To farm or not

On a Facebook page called “Farm Wives Support Group,” I hear the angst of women who have married a farmer or are contemplating such. With the title of “support group” I suppose one expects to hear some complaints among the post, but the majority are overwhelming gripes. It makes me sad to think that these young gals do not feel part of the farm enterprise. They speak of “his” farm, not “our” farm. They say it is because he is always working and has no time for the family. I would imagine he spends more time with the family than his wife gives him credit for. It is just that his time may be spread over shorter times of hours not days. This is what I would say to these women.

The farm is the perfect place to raise a family and have togetherness. Think of how the workload is for the farmer. He not only has to do the work, he has to plan and manage it. Farmers must get lonesome out in the tractor for 12 or more hours a day, going up and down the field. What a welcome sight it must be for a farmer to see his family coming, knowing they will have quick, fun stories to share and snacks for everyone. What a nice break! Yet most posts on the page fail to mention the farmer’s welfare. Do these women not realize that this is how the family is supported and by helping him out with even little things, it is a boost to him, and by extension, to their family?

One mother complained that Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated at her house. Others bemoan they don’t get two-week summer vacations. Another complained about not seeing her husband. Never mind that she works in town, teaches exercise classes two nights per week and has children. When would she expect to have time with her husband? This next one is the saddest post when she wrote, “If he wants a snack he can come to the house. I have enough to do.”

Care and consideration goes both ways. It’s just that the farmer is tethered to machinery to get his work done whereas farm wives, even with children in tow, are more mobile. When machinery is being worked on in the shop, the kids can be out there having family time — if supervised closely by mom.

It is simply a difference in how we look at things. I was raised on a farm. As a young girl I was known as the Kool-Aid girl because in the morning and the afternoon I would take a beverage (sometimes Kool-Aid) and a snack to anyone working on our fields.

Then I married a farmer. I am still the Kool-Aid girl, though usually coffee is the beverage of choice. I rarely drive a tractor, and I am the farmer’s support system with my time, my caring and my actions. I have been told I am vital to the success of our farm and I surely don’t take that lightly, and I am content; I’m sorry those other women are not.

Peggy Sanders


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