Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Truth About Being a Farm Wife

I should have been prepared for being a farmer's wife, or at least I thought I was prepared.
Riding in the combine with my dad.

I mean, I grew up on farm, I had 24 years of experience under my belt when I entered into this marriage.  My credentials for a lifetime as a farm wife were a mile long.  Just look at the list of skills I acquired as I grew up as a farmer's daughter:

-Can operate heavy machinery (tractors, bobcats, dump trucks, and backhoes)
-Drive a stick shift (My first vehicle was a stick shift)
-Successfully stack hay bales
-Knows how to rake hay
-Isn't afraid of a little hard work
-Can drive a truck and trailer
-Can deliver seed to the field when the planter is getting low
-Knows how to haul an anhydrous tank (this is not an easy feat, if you get going too fast that thing will swerve all over the highway)
-Can build fence
-Can move pigs and cattle with the best of 'em
-Can work cattle and hogs
-Knows how to show cattle and pigs
-Won't complain about not having cable TV
-Won't complain about living on a dirt road and never having a clean car, or a dust free house
-Knows how to garden
-Can cook
-Has the ability to remove dirt, and grease stains, and make whites white again when doing laundry
-Will drop everything to help move equipment to the next field
-Understands that there will be busy times of the year

The truth is even with this impressive resume' of farm wife qualities I wasn't prepared for being a farm wife. I wasn't prepared for the long hours a farmer puts in each day. I was well aware of this fact as I grew up; I remember my dad getting home late and leaving early in the morning during planting and harvest seasons. What I didn't put together was the fact that I would be home alone when my farmer husband was in the field. It didn't register that I would be eating diner alone, or waiting until ten o'clock to eat dinner with Adam. I didn't put it together there would be weeks on end where I would only see my husband for a total of a few hours a week, due to the fact he would leave before I got up and get home after I was asleep.

Why am I so conflicted with the facts of life of being a farm wife? I should be thankful my husband works so hard, right? Isn't this the quality that attracted me to him, isn't it one of the qualities I love the most about him? Yes and yes.  It just so happens that this is also the quality I despise the most during certain times of the year.

As a newlywed, Adam not being home at a decent time (and I consider 8pm a decent time) was frustrating for me.  Even though farming has been ingrained in me since birth it was still an adjustment  to actually be married to a farmer.  I would think to myself, "Why am I mad at him for not coming home at a decent time? I know he can't help it, this is his career, and I chose to be a part of it. I knew it would be like this, and grew up with this way of life." It was this fact that was the most conflicting.  If I knew it would be like this and it had been ingrained in me since I was a kid, then why was I having such a hard time with it?

The reason is because I was/am envious. I see my friends with their husbands who have 9-5  Monday-Friday jobs and I'm jealous. I didn't understand why my husband can't just put in a 40 hour week like everyone else and spend the rest of the time at home. The truth is I missed my best friend, and being home by myself just compounded the fact that I wasn't getting to spend time with him.

Another thing I had to get used to was that date nights coincide with whether or not it rains.  If it rains, there is time to go on a date, if it doesn't rain, then date night doesn't happen.  You can probably guess how many dates we've been on in the past six months.  You can also forget about going on a date if it is calving season, unless you count walking to the barn in negative degree weather at 2am just so you can spend an hour with your husband watching a baby calf being born.

I also couldn't understand why he could never commit to going anywhere.  I would send in an RSVP for a wedding six weeks in advance and Adam would never give me an answer on whether or not he would be there. Heck, he can't even tell me the day before the wedding if he can make it. It is either calving season, or planting season, he is either baling hay or harvesting crops.  Honestly, in the three years we've been married I don't think we have been to one of my friend's weddings as a couple. The only way my farmer husband could make it to a summer wedding is if it rained the day of.  I'm still trying to figure out how he made it to our July wedding.  I'm still  hopeful that one of these days I will get to send off an RSVP with a 2 in the space for number attending. In the meantime I will continue to go stag and explain to my friends that I married a farmer and it is either calving, planting, haying, or harvest time and this means he is tending to the crops or making sure the baby calves are born safely.

Even though I spend a lot of nights home alone and attend a lot of events by myself I still wouldn't trade it for any other way of life. The truth is I LOVE the life I have chosen!  I can't imagine doing it any other way or doing anything else. Yes, it is tough being a farm wife, but at the same time I have the opportunity to help grow the food that feeds America and support my hard-working husband who is out in the field everyday taking care of the crops and livestock.

Adam and I have figured a few things out with this crazy way of life as we approach our third year of marriage. Here is some advice for new farm wives and farm couples out there.

-If you are a farm wife, farm fiance, or farm girlfriend my advice to you is to find a hobby.  You will go crazy if you spend your nights just waiting on your significant other to come home.
          -Suggestions for hobbies or things to keep you busy:
                   -Get involved in the community
                   -Volunteer
                   -Gardening
                   -Canning
                   -Decorating the house
                   -Get a job outside of the house
                  -Quilting
                  -Cooking
                  -Running
                 -Start a blog or continue to update the blog you currently have.
                -Help you husband out on the farm when you can.

Cooking has become a new passion of
 mine.
I've started running more. My brother's girlfriend, Kari, and I  have
held each other accountable and trained for a half marathon.  This
is us after running the Rock the Parkway half marathon.  I couldn't
have trained or finished the race without her!
Helping Adam tear out fence. 
         
- Have tractor dates.  Bring your farmer a meal for two and enjoy it while he is working in the field.  A piece of advice on this one, finger foods work best. Don't attempt to bring spaghetti or steak and expect him to be able to eat it as he is maneuvering the tractor around the field.  Tractor dates may be the only time you get to see your husband during certain times of the year.


A cabless, hot, and loud tractor date as Adam
chops silage in August. 
A tractor date as Adam is planting corn. 











-It doesn't matter if you grew up on a farm or not, if you are a farm wife or soon to be farm wife find yourself a support group.  Whether it be your mom, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother or other farm wives in the community these women will help you through the tough times.  If they are a farm wife too then they have experiences to draw from and know what you are going through.  You can talk to them about what is going on and more than likely they will have advice to share. You will also feel better after venting about the situation. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a Facebook page that made me chuckle. It is called the Farm Wives Support Group. It made me laugh because I don't know how many times I've thought that farm wives need a support system.  It has been great to look at the posts on this page and know I'm not the only one going through the crazy times of planting, and hay season right now.

Thanks for sticking with this post until the end, it was a long one!  If you are a farm wife and read this post can you relate, or am I only one who feels this way?

What are some things you do to keep yourself occupied when your farmer husband is working long hours?

What suggestions or advice do you have for farm wives?

A few pictures of my hard-working husband as he works to produce the food to feed the world. I'm so proud of him and all of his the long hours he puts in to take care of the livestock and crops!

Tearing out fence in order to build the new one to keep the
cows in. 
Feeding hay to the calves on an early winter morning.  
Filling the planter with seed. 
Harvesting wheat. 



45 comments:

  1. First, thanks to Adam for the hard work he does each and every day. Second, thanks to you for being a supportive wife to him. He needs that. Even though Todd doesn't work each day on the farm, I can relate as he works nights at a job he enjoys so we also never see each other, and I know what it's like to go stag to everything. There are a lot of people who also work second and third shift we often forget about, but they do it because they have to make money for their family. It stinks, but as you said, find a hobby. In my case it was going back to school and running. Thanks for this post. It takes things into perspective for a lot of us.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Melissa! I do have to remind myself that I am not alone in this and that spouses of our servicemen and women are sacrificing much more than I ever will being a farmwife. It is all about perspective. We will have to compare schedules and see if we can get together to run a race this fall!

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  2. Melissa do u have any advice for me on how to get everything done. I wake up at 530 to feed pigs then go to work for 10 hrs get home a little after 7 feed pigs again and chickens. Only have about two hrs of daylight and have to get everything watered which takes forever. By the time I get done its time for bed and I just can't find the time or energy to get stuff inside the house done. The past 3 months we have been outside working so no time spent inside. During the week I do it all myself and if I'm lucky he is home on weekends.... Any advice??

    Brooke

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Brooke!
      There usually are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. It can be difficult and overwhelming to take on everything at once. I do my best to juggle everything, but in the summer the house gets neglected because we are busy with outdoor chores, work, and taking care of the animals. I try to tackle one room a week and completely clean it top to bottom. When you spread it out over a week it does not seem as daunting. I save Saturdays for laundry, additional cleaning, and grocery shopping if there is time. I hope this helped!

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  3. Can I relate? Holy Cow you described the struggle between knowing how it has to be and loving our life vs. Being envious, jealous and angry perfectly. It is exactly how I feel much of the time!

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    1. Christina, I'm glad you can relate and I'm not the only one dealing with trying times of being a farm wife. Hang in there, and let me know if we need to have a vent session during harvest! :)

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  4. Melissa, I meet your husband tonite at Kyle's wedding. I hqve only read this one blogpost but you are correct about many things. Children will replace any hobbies you have. They are worth it though.

    For anonymous, don't worry how messy your house gets, it is the one constant that never changes. As a farmers daughter and now a farmer's wife for nearly 16 years, I know you will eventually get it all done. My house gets messy as a high school teacher and then helping on the farm but I do keep the dishes clean via the dishwasher and saturdays are for laundry.

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    1. Hey Michelle, This is adam. I'm sorry I really didn't get a chance to say goodbye at Kyle's wedding but I really enjoyed talking to you and your kids. And is your husband Russ that works at Marysville on Kinze planters? I've talked to him on the phone if thats him. Add me on Facebook if you have one. Thanks
      Adam

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    2. Michelle- Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment! I have heard from other farm wives that children will replace those lonely nights. :) We just are not at that point yet. Maybe in a few more years. Thanks for the encouragement! We look forward to hearing more from you on future posts!

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  5. Oh Girl, I can so relate. up till this year I was out there helping them in those very busy times, but I still have my hobbies of cooking gardening, and now quilting....not to mention that I have to try and keep things cleaned up around the house. Now this year, I am still out there, but I'm not always doing the same roles as I was....Since my little boy is usually right there beside me. Caleb and I have had a lot of tractor or Combine dates over the years and I am always bringing meals to the field so we can still eat together. It can be a little crazy at times, but I LOVE every bit of it!!!

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    1. Janet- Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment! I have enjoyed your blog over this past year and it is good to know I have other farm wives to lean on for support! I look forward to visiting more with you in the future, try to stay cool in this crazy heat and pray for rain!

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  6. I feel your pain girlfriend. I been married to a farmer for 12 years and I still get frustrated that he can not commit to anything. I console myself that he is working hard and not sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Oprah. My sports loving and atheletically gifted hubs may not practice baseball with our boys as much as he would like, but they are still spending time with him on the farm learning important skills. I would not trade this life either.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! It is does provide some solace in knowing that our husbands are out there working hard and not sitting on the couch for hours on end. This is a great life we live and although it is hard work and can be challenging I wouldn't trade it either! Your boys are learning important skills on the farm that will take them far in life and working alongside dad is priceless!

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  7. Im the girlfriend of 3years to a farmer. I'm from a suburban area on the east coast, and never thought about farming until I moved to Illinois for school. The farming lifestyle is rough, and I dont know if I'm cut out for it. I love my boyfriend but I often wish he could just be a plumber or something, because at least Id know Id see him! If I want to see my boyfriend I have to be the one to do something about it, which means driving 2hrs to see him (or maybe see him, depending like you said, on the weather), and then 2hrs back to school. Hes a fairly new farmer and insists that things will get better and that he will have more time in the future, but the other farming families in the area seem pretty broken to me, so I dont fully buy what he is saying. I dont want to live a life of feeling sorry for myself and having other friends feel sorry for me. Also I plan to have my own career today, and to be the bread winner of the family. This idea seems super untraditional when dating a farmer, because being a farmers wife seems to be a career in itself! But I grew up with the mentality that dad goes to work, and is in charge of the responsibilities at that job, so it still seems ludicrous to me that I should help out on the farm. To me, he does his job and I do mine. And to all those comments suggesting that non-farming husbands come home and sit on the couch eatting food and watching tv, you are wrong. my dad came home and came to every single school event and sport game, even coached my brother and myself in little league sports we played. We would also bring the dogs on walks, he'd help us with homework, etc. I'm beginning to believe that farmers arent able to do any of this though....however PLEASE correct me if I am wrong. As is evident, I'm still pretty new to this whole farming thing.

    Being a farmers wife also means there will be jobs I wont be able to take, places I will never get to live, and family will always be a plane rid away from. Thank you for your post. None of my friends can relate to my situation so reading farmer's wife blogs are the only sort of support I can find, so I appreciate it. Though the more I read of these the more I realize that maybe this isnt for me. Will be a hard decision because the time I do have with my boyfriend I love, but I dont think I want to spend life just waiting around for these few hours that pop up here and there to spend time together. And then when you throw a family into that....they say farming is a very family friendly business, but from all the farm wife blogs I read the family consists of the wife, the kids, and making a cameo apperance every once and a while is the dad. Sorry for my little rant, Ive just been so confused lately on what to do! This is a whole new world to me and its taking me a long time to figure out.

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    1. Hi KM,

      I am a current farm wife, and just wanted to say that I feel for you. Some of your concerns are very valid and I don't really have a clear cut answer for you. Farming is hard. Period, end of story. But if it is something your boyfriend loves to and is happy, then I think you should be proud of him for having the courage to be in this industry. That's not to say that it won't suck for you sometimes. I am married to a farmer. He works on the farm with his dad right now, so he isn't stuck with all of the work, but someday it will all be his responsibility. Honestly, I don't know if I would be strong enough to hack it in a farm relationship if I wasn't an ag girl myself. I love working with the animals, right alongside my husband. I know you say that's not your cup of tea but have you gone with him while he is farming before? When I see my husband in his element, doing what he loves to do, it reminds me that even though this is hard I made the right choice picking him. I too have a career of my own, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't given up opportunities to be with him. But that's a choice I've made, I still have a job I love and thankfully live in an area where I could do what I love and we wouldn't have to move. We don't have kids yet, but I think whether or not your farmer makes it to your kids events or is an involved dad has nothing to do with his occupation. A guy can be a dad and still make it to the games and events. It's harder than having a 9-5 job, and promises can get broken when things go bad on the farm, but it doesn't mean he won't be involved if he wants to.

      Farm life is about sacrifice, but it is also so very rewarding. Honestly, it has to come down to what you really want and the sacrifices you are willing to make for this boy. I think at the end of our lives we'll all have things we wish we would have done or places we wish we would have seen, but if you've lived happy and with someone you love, shouldn't that count for something?

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    3. KM-
      I think all of us that are married to farmers have felt like we couldn't handle the long hours at one time or another (even those of us that grew up on a farm). I also look at my brother that doesn't work on the farm, but still puts in 10+ hour days and numerous business trips. The farmers life is a lot of hard work and long hours, but the thing that I enjoy the most right now is that our kids can be with us whenever they need to be and get to learn about nature, science and math in a real world setting.

      Yes, you can have your own career when married to a farmer, but it might not be in the location that you have always dreamed. In our area, there are lots of farm wives that have their own career. In fact, I am one of the minority farm wives as I work on the farm full time with my husband. My friends have extremely successful careers in town and learn to adapt to their husbands work schedule or lack there of. All of us seem to find ways to fill the time when our husbands are busy in the fields and most of these ways bring us new friends and improve our community that we live in.

      When we see our husbands doing what they love to do it can be inspiring to say the least. I don't remember who said that you need to find a job that you love and you will never work a day in work life. Most farmers have that job and are tremendously happy guys. The girls that get to spend their lives with these hardworking very dedicated individuals (to both their farm and wife) are some of the luckiest in the world. Good luck on your decision. I wish you all the happiness that your heart desires.

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  8. KM-
    Thank you so much for your comments. I do understand your plight in trying to decide between the farming way of life and choosing the freedom of working where you have to the opportunity to do so. I had this debate too, as I am also a very driven and career oriented person. Adam is from a rural area, as most farmers are, and I wanted a career where I would be able to move up the corporate ladder. This is something that is difficult to do if you don't live int eh city. When it came time to graduate from K-State and the job offers were wanting me to move to Kansas City, Omaha, or some other city, I had to make a choice: love or my career. I chose love, and fortunately it has worked out well for me. Adam understood that if I was going to choose the farming way of life I also needed to be happy with my career as well. This is one of the reasons I decided to pursue pharmacy school. Pharmacists are in demand in rural areas and are needed everywhere. This profession will allow me to even work from home or part time and still make a decent salary. I will have career satisfaction in knowing I'm making a difference by helping people, and I will also be able to support my family, while still being able to live in a rural area to support my husband's profession. We are making the farming way of life work for us, and it is possible to have a career and still be a farm wife, you just have to compromise and find what works for the two of you.

    In reference to your comment about dads who are farmers not having time to go to their kid's sporting events, they do make time. Yes, they may be in the middle of harvest or planting season, but my dad made it to most my high school games I played at home and away. I know that Adam's dad takes time to attend all of his kid's activities and events going on at school. In our community there are several farming families and the farmers are all there on Friday nights supporting the girls and boys basketball teams. Family is a priority with the farming way of life and they will take time off to watch their children in the events they participate in.

    It sounds like you are still on the fence as to whether or not you want to choose the farming lifestyle. It will require some time to weigh the pros and cons and I wish you the best of luck as you decide what will be the best for you in the long run. Please don't hesitate to reach out to current farm wives, they will be more than willing to share advice and their stories in order to help you make your decision.

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    1. Hope it is okay to relpy KM and Born to Pharm. I too am a farmer's wife and a farmers daughter. But for me this is the only life I ever wanted, but not always the life I have gotten to have. In college I was not for sure where I would go or what I would do, then I met my husband and I knew that I would follow him anywhere. And I did, right to the panhandle of Texas. We were hundreds of miles away from family and friends and had to rely on one another. It was just what we needed as a new couple though. After a year in Texas we moved to western Kansas and stayed there for six years. Again, far away from family, but we made it work and made a Kansas family. Now we are back home in Missouri and on my families farm. This is what I always wanted, but was not for sure if it would ever happen. You see KM, you can have a great life, a very blessed life if you chose to be a farmers' wife. It is hard at times and you wont always see him, but if his calling is to work the ground and raise crops and animals, then that is what he should do. You have to decide for yourself what you want. That is what we all have to do. I want my children raised in the country and fresh air of a farm. I want them to have what I had. A dad who is hard working and dedicated, not only to them but to the farm and the local community.

      I don't know if this helped KM, but I love this life! I know that I would have never married my husband if I thougt for a minute that we did not want the same things out of life.

      If you need another farm wife blog, please check mine out. It is still new, but I talk a lot about what we do on the farm together as a family. Best of Luck to you!

      www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

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  9. I'd be happy to visit with you, as I am a farm-wife who swore I'd never be. Feel free to FB message me if you like. Just search for Rachelle Manville Feldkamp. :)

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  10. KM -

    SHORT VERSION: Make the choice that's right for you; you'll know when the time comes what you need to do, and you can't necessarily let anyone else make the decision for you.

    LONG VERSION: I dated a farmer. For 6 years. He was my first love and is still very dear to my heart, and is still one of my best friends. We broke up for reasons other than the farm, but I want to let you know that if you love him, truly love him, it is 100% worth it. Some of the best memories from my relationship with my Farmboy are "tractor dates." That was when Tim was most himself, most in his element, and at his happiest. We had some pretty amazing times, just sitting in a tractor together while he worked.

    It isn't for the faint of heart -- and, you're totally reasonable to have doubts. But, it's an incredibly rewarding lifestyle. I'm living the 20-something-year-old-woman's-single-dream lifestyle right. I have an apartment in a high rise in a city with an amazing, fulfilling, exciting corporate job and a pretty fun social life. It's great, and I love it, but I still have "the farm" stuck in me. I don't think I can even kid myself into thinking I'd be happy living the rest of my life in the city.

    But, don't choose the farm life just because we tell you to. I'm here to tell you that it isn't for everyone, but it also isn't a sentence to an unfulfilling life, either. Life takes us down unexpected paths, and sometimes our plans change drastically. Two years ago, I thought I was going to marry a farmer and live in small-town America. Now I'm living in downtown Kansas City. Sometimes the most unexpected detours are the ones that take us where we are meant to be.

    Good luck.

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  11. Melissa,

    This was a great post! I often think about you and the other farmer's wives out there, you are truly a great bunch for loving your husbands through all of the complexities of balancing a marriage and a large-scale farm. Cheers!

    Gina

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  12. KM- I can't comment on the long term life of being married to farmer because well, I haven't been with my farmer for that long. BUT I can share with you my story and the decisions I went through to find myself living the life I currently do. I am originally from California. Born and raised in the same town, went to college there, my family owns a business there I worked in full time, my entire family lives there. I loved California, it was home and I had plans to never move away from there. Well, I met a farmer from North Dakota via social media. He came out to California several times. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship and wasn't looking for another one. In March of this year, I finally made the decision to visit North Dakota for the first time. Afterall, I really, really (or I guess you could say by then, loved) this man but I wasn't sure if I could live in North Dakota OR be in love with a farmer. It was a difficult decision to make and we were both scared that it wasn't going to work out because well, distance and his lifestyle. He feared I was going to come visit and hate it. Well, I visited and absolutely fell in love with his family, the town we live in, as well as his way of life. And I will be brutally honest with you. There are some days I don't see him until 9:30 or 10:00 at night, and once corn harvest starts it will be even later. Sometimes I get lonely, sometimes I want to be angry with him. But it's on those days that I get out of the house and go ride in the combine with him, take a run down the section line in a corn field, or take a drive in the pickup (with or without my farmer). And for me, doing this gives me perspective. It makes me realize the beauty around me. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to be experiencing what I do and living the life I do.

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  13. (second half of comment) So many people are so far removed from this life and how things are grown, raised, and harvested that it makes me proud to say I am in love with a farmer. I learn something new every single day and you know what I wouldn't change that. What I do do is try to make "farm dates" whether it be taking food to my farmer in the combine, tractor, etc., checking crops with him on a Sunday afternoon, or going to a farm event. I love to write and take photographs SO when I am feeling lonely, angry, etc. I use this as an outlet and I share with people photographs of our crops and write about farming now. I am able to take what may be my struggles and downfalls with living with a farmer and turn it into something positive. I know this won't work for everyone but there are many, many, many other farm wives out there who are able to maintain their own identities and still have a happy, healthy relationships with their farmers. Some farm wives even have little to no interaction with the farming activities. I'd recommend to sit down with your significant other and honestly discuss your fears and your concerns about moving into this new lifestyle. Both my farmer and I did this and we make it a point to try and remember these things when the going gets tough or we get busy. When I first started thinking about possibly moving and starting a life with a farmer, I kept telling myself I was crazy. That moving to North Dakota was completely illogical, but early on everyone told me to follow my heart and the rest would follow. And you know what I did. And it's been tough at times. I miss my family and my mom who is my best friend more than anything and I did have people along the way who were nay-sayers, but I am confident in my decision and in my future and I wouldn't change my life now for anything. For me, it took a leap of faith and a belief in true love, and the decisions came to me. I am proud to say that I am in love with a farmer who is extremely passionate about what he does and that excites me and interests me into learning more and more about it. I wish you luck in making your decisions and your journey in life.

    And if you're interested more in my story, my struggles, and my joys in my new life, I write about them at http://jldphotographblog.com and please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to talk further!

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  14. Hello KM!!

    You would be crazy not to have these doubts or second thoughts. Hell sometimes I have them (and I'm a farm wife!).

    I grew up a farmers daughter in farming family. I went to college for a degree in ag. I now work with farmers on a daily basis. I married a farm boy and we have been trying to start farming ourselves. It's what we want to do. And I think that is what it will boil down for you...what is it you want to do. For us the lifestyle is worth the risk.

    With that bit of background I would like to share with you the following thoughts.

    - Farming families make sacrifices. All involved in the operation give up something. The farm wife may give up a career in a big city, the farmer may give up family time to attend to crops and livestock, kids may not get to participate in every sporting or school event. That is farming and ranching life. But you also will find ways to spend time differently. Maybe you will have Sunday dinners together. Plan movie nights with the family. Farmers are still able to go out and do things - it will just depend on the season and work load. You can make plans accordingly.

    - There will be lean years. Crops will fail, livestock will die. However, I've heard the same motto out of many a farmers. "Only them that has, may lose." We in the farming community know it's a huge gamble. But like your boyfriend we always hope for a better year. That's a normal attitude in farming. If you are living in a rural farming area - I doubt many will feel sorry for you. They understand this concept already.

    - As for your concern about being the bread winner...have you heard the saying, "behind every successful farmer there is a wife who works in town." There is a LOT of truth in that one. You can have a career and still be active on the farm if you wish. Lots of women do. The location of your job maybe a little limited.

    Hope that gives a little more to think about - if you ever need another farm wife/begining farmer view you can find me at the blog Circle the Wagons (www.wagonramblins.blogspot.com)

    Good Luck and God Bless

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  15. Sorry this post really got me to thinking....and I wanted to add...

    That there is something wonderful about being having a farm together.
    There is all the experiences together - all that growing to do. And that is a worth all the stress and sacrifices..

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  16. In response to everyone...thank you SO much for your comments. Sorry for the delay in responding, but I just want to let you know that I truly appreciate all of your feedback. Like I said, I didnt know anyone to talk to about this, and thought I must be experiencing something completely out of the ordinary. Its reassuring to hear that my struggles are normal. Its just a new normal I will have to adjust to.

    I like all of your ideas on "tractor dates" and visiting him while farming. I have helped him feed cows before, but have never really thought about going near anything dealing with planting/harvesting. But I guess, why not!

    I also appreciate all of your honesty and not sugar coating the life. It is a hard one, theres no doubt about it. But again its reassuring to hear that farmers are involved in their family and do care even if they get home really late some nights. I use to get a little upset when he would get home late, but your all right, thats just the nature of the job and is nothing personal. I'm just so use to one way of relationships, I think theres just a lot of adjustments to be made. Thanks for knocking some sense into me!

    On that note, I appreciate the feedback from those who are not from a farming town originally, or who are not close to family anymore. I think we especially have additional hardships when starting out. Having to learn about this lifestlye and adjusting, but I'm glad I'm not the only one out there. Of all by boyfriend's friends, all of their girlfriends are also from farms, so again, I was beginning to think I was alone through this! Glad I am not, I'll be sure to continue to track this blog and the other ones posted.

    Thank you again for all of your feedback. There are so many comments it is hard to respond individually, but please know that I truly appreciate all of your insight and wisdom.

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  17. Also, glad to hear so many of you are able to maintain careers. That was something else I was getting nervous about and was starting to think was not the norm. I'm someone whose passionate about having a career, and even though I know being settled in one place is going to be the reality, I should also consider myself luck because my boyfriends farm is not far from a train to Chicago, so I should have plenty of opportunities (knock on wood!).

    Thanks again for all of your help. Every comment really helped me, I am glad to see such a strong farming wife community, it's good to have people to talk to about this stuff!! Thanks again!

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  18. I never thought to go to a random website on Google to find my support in being a farmers wife. But here I am and it truly has been an eye opening experience. I always felt so alone on this subject and have found it hard to talk to anyone about it let alone my husband. It makes me feel like I am such a selfish person when I see other couples always getting weekends off together and I get to sit at home with three kids under four by myself just wishing and hoping one day he might just surprise me and walk in the door and spend time with us. It truly is hard and it does feel one sided most of the time....I know he loves me and i know he adores our kids ....I just feel like there is no letting up....like this is it for me....as good as it will get. I made this decision and I love him....i just don't know if i can ever love this lifestyle and I was born a country girl. How do I trick myself into being happy? It just seems like it shouldnt be this hard....but I know every marriage has its unique challenges...but shouldn't my life be a happy one? And not one of feeling lonely every single day? I crave a date night with my husband but know that it can never happen. I give it up to those of you that are so strong because I feel like my tank runs on empty most of the time. It's hard to not focus on it daily....and I have hobbies and kids and I am extremely busy....but at the end of the day I can't help but think....should this be so hard?
    Shauna

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    1. Shauna- I too feel hopeless at times. I am a farmer's wife of less than a year, and a mother to a 5 month old son. Tractor dates were great before the baby, but it would be irresponsible to take an infant along. We both work evenings at full time careers, and I would love to stay home (even though I have a bachelor's degree), but we can't afford it. Our house isn't big enough for the three of us so we will have to move to another part of the property soon. My husband is farming his grandmother's ground of around 100 acres when he isn't working. We have six cows and three goats. Not much compared to some of the farms described here. I am painting a pretty dreary picture, but it's an honest description. It terrifies me to imagine what our lives would be like living in the city like some families who are unable to pay the bills or put food on the table. I can see why crime rates are higher in more populated areas where gardening and livestock aren't an option. For me, along with the beauty of the land and all of God's creatures, I find comfort in knowing that we can sustain our family on the land if need be. The economy is unstable and it is common for some families to eat take out seven days a week. The days of hard work and manual labor are over for many people and the younger generations have not been raised with the kind of morals that were present in the days of our grandparents. We all find this lifestyle hard at times, but keep in mind that without hardship and sacrifice there will never be any improvement. We have to lay the foundation and hope others will follow.

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  19. LOVE your blog! I found myself smiling & laughing in agreement throughout the whole thing :D I am a farmer's daughter & now married to a farmer. Like you said I grew up understanding why my Daddy worked the long hours he did. He missed ball games, pep rallies, & the like but I never once questioned why he couldn't be there. I loved going to work with him when I could. If it had been up to me, I would have skipped college all together & just worked with my dad on the farms.
    Five years ago I married "my man" who owned a highway construction company. A business, believe it or not, even more stressful & high stakes than farming. He loved talking to my dad, & learning more about farming, the lifestyle, equipment, ect. When we bought our first farm I was ecstatic! But was not prepared for the stress of managing the book work of a construction company, growing a farming business, & our quality time together basically vanishing.
    Over the years I have come to see & understand that everything happens for a reason....
    My job managing the books for our construction company, & now several farms & a growing livestock herd has done a great deal for my confidence & responsibility. Partnering with my husband on our work is really a childhood dream come to life! Is it like I thought it would be? NO! But it is a blessing all the same.
    My perspective on "how" we should spend our time together has changed, & I now love our sunset rides to check cattle, "tractor dates" :), equipment repair dates, & sitting down to look over company finances together.
    My mom once told me "find a man that leads you closer to God, than to himself." My husband has done just that. My relationship with God is my foundation, & unlimited support when everything seems too much. I know that nothing is to hard for me to endure with Jesus by my side. He makes even the valleys of life into a lesson learned, & a brilliant blessing.
    God bless yall!

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  20. Hi Melissa,

    Your post made me get a bit of a tear. I'm engaged to a farmer (he works all hours on his best friend's farm and has now started to work more on his dad's farm too). We are getting married in 7 weeks, right after harvest. I have known all along that there are times of the year where I don't get to see him but for some silly reason it has only just dawned on me throughout this harvest that I sm going to be alone a lot of the time throughout seeding and harvest. I don't live with him yet as he is very traditional. I am from a big family and we are a noisy bunch, I now houseshare with my brother and 2 other guy friends who are also pretty noisy. I'm not used to being alone. My fiance lives in a worker's cottage of one the farmers his boss share farms from. It is remote - literally no neighbours! If I'm honest, the house scares me. I am not looking forward to being in that house pretty much on my own for weeks/months at a time. I've asked my man if I can get a big dog to protect me but you know what farmers are like with animals that aren't earning their keep! I don't really know how I am going to cope, I don't want to end up depressed and sad. Do you have any advice for me? How did you feel when you were first married?

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  21. I stumbled across this post because I actually Googled 'farn wife support group' and you were #3 on the results!! (That fb group was #1) You hit my issue directly on the nose... I too grew up on a farm, the youngest of two daughters on a thousand acre cattle and grain operation. I didn't have quite the resune you did, but I still thought I was well qualified to be a farm wife. I was actually excited to put my life experiences and my college degree (Ag Econ and Agronomy) to use and it was just so awesome. And then we graduated and I moved home with my farmer, and reality hit. There isn't a market for agec degrees here, but while I was looking for a non-ag, off-farm job, I wasn't put to work on the farm. The guys (my husband, father-in-law, grandfather-in-law, and great-uncle-in-law) were working 10-18 hr days and my sole purpose in life was to cook supper. It was devastating.

    I think my problem has to do with the fact that none of the women before me took any interest in the farm. Have you had that problem, facing an environment that doesn't belive a woman can work like a man?

    I'm soooo glad I'm not alone!
    -Paula

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  22. I am a future farmers wife. I love my boyfriend and in a few years (after he gets the farm going)we're planning on getting married. We've both talked about how the first few years inparticulary are going to be really hard. I'm going to be honest. I'm nervous about how I'll manage everything. I know I can do it and I'll be supportive. I guess I need some advice on what to expect the stresses to be, but also what all of the ups are going to be. I know several people who have farmers as husbands and I'm sure I'll be going to them for advice in the future. I've grown up on a farm to an extent and both of my parents have farmed at some point when they were younger. Should I go to college and get my education and go straight into a job, or should I get my education and then help on the farm for a while before I start looking for a job. I want to be supportive and helpful to my future husband, and I want to already know about crop farming before I marry him, so I'm not a dunce and can help to carry the weight. Thanks for yur help!

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  23. I'm glad I found this blog about farm wives. Although I lived in the country, I did not grow up on a farm. I am engaged to a farmer, and have been for over 4 years. We are in the 30-40s age range. We are both divorced and each have two children. He has teenage boys and I have two elementary age children. We live about two miles apart. Divorce amongst farmers does not appear to be common locally here. I have my children 60% of the time and he has his children 50% of the time. We both agree that we would like to get married; however, we disagree on one major point. He wants us to keep our 2 separate homes. He likes coming to my house a few nights a week, as he has lived on his family farm his whole life. He suggests that I come to his house on nights I do not have my children, but he has his, (every other Friday) and he will come to my house on nights he doesn't have his children, but I have mine (every other Sat, Sun). We already have and would continue to have Mon, Wed, and every other F to ourselves. He has several reasons for this arrangement, but I believe his main concern is that his children feel comfortable in their family home (not too squeezed in by adding 3 more people to the household full time when there's not enough space), that they continue so spend 50% of their time with him, and ultimately that one or both of them continue the farming. I certainly don't want to run any children off to their other parent. I can only empathize with him on farming. I don't know what it's like to have the need for your children to carry on your family business. I only know that I believe a husband and wife and children (biological or not) should share 1 home if possible. I don't expect it to be easy, but I want to be his true partner, not a partner who's only there half the time. I feel like if we get married, we're in this together. Our children do get along well. However, it can be a little crazy when all four children are there together. I should point out, I will be signing a prenup (which I am okay with) and that we will be sharing the cost of my home, married or not, in less than a year for financial reasons. Like I said earlier, divorce amongst farmers isn't common here, if anywhere. I feel like we don't have anyone to go to for advice. My friends/family think it's absurd for a husband and wife to have two homes, and that we should wait to get married until we can finally be in one house. But I don't know when that might be. Any advice is certainly appreciated, or if you've been in a similar situation or know someone who has, please let me know how it's worked out.

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  24. When I said empathize above, I didn't mean he needs my sympathy or empathy. I only meant that I don't fully understand what he's feeling since I've never grown up around farming.

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  25. I was so glad to find this blog! I felt like I was the only one going through all of the things that have been posted! I am currently a farmer's girlfriend. I have been living on the farm for 1 year now. When I first moved to the farm I was ecstatic. I could not wait to jump in and learn all about the farm and help out. I soon realized that it was not that easy. We have had many ups and downs over the past year as I am sure all relationships have on the farm or not. I hope that some experienced farm wives can give me some advice on some of my concerns.

    In my BF's family, women have never been a very active part of farming. They have worked in town and raised the kids. I too work in town, but I have an interest in the farm and want to help with farm work. I am struggling to find where I fit into everything. Has anyone had to deal with being the first woman to want to be apart of things?

    I was also asked to sign a prenup. I feel like this only makes my worries worse of never being able to be apart of the farm. Their family is very tight knit and I worry this document makes me forever an outsider! Has anyone had to go through signing a prenup?



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  26. another hobby could be to start a bible study with Jehovah's witnesses ans learn the truth about God and Jesus and the world we live in.
    after learning these bible truths you will feel compelled to do public preaching and to witness to others about the amazing truths that you have learned this will occupy allot of your time and the work that's from God will keep you so satisfied that you would have forgotten all about lonely nights...

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  27. Really glad I found this blog. I've been married to my farmer for three years, and it never gets easier. I feel like I am the only one going thru this, but this blog proves otherwise. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  28. Thanks for this blog, I just tried searching for my own blog title and yours comes up -it seems they are a little bit similar! This is what farming wives deal with all over the world! My blog is "What to expect when you're expecting... to marry a farmer" at my blog farmlifeteachings.wordpress.com I relate to all that you mention in your post! I am also a farmwife of three years, and it is wonderful but challenging. Thank you.

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  29. You need to get some staff, like any other business, you don't want to get to snowed under by the day to day running of things. If your farm is successful, you can afford at least 1 person so your husband can get more free time to focus on the things that make it a success (and get some more free time). It's a transition that all good businesses must go through.

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  30. Great Article and you are sharing us your true story and I think it is very interesting life to live as a farmer. Because everything is attached to nature. We get any food items every crop and also Oxygen from nature. Its truly great article thank you for sharing us.
    Mcx Calls || Intraday Tips for Copper

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  31. You know I'm so keen to speak to a farmer (or someone who knows something about farming) about the life of a farmer. I need someone to take me under their wing (so to speak) and show me the ropes.

    In this, I have no expectation that there's anything glamorous. I just know i have it in my blood to be most at home in the country-side rather than a city/suburb.

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