A piece of FarmHer advice I really dislike!

There is a frequently used piece of advice that is given between generations of women and FarmHer to FarmHer that just rubs me the wrong way every time I hear it. This piece of advice is this: 

“Don’t learn a new skill on the farm unless you want to do it for the rest of your life!”

Now if you’ve said that, I still love you and think you’re awesome, but I want to share with you why it bugs me!

  1. Some of the best moments spent with my single minded, farm-focused hubby are while I’m learning how to run a piece of equipment or learning how to do a new farm job! By learning something new I can take on one small piece and help my hubby carry the load!

  2. Whatever happened to setting appropriate boundaries within our personal lives and our businesses? I know that “never learning a new skill, so you never have to do that job” is a boundary in itself. But, why can’t we learn the job, help anytime we can, but also set realistic boundaries? Such as “Honey, I can definitely run the combine today, but I need 2 hours somewhere today to work on the house/yard/4-H projects with the kids/etc. When would the best time to take those hours?”

  3. How about priorities? Is it my priority to not get roped into a job that will be for a lifetime? Or Is it my priority to join my husband, even during the unpleasant and hard tasks of our livelihood, without losing myself and while taking care of myself?

Believe me! I get it!

It will now “always” be my job to set up for branding. It will “always” be my job to clean the corrals with the loader tractor. It will “always” be my job to fix fences. It will “always” be my job to keep up our yard. And somehow I’ve now gained the title of “Cow boss”, so when anything goes awry with the cows, guess who gets to hear about it?! Lol

Yet, by taking on those jobs, I’ve learned new ways to love my hubby, resiliency, how to set boundaries (still learning), what the most important priorities are, and that I can do more things than I ever thought physically or mentally possible. 

Some women have learned resiliency, boundaries and setting the right priorities during heart wrenching illness in their children, some have learned these things through the loss of a spouse, and some have learned these things because they have chosen to embrace a challenging life experience or lifestyle and chosen to greet it head on beside their partner.

So although this advice is given with humor and the best of intentions, we need to consider whether or not passing along that advice is really what will benefit the listener. Because maybe by propelling herself headfirst into this lifestyle, she’ll have a new way to connect with her spouse, she’ll learn ways to set boundaries, she may realize that she needs to constantly readjust her priorities, and she’ll learn more about herself!

All this said in love,

Elizabeth

P.S. This article was originally written for the July edition of the HiLine Farm and Ranch paper