7 Things I Learned in My First Year as a Farm Wife
My husband and I recently celebrated one year of marriage. This is year has been his second crop year of working on his family’s farm with his uncle, but it was his first year of farming his own piece of ground. Throughout our relationship, Will has always worked for a farm operation, so I know the drill of late nights and weekends. When he made this switch to working on his family’s centennial farm, it went from working a job to working a legacy.
Will and I met pursuing our degrees in agriculture when we were 18. I had long looked forward to and hoped for the life of a farm wife. In fact, before I had any sort of clue as to what I wanted to do with my life, I would tell people I was going to college to get my Farmer MRS degree. How self- empowering of me, I know. But now that I am here, I can say it is definitely not what I had pictured all of these years. (Granted, I pictured myself with grandkids, making pies to take to my husband in the field, so of course I would not achieve that at 24 years old). However this leads me to the first of seven things I have learned in my first year as a farmer’s wife:
1. It really isn’t as glamorous as the internet makes it seem.
At this point in our lives, I have to be working. This is partially because of income, but mainly because farmers don’t discuss an insurance package in their negotiations. There is no dream land of having a perfectly clean house and constantly making and taking food to him while he works.
2. Find your own hobby.
The nights definitely seem longer and lonelier when you are sitting on your rump watching TV waiting for the text that says “On my way home”. Get out there and find something you enjoy doing on your own! Because I also work in agriculture, our late hours sometimes match up but more often than not, they don’t. So instead of sitting around with the dogs, I head straight to the gym when I get home from work. I usually get home with just enough time to make and eat dinner, pick up the house and enjoy a comfortable amount of alone time. Before I know it my farmer is home and then we, of course, head straight to sleep.
3. Casseroles, casseroles, casseroles.
I am definitely not someone who has dinner ready and on the table at 7 every night. Honestly, we typically we fend for ourselves. One trick I have picked up though to keeping my husband from just not eating or snacking on everything possible to avoid making an actual meal when he gets home late is casseroles. I like to meal prep my lunches on Sundays and I have started just throwing a casserole together as well. That way he has something quick and easy to just throw in a bowl and heat up in the microwave.
4. Find a mentor
I have never lived off a farm income and neither has my husband. There is a lot to figure out when it comes to making the elevator check last for the year, obtaining and paying off operating loans, taxes, insurance, etc. It’s confusing! How do we know how much we can save, spend or need to hang on to for another farm expense? My advice is to talk to your grandma, aunt or someone from your community that would be willing to give you a little insight to how they make it work. I think you will find that they have had the same fears you do at one point or another.
5. Make time for tractor rides
You may not want to drive all the way out there and find the field in the dark but I promise the memories you make will be worth it.
6. Don’t get worked up every time he comes home a growly, grouchy, grump.
For farmers, there is busy season and not so busy season. When they are running hard, things are tense and when they are around the same people, day in and day out, heads butt. My husband occasionally comes home stressed out and not in any mood to deal with my crap. So if you ask him to take the garbage out and he bites your head off because he “always has to do everything around here” even though you just spend 3 hours deep cleaning the kitchen…. Take a deep breath and remind him that it is, in fact, not you he is mad at and he doesn’t need to take it out on you. That usually will set things right…usually. ;)
7. Be patient, be helpful, be understanding and be flexible.
There isn’t much more I can say than that. You knew what you were signing up for when you married a farmer. Don’t get on his case when he isn’t pulling his weight around the house when he is busy or when he just simply can’t make it to something you have been planning on doing. It is an adjustment and, yes, it is hard, but your life will just be so much easier if you go with the flow and make it work. Help out when you can, even if that is just running someone a bottle of water or a couple beers. Know your priorities and pick your battles. This life is all about working together and learning how to make it work for the two of you.
I love the life we are starting and I could not be more thankful for my hard working husband.