6 Things You Should NEVER Do!!
This article was originally written for the August edition of HiLine Farm & Ranch.
“Never” is a very strong word, but the next 6 subjects are important and goals to which every woman in ag should aspire to never do!
Allow yourself to feel “less than” the farm!
When I think of farming, words like “all encompassing” and “overwhelming lifestyle” come to mind. I have often thought that farming is very similar to have a newborn baby. There is always something to be done, some need to be met, and always on the farm’s timetable, not yours! It is easy for marriage to take a back seat to the farm. It is easy for friendships to take a back seat to the farm. When the cows get out, everything else gets dropped to take care of the cows. The weather clears up early and your down time ends. As a Farm Wife it is so easy to feel like you are “less than” the farm. That the farm comes before your needs. Sometimes it does, but how you respond to and deal with those situations is up to you!
Allow my children to feel anything less than privileged to live this life!
Just like the adults in the “Farmily” (Farm+Family = “Farmily”! Get it?), kids sometimes aren’t able to engage in the same activities that their peers who live in town are able to enjoy. Sometimes it’s the distance to travel, sometimes it’s the amount of chores that need to happen, sometimes it’s just farm “stuff”. But there are so many blessings and benefits for kids raised on farms. The wide open spaces; the opportunities to learn unique qualities and skills; the ability to carry on traditions and family values… The list could go on and on. In the moment though, of a requested activity being denied or a time with friend missed, it’s easy to feel frustrated and wish for a different situation. As a parent it is my job to help set the tone and encourage an attitude of gratitude for this lifestyle with which we have been blessed!
Sit idle while there is something I can do or learn to do to help lighten my farmer’s load!
Now I know, many of the Farm Wife generation before me would say, “Don’t learn something that you don’t intend to be doing for the next 50 years!” or “If you learn to run combine, you will be permanently stuck in that role! Be aware and consider what you agree to learn!” I respect and completely understand that thought process! Believe me! I see that happening already and it’s only been 6 years! But, I have also heard, “She would not help out on the farm. She stuck strictly to the home responsibilities. When they divorced after 40 years of marriage her complaint was that they never did anything together.” That will not be me! Will that be you? I understand the all encompassing nature of farming. I am fully aware that if I choose to avoid helping and engaging with my husband and the farm, I could very likely end up feeling like we never do anything together! This is a subject I feel very passionate about, but I also realize that not everyone shares my point of view. Whatever you decide, at least find a happy medium, a balance that works for you. I’m not on or helping with the farm 100% of the time. Would I like to be? Absolutely! Even if I reach that “100% help on the farm” goal, I will still retain my authenticity and ability to say, “You’ve got this? I need a couple hours to work in my garden.”
This one is hard. I’ve felt more burnt out this year than any other. I’ve got just a few more years to go too! Lol. Burn out in any area of life is counter productive for sure! I think the most important thing though, is recognizing the beginning stages of burnout. Things like, overwhelming stress, struggling with sleep, not laughing, Burn out looks different for everyone! Recognize it for yourself and for your loved ones.
Recognize and live by the moto, “You cannot give out of an empty cup!” There are so many different techniques and strategies to avoid burn out. For some of those strategies you can read6 Simple Strategies to Preserve the Farm Wife's Sanity here! Sometimes finding sanity “savers” can be helpful. Finding ways to take a vacation are imperative to avoiding burnout. Have you taken a "Farmily" Vacation recently? If you just can’t make a vacation work, find the special little things that will help you feel recharged. Maybe it’s listening to a book on audio while you are in the tractor or in the car running kids places. Maybe it’s painting your nails, even though you know they’ll be chipped within 24 hours. Whatever it is, do that! If you need help adding in "self-care" activities into your already filled day, click here and check this out!
Be lonely and disconnected from friends and women who build me up!
This is something I feel very strongly about, especially for rural women in agriculture. It is easy to feel isolated and lonely when you live out of town and have an agricultural lifestyle. You can read my thoughts on friendship for women in ag here! But allowing yourself to feel lonely and disconnected is a choice. So take action and reach out! Text, call or message a friend. We have so many privileges that the generations before us didn’t. We have so many options thanks to the internet, social media, and technology! Reach out!
Lose sight of my faith and relationship with my Maker!
What grounds you? Do believe in something and Someone bigger than yourself, bigger than the struggles and challenges you face? For me, this is the foundation to everything that carries me though! When you are overwhelmed with it all and on the verge of burnout, remember you are not alone, God has your best in mind and He loves you more than you can ever love yourself! Check out our weekly Farm Wife Devotions (scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "Farm Wife Devotions" category)! Here is one that may bring you some encouragement!