I never aspired to be a farm wife. I just wanted to live in the city, raise my 2.5 kids and navigate a successful yet fulfilling career in the public relation industry with a husband that wore a suit and was home at 5:15 every evening. Then I met my farmer — now my husband — and that all went out the window.
I am now a mother of two, a farm wife, a full-time professional and passionate advocate for an industry I knew nothing about a decade ago. I live miles outside of town, have no idea what time my husband will be home from work tonight and have seen a cow give birth.
I was recently asked to speak to a group of livestock owners about the role of women in agriculture and as I pondered what that looked like I realized just how much a farm wife contributes to the success of the industry.
Farm wives must be the cooks (or in my case the fast food picker-up-ers), the laundry attendants, the house cleaners, the nanny, the chauffeur (for the hubby, his farm help and the kids) and the office manager. On top of that, when the hubs is busy — be it a Tuesday evening or a Saturday afternoon — this all must get done with no help or second parent. Farming is more than a full-time job, it’s a full-time lifestyle that doesn’t take weekends, holidays or sick days. That means farm wives must always be at the ready to help out, alter plans and lend a hand on the farm — while taking care of the kids.
For those women, like myself, who work in town, balancing the corporate world with the farm can be a challenge of epic proportions. Schedules clash, the tractor breaks down minutes before a meeting and the hubby might not make it back from the field in time to get the kids from daycare if the wife is away for business. That’s where family and forgiving babysitters come in handy.
Farm wives are strong women, they have to be. They wear a million different hats. They know a paycheck isn’t a guarantee and their date nights, free time and family vacations are at the mercy of mother nature or a few stubborn cows. They might go days without seeing their husbands and can fix a wonderful, wholesome meal only to have to save a plate because her husband can’t make it home in time to eat with her and the kids.
It’s a blessing to be a farm wife but it’s not for the faint of heart.