Tuesday, October 7, 2014

6 Realities of Marrying a Farmer


Last Thursday, I could've been at a cocktail party in St. Louis, networking with coworkers and my agency team and knocking back a couple of drinks.

Instead, I went to Thursday night dominoes at my husband's Granny's house, ate fajitas, drank iced tea, won $50 at dominoes and lost $3 at the card game, 31. After getting ousted from the card game, I drove the 2 miles home, washed a load of laundry, gave Ranger the dog a bath, and sewed missing buttons back onto Royce's work shirts. It was a good night, but much the opposite of what I could've been doing in St. Louis.

Here's the thing though: when I started dating Royce, I knew eventually (if we worked out like I thought we would) I would end up in the middle-of-nowhere in the Texas Panhandle. That's what happens when you get involved with a farmer - you move to where they live. I understood this fact well, but reflecting on it now, I didn't necessarily realize all of the implications that came along with my cotton-farming husband, even though I came from a farm background myself.

For example:
  1. Career "Freedom" Now that I'm happily married to my farmer, I can have any job I want in the world - as long as the office is located within a 40 mile radius of our farm or I can work from my home. It just so happens I chose a career in agriculture. How very convenient! While I was looking to relocate to the Texas Panhandle from Michigan, my company didn't have any sales territories open in this area. In fact, they didn't have any jobs open in this area. Luckily, I convinced them to give me a chance at working from home. So far, so good, but in the event an opportunity arises to "go inside" to our St. Louis campus, I'll either have to 1) decline or 2) convince them I can do it from my Texas home again.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I've been extremely blessed to have the opportunities I have so far. I also know many women who marry farmers give up their careers because of their location. Just think how successful an actress or fashion designer would be from the farm in the middle-of-nowhere Texas... My guess is not very.
  2. Ability to Relocate This is a no-brainer. Obviously, I won't be packing up and moving my family anywhere any time soon. Like ever. That's right. I'm stuck here in Texas - forever. Good thing I love it!
  3. Financial Freedom Growing up on a farm, I understood slightly the financial struggles of being a farmer. Now, being married to a farmer, I feel the emotional drag of being tied to a farming operation that circulates hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's petrifying. As in shaking in your boots scary. We are doing good right now, but my personal financial freedom is limited considerably. My major shopping sprees are regulated a little more carefully (plus the mall is over an hour away - not very convenient.) I'm pretty sure this financial "ownership" is a marriage thing, but I'm still coming to terms with it. Did I mention that my husband's farm account scares me... a lot?
  4. Fashion I am by no means a fashionista, but this summer I lived in Nike shorts and T-shirts. You know why? I work from home, and it is as hot as the blazes of hell outside! When I go grocery shopping (which is one of the few times I go out in public during the week), I generally go covered in dirt and smelling of horse sweat. You know why? I spend my evenings at my in-laws where I keep my horses - which is 12 miles from my house and only 5 miles from town. For the sake of fuel consumption, I'm obviously not going to drive home, shower, change and drive back to town for some groceries. Therefore, fashion is reserved for Sundays at church, occasional trips to Amarillo, and my work trips. Fashion was definitely an unknown victim.
  5. Friends So in case you couldn't gather from my first and fourth point, I work from home, and I'm married to a farmer. In other words - I don't get out much. I've been successful in making a total of maybe 4 friends since moving to Texas. I also rarely see my best girl friends because they live all over the damned place. Iowa. Michigan. Oklahoma. Oh and Texas! But it is a 6 (yep, 6!) hour drive to see her. One of the many struggles of marrying a farmer.
  6. Work-Life Balance Two words to describe "Work-Life Balance" when you are a farmer or are married to one...  not happening. Work is life, and life is work on a farm. While this is one thing I understood very well as a farmer's daughter, I still find myself getting frustrated on a regular basis when we can't commit to attending a wedding or an Oklahoma State football game. I have to give Royce credit though. He stands firmly behind his mantra of "Family First. Farm Second." As long as there isn't a farm emergency, he makes time for important family functions. Much to my dismay though, an Oklahoma State football game doesn't constitute an important family function. 

Even though I've had to face some harsh (and at times, terrifying) realities of being a farmer's wife, I wouldn't trade the life I have for the world. I'm blessed to have a wonderful husband, supportive family, friends who are willing to talk to me on the cell phone, and colleagues who believe in my ability to operate from a home office.

To the farmer's wives, fianc├ęs or girlfriends, what are some shocking realities you've had to face as you learn to deal with the farm life? How have you dealt with them?

8 comments:

  1. I can definitely relate to your "Financial Freedom" statement! I married a corn-soybean farmer in Central Illinois August 2013. I too am terrified of the farm account.

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    1. Ava, thanks for your comment! I'm glad I'm not the only one!

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  2. Totally agree with #6 as we've had a hectic harvest year. I'm a new farm wife in Texas from Oklahoma as well, so definitely feeling #5. Nice to know I'm not alone! :)

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    1. Mischa, thank you so much for your comment! You most definitely are not alone! I hope your new farm life in Texas is going well, and if you are ever having a hard time finding someone who understands your struggles, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. We can vent about things without having to do so much explaining that way. :)

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    2. I can relate to all the above in one way or another I'm dating a fourth generation cattle, hay, small grain farmer we have been together for 7 years and have a three week old little boy. Some days I get so lonely because unlike most farmers he still goes to a full time job then comes home and farm. Before we had the little one I took care of the day to day operations whether it was vetting the cattle or selling hay or running for feed. Now with the little one and it being chilly out here in Pennsylvania I can not do the things I'm used to be doing I hope it gets easier. Even though we only live 30 mins from the stores I still hardly get there. I like reading other farmer blogs because it makes me feel connected to people that know the daily life struggles and enjoyment that a farm brings.

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    3. Crystal, thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your new little boy! What an exciting time for you both! That must be very challenging with your farmer working full-time off the farm. My husband and I are very blessed that the family farm was big enough to support him working there full-time. I know (from being raised on a farm) that it can be very challenging raising a child and still doing farm chores, but once your boy is a little older, I'm sure you'll figure out a way to take him along. I was outside with my mom doing chores every day from the time I was about 3 years old, and those times are now some of my favorite memories. Again, thank you very much for reading and sharing your story. You definitely are not alone in the farm life struggles!

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  3. Just married a dairy farmer two weeks ago and coming from a farm family myself it all scares me, the finances, the family time, the work-life balance. I just hope I am as understanding as I hope to be.

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    1. Congratulations on your marriage, Carilynn, and thanks for reading! It is scary and rightly so. As farm kids, we know how hard it can be, but we also know how rewarding it is. It is much different writing your name on the checks instead of watching your parents do it though. :) You'll be fine, but feel free to reach out to me any time you are struggling! We can struggle through it together.

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