“You don’t look like a farmer’s wife.”
A statement that left me with my mouth gaping and at a loss for words. What does that even mean? I am not sure, and to be honest I don’t remember how the conversation played out because I was in my own head trying to process what had just been said to me. It isn’t that it upset me, it just truly caught me by surprise. What is a ‘farmers wife’ even supposed to look like? I still am not sure. All that got me thinking about other comments that had been brought up in various conversations, mostly in my time working outside of the farm.
“I didn’t know you were a farmer’s wife.”
“Oh, you live on a farm? You don’t seem like the type of person who would live on a farm.”
“Does your husband wear overalls?”
“Do you drive a tractor?”
To be honest, it can be very strange to hear comments like this, as farmers (and farm wives) we don’t see ourselves as different from others in our community. I have nothing against anyone who has ever shared something along these lines to me or my family, but what gets to me is the stigma around what a farm wife should or shouldn’t be. For whatever reason, many have some 1950’s farm picture book portrayal in their mind of what a farm and farm family should look or act like. You know how it goes, the red barn and white house. The overalls, pitchfork, and scruffy look. The apron strings and a warm pie on the stove…it all sounds lovely, really. However, reality has it, many of us don’t live like that anymore and that is oka.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love pie, but I am not very good at baking them. I love my kitchen, you all know that, but I do actually LEAVE my kitchen and my husband knows how to cook as well. I have a great respect for the strong farm wives of the generations who came before me, but things are much different now and I think comparing the farm wives of 2022 would be comparing apples to oranges. We love and appreciate technology, lead busy and multifaceted lifestyles, try to keep up with our children and all of their activities, and prioritize time off the farm.
For eight years I had a full time career off of the farm that I loved. It provided our family with a steady income and great insurance benefits. It provided me with the opportunity to get off the farm and fulfill my own career aspirations. Teaching filled up my cup in ways that the farm could not, until suddenly something shifted in my heart and the tables turned. Even now that I have returned to the farm, I have so many interests and passions that are not tied to the farm. I find great joy in shopping, spending time on the lake, connecting with friends, and growing my personal brand. I don’t think anyone would be able to pick me out as a farmer or farmer’s wife, unless they knew me personally. I don’t see that as a problem, because my point here is that we are just like you!
Moral of the story: we all have so much in common. Whether we live rural, on a farm, in the city, or small town USA…I am confident connections can be made. I encourage you to continue to open up your heart to modern agriculture. Social media is a tool that has allowed many producers to share their stories in a more public way than ever before. It has connected consumers living hundreds of miles away from a farm to a farm and the family behind said farm. If you’d like some recommendations as to who to follow to learn more about different sectors of agriculture, please reach out, I have some great connections! Consider this your friendly reminder that it is okay to ask questions, we want to have those conversations with you about modern farming practices.