas ranch. With me beside him. I'll be leaving Indiana. It's a decision I consciously made, and one I think of daily. Plus side is you can always come visit us on the ranch if you need some time from the black dirt :) Thank you for this post -

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  11. Thank you so much for writing this. I am on the other end of the spectrum from many of you - I met my farmer only three months ago, but can't imagine not texting or talking to him daily. I don't think I'll get the farmwife title anytime soon - and that's fine - I'm happy with farm girlfriend LOL. But I have had a hard tendency to see everything through rose colored glasses. This post is so refreshing to bring me back to the present, and realize that farming can be a struggle just like anything else. I don't work due to a disability, but could be responsible for all the accounting, as well as cooking, cleaning, gardening, sewing and canning. So thank you for reminding me that it's not all sunshine and roses!

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  12. Your post is very good. I like the reality of things and I am enjoying your blog as well.

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  13. You always seem to know what to say and when to say it. I think the guys have it a little easier because they just know what their place is whereas we women have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and then we question our own choices and abilities. I know I am constantly struggling trying to figure out what my role will be shortly and where we will end up. But at the end of the day, we are who we are. And there is nothing wrong with that!

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  14. I can't say anymore good things about this than what have already been said... so I'll just throw this out there. You are most defiantly not the worst country lifestyle blogger, I am! Lol. Because I never blog anymore! But I did make my own curtains recently, but my floors are fairly dirty. To each their own :)

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  15. This is a really beautiful post, Kelly. It was interesting to read from a farmer's wife perspective and hear the struggles you all face. I can't say I understand, because I'm not married to a farmer, but I can imagine it would be difficult in any relationships where one partner's career overtakes both partners' lives. You are NOT a bad blogger (and sound like a damn good farmwife!), I love your blog + think you're always open + honest about important topics in farming :)

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  16. Kelly, I just came to your post, two months after the fact, via a Facebook post. I so love this. And I love that you're embracing the farmwife title, with all the honor and with all the changes that have come with it over the years. I struggle with trying to be the farmwife my MIL is, while also holding down a full-time job in ag journalism and raising three kids. I constantly remind myself that it has to be ok if I can't keep up. Because I can't. At any rate, well done. And hang in there.

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