Five Things About Being a Farm Wife
I was raised in a family with five-generations of crop farmers. Yet, I never imagined I would one day be a farm wife, much less a dairy wife. When I became engaged, among my dad’s first words were, “You know those cows never go away.” His words of wisdom came in December, a time when he’s usually done with the long days of harvest season and work becomes less intensive. He was right; dairy farming is a never-ending year-round job. I often try to emulate the amazing farm wife my mom exemplified while still paving my own path. So now that I’m welcoming a new farm wife to my extended family, I’m sharing a few lessons I’ve learned along the way:
Embrace the independence. You already know that dairy farmers work long hours. He’s up before sunrise and sometimes home long after sunset. Sometimes, you’ll go to social events solo. When there’s 10 inches of snow on the ground and you haven’t had power for days, you’ll be the one figuring out how to stay warm, how to keep the food from spoiling and how to have a hot dinner prepared when he’s done caring for the cows. At times, you’ll feel lonely, but always know that you're an important part of this farm family team. The farm women in my life have taught me how to face life head on. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish on your own.
You’re not from here. This town is small and its families are huge. When your neighbors are hundreds of acres away, it can take years to meet people. At the same time, all the local strangers know exactly who you are and who you’re married to. Go to community events. Go to church. Get involved. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with those strangers. They’ll eventually be among your best allies and your strongest support systems.
Laundry is full of surprises. Let’s face it: with a lot cows comes a lot of manure. You’ll find yourself experimenting with different combinations of laundry detergents. You’ll replace socks and washers at an astounding rate. Bolts and nuts and pocket knives will knock around in your machines. You’ll be the only one of your friends with a sharps disposal container stored beside your fabric softener. When he comes home covered in I-don’t-want-to-know, just keep washing.
There’s no shortage of work ethic and compassion here. He’s known he would be a dairy farmer since he was five. He’s doing the work his family did for generations before him. And he’s teaching the next generation of our family to do the same. You’ll be in awe of his ability to persevere when his job is difficult. You’ll know he’ll be a wonderful father in the way he cares for that tiny premature calf. Less than two percent of the U.S. population are farmers. This kind of family heritage is rare and these characteristics are invaluable.
Farming is a profession of faith. There will be days when you pray for rain, days when you pray for the rain to stop, days when you pray that your favorite cow will make it through the night. Life on a farm will strengthen your faith in ways you didn’t know was possible. When all else fails, always know that this place is deeply rooted in a faith that God will see you through.