Well, if you’ve followed along on here you know we’ve probably added another two-legged creature to our farm by now. That or I just won the record for longest pregnancy ever.
For the last seven weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out this new normal. How to be the mom of two beautiful kiddos, the wife my husband deserves, how to manage a career, and a farm, and somehow, amongst all the chaos…still be me.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge the #momlife my world has turned into. I worked damn hard to get our sweet chickadee here. And we are sooooo blessed. We had a miscarriage, then buried a baby boy. I suffered through countless doctor appointments, turned my stomach into a permanent bruise with blood thinning shots, had test after test, and sat on pins and needles for nine long months. Chickadee was sooooo wanted, just like Munchkin was.
But that doesn’t change the central theme of this post.
Being a farm mom is hard.
It’s harder than we sometimes want to admit to ourselves, and certainly harder than we want people to realize. We want people to think we’ve got our shit together, right? I mean we’re adults. We’re women. We’re supposed to be able to conquer the world, do anything…right? We post all the smiley pictures of Facebook and Instagram. We volunteer to do just as much at school as the next mom. Hell, sometimes we volunteer more because they know we’ll always bring a calf to school, or show up with a horse for “cowboy day”. Or heaven help you, if they think because you don’t have a 9-5 job that you don’t actually “work” and can come read to the class anytime…
Being a farm mom adds a new dimension of stress.
I see you.
In our marriage we have a division of labor. Hubs handles the day-to-day farming operation. I handle the kids. (Which is convenient, especially right now – since he doesn’t lactate….)
But all jokes aside, just because I’m not out on the farm all day doesn’t mean I’m not dealing with it. Our dinner time is dictated by what time Hubs comes in. Our weekend plans are dictated by what’s going on on the farm. Hell, all our plans are dictated by the farm because the farm always comes first.
Being a farm mom is rough. Period.
I also know PLENTY of moms who ARE the primary farmer AND a momma. I praise you.
Meanwhile, I’m over here trying to hold down my career, be a mom, and handle the random farm stuff that falls into my avenue of duties.
I have a shopping list for the vet office that I’ve got to get taken care of. But I can’t do it tomorrow when I take Munchkin to preschool because they’re closed on Wednesday. I’ll have to drive back to town another day to grab it.
I see you, farm mom.
Calving season, ohhhhhh calving season. There’s nothing cuter than a newborn calf. I mean, I thought both of my babies looked like creepy little aliens at first. But a calf? Still wobbly, with that silky coat? All cuteness. Ya know what’s not cute? A frozen dead calf.
Please for the love of all things Holy, don’t call CPS – this is the crap that happens when you’re a farm mom. Last winter we had to go out during an ice storm to grab a frozen calf. Hubs couldn’t do it by himself because of a very cantankerous momma cow and the baby was going to die in that sorta weather. I was pregnant, and we had a choice to make – wake up the one sleeping child we already had to put him in a freezing cold truck, or make a run for it out to the pasture by the house. We made a run for it. It was the middle of the night, Hubs needed help, and we didn’t have anyone we could call in that sort of emergency. The calf lived, we named her Elsa, and Munchkin never knew we’d left – until he heard mooing in the basement the next morning…
I see you, farm mom.
Oh great! Now we’ve got a sick cow in the barn. Can I delay leaving for work to meet the vet and then wrangle the kids while I help the vet get her up to look at her? I mean, no not really – but you’re a farm mom…so yeah – you’ve got this.
How many times has Hubs taken Munchkin to school? Once maybe? How many times has he picked him up? None. Hell, last year the preschool teacher didn’t even recognize him at the school functions he did attend.
Believe me, I see you.
(Interestingly, the pediatrician just met him for the first time when he drove me to Chicadee’s first appointment!)
During hay season this year, who was out raking? Pregnant farm mom. After I’d worked a full day. And still had to cook supper.
Munchkin worked cattle for the first time strapped in a carrier on me when he was just a few weeks old.
I see you out there trying to hold everything together, farm mom.
And then there’s the normal stuff, the daycare/preschool pick ups and drop offs, breakfast, dinner, grocery shopping. Putting baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom just so you can get a shower because Hubs is still out farming.
I’m rambling. But, like seriously – my life is nothing but a ramble at this point, and chances are your’s might be too, farm mom. It’s controlled (sometimes) chaos, and that’s ok.
To be clear, this is not a “my hubs is the worst hubs” post. Or an “oh poor pitiful farm moms” post. We’re lucky and blessed in so many ways to be farm moms. Hubs is the hardest working man I know. I hope our children have his work ethic, his devotion to the land, his grit. But it’s not easy being a farm mom.
This is about not feeling like you’re the only mom out there dealing with this shit. You’re not.
Because if you’re a farm mom – and your husband is anything like mine, you know this is just part of what you signed on for when you said your vows, and when you had that first baby. You knew your sashay into motherhood wouldn’t be like your non-farm friends with equal kid duties split between you. With schedules where you negotiate who does what with little Petey.
Nope that’s not what you signed on for at all.
You signed on for something entirely different. You decided to give your children a different upbringing than their peers. You signed on for teaching them to love the land. You signed on for teaching them the value of hard work. You signed on for playing outside, making forts out of bedsheets and hay bales. You signed on for late nights and early mornings, and probably not much appreciation. But it’s worth it.
It might not always feel like it. But it’ll always be worth it.
In order for our farm to work, I’ve got to be a full-time mom. I’m the lead parent 95% of the time. And the truth is, I eat it up with a fork. I LOVE being a mom. I love the conversations in the car on the way to school. I love the snuggles before bed. I love the trips we take by ourselves… even though I wish like hell Hubs could be with us.
But it’s hard.
And it’s really, really easy to forget yourself.
For the last five days, I’ve said I was going to re-paint my nails. It hasn’t happened. To be honest, I don’t even know why I care. Like seriously, I’m not a manicure sorta girl – but I have this significant desire to paint my nails. It probably won’t happen tomorrow either.
Instead I’ll snuggle Chickadee. And when I’m not snuggling her, she’s probably eating. She eats like a horse, which means she’s attached to me like ALL THE TIME. Do you know how easy it is to lose yourself when there’s a tiny human demanding to eat from your body 24/7? Easy. Real freaking easy.
For me, getting back to “normal” is all about not forgetting myself. Because if we can do normal things, then I’m doing things that make me happy. Is it hard? Sure!
I mean, for goodness sake… Last weekend I drove 4.5 hours to take Munchkin to the State Fair to mutton bust with a 7 week old. Was that easy? Not particularly. Packing the car is like preparing for war at this point. But I saw my parents, hung out with Nanny, was able to go to the funeral of the man who married us, and saw friends too.
That made me feel normal. I did it as much for myself as I did Munchkin.
Several weekends ago, Hubs went with us to a horse show. Should I have gone? Probably not. Should I have ridden? Definite negative. But it made me feel more normal. Like one of these days, I won’t need his help to feel like myself.
(Side note: Hubs hates horse shows. They bore him to tears. But he went without complaint because he knew it would make me happy.)
I fix my hair in the morning and put on mascara. Why? Because it makes me look like me when I look in the mirror – and that makes me feel normal. Like Stiletto is still in there… even when she’s got wet milk marks on both boobs.
See, my theory is that at the end of the day if we stop being US because we’re so tied up in being farm moms…we’re not giving our loved ones the person they deserve. If we stop doing the things that make us happy, how can we be the person they need. If we lose ourself in the day-to-day chaos of the farm and being a mom, how will our kids ever learn balance?
So farm moms, I see you.
It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s sure as heck ok to admit it.
Go ride your horse. Go get your nails done. Put the baby in the bouncy seat and take a shower. Put on all your makeup, or don’t. Do whatever the heck it is you need to do to feel more normal, Farm Mom.
Just don’t lose you. Don’t lose the woman your husband fell in love with. It’ll be the woman your kids fall in love with too.