I never wanted to be a Wife.

73

October 21, 2013 by dairycarrie

dairy towels drying on the line.

Some little girls grow up dreaming of being someone’s Wife. That wasn’t me.

To be fair, I also didn’t grow up dreaming of being a dairy farmer.

Veterinarian, Ballerina, Barrel Racer, Interpreter for the Deaf… Those were all things I thought I would be when I “grew up”. Turns out that I hate studying and homework, look horrible in a leotard, have zero balance and can’t shut up long enough with my own thoughts to be responsible for communicating someone else’s ideas. There were other careers along the way, but one that never crossed my mind was Wife.

Not dreaming about being a Wife doesn’t mean that I never wanted to get married, being married has always been something that I knew I wanted. To me being married meant that I had found my partner in life. Hubs and I have been partners for 11 years, he’s been my husband for 5 years now and I guess that means I’ve been his wife for the same amount of time.

We have never had the traditional balance of chores in our house. I am a bit of a slob. I don’t fold laundry the way he likes it, if I fold it at all. Hubs organizes the clothes in our closet by color, the hangers all face the right way. That’s just how he rolls. Some women look at me in horror when I tell them Hubs does most of the dishes and laundry, most just tell me how lucky I am, that confuses me. Even before the farm came into our lives I worked just as many hours as he did. It didn’t seem fair to get home from my second job and automatically be left to do the household chores just because I owned a baby maker.

I kind of suck at being a Wife, I guess it’s a good thing I never had my heart set on being one anyways.

Now that the farm is our life we have a mountain of dirty dishes, clean clothes are almost extinct and our dust bunnies are more like dust hippos. Neither one of us has time to clean. I have a full time and part time job in addition to what I do on the farm. I milk cows, feed calves, drive tractor and make decisions for our farm, just the same as my Hubs. When people ask me what I do I tell them I am a dairy farmer.

This is why it mystifies me that so many women who do the dishes, laundry and child rearing as well as the tractor driving and cow milking call themselves farm wives rather than taking the title of farmer themselves.

Now I am not a bra burning feminist, or at least I have never thought of myself as a feminist, but it bugs me to hear my fellow farm women throw wife on the end of farm rather than -er when they describe their life.

What does it matter to me what someone calls themselves? I’ll tell you.

I want women to be empowered to tell their farm’s story. I have often talked to women who know just as much about their farm as their husbands but don’t speak up and tell their story because they don’t feel that they have authority. They hide behind the Farm Wife label in town but when things need to get done on the farm they are there beside their husband doing the work too.

What title you use doesn’t matter so much on the farm, the work all needs to get done by someone, regardless of what we call that person. But when we are off of the farm and talking to the non-farm community does calling ourselves a farm wife, really do justice to the role we play on our farm? Farm women, you ladies can make the biscuits, milk the cow that makes the butter for those biscuits and make the decision about what seed to plant to feed that cow. You may do the traditional wife duties in the house as well but your participation in the running of the farm makes you so much more than just a farm wife, you are an equal, you are a farmer! Wear that title with pride and tell your story.

When I told Hubs that I was going to write a post called I never wanted to be a wife he just shook his head at me and told me not to piss anyone off. I sincerely don't mean this post to degrade anyone. I promise!

When I told Hubs that I was going to write a post called “I Never Wanted to be a Wife” he just shook his head and told me not to piss anyone off. I sincerely don’t mean this post to degrade anyone. I promise!

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73 thoughts on “I never wanted to be a Wife.

  1. Not a thing wrong with what you wrote Carrie. All you are saying is you are a unique individual living your life in the way that makes you happy and you found a man that fits the term “other half.” Together you both manage to get it done!!

  2. Kimberly says:

    As a farmer, and a farmer’s wife– I like both terms and use them as I see fit. There is something romanticized in my mind about being the farmer’s wife–his caretaker (I find the same nostalgia in being called “mother”, too). There is something entirely functional about being called farmer. I like ’em both!

    Good post! Good luck on not pissing anyone off! Everyone seems to have their PC panties in a wad, lately!

    • Kate says:

      I agree, Kimberly. I relish the references of wife and mother. When people ask what I do, I just say that my husband and I are dairy farmers. This way, we remain a unit and I’m not a belonging of his.

  3. Ashley M-K says:

    Oh Carrie. I love this post! I love it because I am the same way. Always wanted to get married but I have never felt the urge to be a wife. I’ve always wanted to work and be successful in everything that I do.

  4. @FarmGirlJen says:

    Totally with you Carrie! I am a farmer. I pull my weight and can talk intelligently about any aspect of the farm. The fact that my husband is a farmer too doesn’t make me less than a farmer or simply his wife as his back up. Great post!

  5. Carrie, have you read “Lean In”? You should if you haven’t. It’s your style of book. Be proud of who you are. I am proud of you for writing this and we need more women empowered each other rather than going backwards in time. The women in my farm family worked hard for generations for equality and partnership. We have it now. Be bold. Be strong. Be empowered. Love ya.

  6. Good post Carrie. I think its so interesting to read other folks’ perspectives on this.
    I have always wanted to be a wife, specifically a farm wife.
    The way I always saw it growing up, being a farm wife was “better” than being just a farmer or just a wife. It meant you worked twice as hard (aka – were twice as awesome) because you raised kids, cattle and put supper on the table each night.
    I’ve never thought that someone might hear me refer to myself as a farm wife and think I mean that my husband or father are the “real” farmers. Definitely not what I was going for!

    • dairycarrie says:

      Thanks Celeste!
      As I tried to get across in my post, I have nothing against gals like you who did have that dream, it just wasn’t for me. Either way, we can’t allow that title to keep us from speaking up about our passions. I know you don’t, you do a fantastic job as an agvocate and a mom and a wife, but too many others do!

    • Melissa Hart says:

      Ditto Celeste! You echoed my thoughts exactly! Very well put!

  7. jodi818 says:

    I never understood Farm Wife vs. Female farmer either. Especially, when the wife is doing just as much if not more than the husband. It killed me when I was working on the farm, my mom would be gone for lunch, and dad would come in literally 2 minutes after I walked through the door and ask me what’s for lunch? What the heck? I think I gave him the what for and he didn’t do that much more after that. (We ended up going out for lunch.)

    Women on farms do so much more than farm. It’s crazy what they do. The kids, laundry, canning, gardening, parts runner, tractor driver, book keeper, did I mention parts runner, cow/calf herdsman, you name it and they do it. I’m not belittling men, but I think women seem to be able to handle so much more. I agree with Kimberly that something is romanticized about the farm wife label. It’s not a bad thing. I think the older generations had a different mindset on labels/titles than the younger generation does.

    I loved your line about owning a baby maker! lol. Isn’t that the truth! Love this post!

    • Brenda Akins says:

      I agree. I never thought referring to myself as a farm wife was derogatory. In fact, I believe my friends have much respect for the “farm wife”. At the age of 47, and from a rural area, my friends Know what that term means. It means we do it ALL! Our husband “farmers” would be lost with out us and everyone knows it.

      • dairycarrie says:

        Brenda, I think you’re right that other rural women understand what Farm Wife means, but do you think a non farm woman understands fully what that job all entails? When we talk with them to tell our story I wonder if it doesn’t come across differently.

    • Laynie says:

      I am a Farmer. I think the term Female Farmer comes into play for women like me. I’m not married to a farmer, I’m not even married, never have been. As the youngest of 2 daughters I took over the family farm when my parents passed. While I appreciate how hard all women on farms work, I do get really quite offended when people assume I’m a farmers wife. Everything I have built, every achievement, every heartbreak and every failure has been mine and mine alone to celebrate or to bear. I don’t have the support of a family behind me, someone to share the load. Having said that, I love this life & wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

  8. Kelli says:

    I have a good one – our accountant insists on listed my profession as “housewife” for tax purposes while my husband is “rancher/public speaker”. I would rather have darn near any title than that one – the LAST thing I am married to is my house and I’ll be my dust bunnies can beat up your dust bunnies any day!! I LOVE being a rancher and my husband even admits to being a rancher’s wife so I guess that’s all the matters right!! Girls rock 🙂

    • Bethany says:

      Does your accountant know you can put ANYTHING in that box on your form? I usually put fun things on my families and friends forms. Next year, I might put ‘husband’ on my husbands occupation:)

  9. Beautiful post Carrie! As usual, I love your honest and realistic take on issues. While I know this is an issue that we don’t see eye to eye on, that is okay. I know there are women out there who farm wife bothers very much and there are some that proudly accept the title and rock it!

    Why I don’t call myself a farmer is that to be honest, I am not. As of right now, my duties do not lie on running the combine or hauling grain to the elevator. Someday, yes it may. And when I feel like I have earned that title, I will use it. But until then, I find my talents elsewhere. It means that I am gifted and talented in other ways that benefit the farm and agriculture in general. It doesn’t mean that my role in our relationship and our farm life ISN’T important! It is equally as important as planting the seeds and milking the cows. I would venture to guess my mother in law wouldn’t call herself a farmer either but the reality is that the farm WOULD NOT function without my mother in law. She is the glue that holds it all together and she is an acting partner in decisions they make together. And just like her, the title of farm wife doesn’t mean that my husband doesn’t come to me when he makes big decisions and it doesn’t mean that I am not an acting partner in our business and operation.

    But then at the same time, a wife and mother is something I have dreamt of becoming since I was little. And while all my girlfriends in college were striving towards big, shiny careers, I was excited about someday being married and having a family. I find that in this modern day world as our societal values continually change that I am definitely a representation of the “olden days” and finding a woman my own age who shares the same views and values as I do, is rare. When it comes down to it, as long as you feel confident and empowered in your title and an acting partner in your relationship whether it be farmer or farm wife… That’s what matters.

  10. Elinor Opitz says:

    Thank you so much for this post. The label of “farm wife” has very much confused me. It is certainly not a label I will ever identify with. I’m happy that I am not some weird loner for having these thoughts!

  11. I smell what you’re stepping in… Figuratively.

    It’s great if you’re the farm wife, as in, you do both jobs and you do it well, but it’s also great if you and your husband are farmers, and share the housework. It takes all kinds.

    It’s 2013, we do what we want.

  12. Julie says:

    In love this post! I have always considered myself a farmer, even though I have a day job. During the discussions that were stimulated in California with the GMO-labeling initiative, I referred to myself as a farmer and someone had the nerve to tell me that I wasn’t the farmer, my husband was. Bad move as I then had to help inform them that while I may not drive tractor everyday or drive the fields as often as he did, we discussed it very night and he would consider me to be the co-GM of our company. Just because I’m not drivin tractor doesn’t mean that I’m not a farmer either!

  13. Carrie,

    I absolutely adore this post. The labels have always confused me as well. When I read in an article recently that we need more women in agriculture, I just about lost it. I even had to write a blog post specifically pointing out that women are everywhere in agriculture, they just aren’t always labeled “farmer” yet they are there every day making decisions with their husbands/partners and doing whatever else comes their way.

    I’m only 24 and for a few more months am still in graduate school, so I can’t technically label myself farmer yet. For now I will stick with Ag Lover and Champion, but I’m with you on the I never wanted to be a wife idea. I had decided that I was going to raise pigs and cattle and whatever else came my way and I was going to be busy and happy no matter what. My significant other frequently shakes his head over my thoughts and dreams but I am so glad there are Women In Ag championing for women to own the title of farmer!

    Thanks for making my day!

  14. I didn’t find it offensive at all! I had really never thought about what someone might hear when I say “farm wife.”
    On a related note, I have a huge problem with ag conferences that have “women’s programs” that overlap with the producer panels. Umm, excuse me? Just because I’m a woman means I don’t want to hear about waste management and EPA regulations? Who do they think is keeping the paperwork on these farms anyway?

  15. Jenni says:

    Excellent piece and valuable comment on just how important crafting of message, branding and image can be. Ironically, I am a bra burning feminist and I adore being able to join two of my many careers in one job title The Farmer’s Wife;-)….of course I am known to frequently list my occupation on government forms as “Milkmaid with Milkshake” and “Muggle/Witch Liaison”…that being said, your point is well taken that connotation is sometimes far more important and telling than denotation. I AM The Farmer’s Wife, but that certainly doesn’t begin to tell someone just what I do, that’s why it is IMPERATIVE that we make sure that we tell our story. However, there is no quicker way of getting out of a conversation with a salesman than referring to yourself as a Farm Wife and not a Farmer 😉

  16. Michelle says:

    I love this! Like many of you I am definitely a farmer – not just the wife. However, I never thought about being the “farmer’s wife” when I need to get rid of a sales man 😉 I think I will have to try that. I agree that many people in town have no idea what happens in the life of the farmer’s wife.

  17. Lorna says:

    Totally agree with you. Too many women are working as hard as the men on farms and not calling themselves farmers. When I set up my blog 2 years ago I deliberately called it Irish Farmerette cos I see myself as a bit of a fair weather farmer. yes, I bucket feed calves for 2 months every spring but at this time of the year, I don’t do much on the farm at all. I have another business and I deliberately let it go quiet during the spring. I love farming but I don’t want to do it fulltime so in deference to all those full time farmers (female) I decided to call myself a farmerette.
    I’m a hopeless housewife – my husband doesn’t get clothes folded either. I can’t wait for the day when I am making enough money to get someone in to sort out my house once a week 🙂

  18. Patty says:

    I’m of the thought that the only difference between a farmer and a farmer’s wife is the farmer’s wife knows how much is in the bank account. I therefore proudly proclaim myself to be the latter, and if really pushed, I’ll say beef producer. Around here the term “farmer” has been co-opted by people who own three chickens, watched Fresh and learned everything else they know about farming off of Pinterest. Think sustainable lavender-infused organic free-range holistically raised heritage goat’s milk soap wrapped in 100% post industrial waste recycled handmade paper. Yeah, honey, you’re a farmer alright.
    Who else but a Farmer’s Wife can show up at a potluck dinner, get drunk and start rambling about the weaning weight, ADG, and yield of the steer that’s in the homemade chili she brought? I’m glad to live where “Farmer’s Wife” is secret code for “the brains of the operation”.

  19. patriciajohnson843072869 says:

    I’m of the thought that the only difference between a farmer and a farmer’s wife is the farmer’s wife knows how much is in the bank account. I therefore proudly proclaim myself to be the latter, and if really pushed, I’ll say beef producer. Around here the term “farmer” has been co-opted by people who own three chickens, watched Fresh and learned everything else they know about farming off of Pinterest. Think sustainable lavender-infused organic free-range holistically raised heritage goat’s milk soap wrapped in 100% post industrial waste recycled handmade paper. Yeah, honey, you’re a farmer alright.
    Who else but a Farmer’s Wife can show up at a potluck dinner, get drunk and start rambling about the weaning weight, ADG, and yield of the steer that’s in the homemade chili she brought? I’m glad to live where “Farmer’s Wife” is secret code for “the brains of the operation”.

  20. jmjlaurent says:

    I so agree Carrie. I have always hated the term “housewife” or “farm wife”. It felt so limiting. I’m a farmer. Awesome post!

  21. Daizy says:

    Oh my I love ALL of ya’ll. I am a rancher/farmer of my own operation. Yep, I am and I get to knock the boys back with my knowledge every once and a while…..just to have them remember that I am the pants in this place also. My ex-husband was not interested in what I do and I got really tired of people saying it was his ranch……NOT ONE ACRE. but they assumed it was his and I was just his wife. He is gone and I am still here. They sing a different tune now…

  22. Jennifer says:

    For all things “farm-wife” related, I reference my grandma. She grew up riding on her dad’s two-row planter (before they had monitors) making sure that it was actually putting seeds in the ground. She met my grandpa when she was only 15, and she went to college and worked a job while he got started farming. She did all of the housework, kept a garden, canned, and took meals to the field, but like many farm wives she also did whatever else needed done. I read a framed article at a funeral a few years ago titled “The Farmer’s Wife” and after much searching I have not been able to find the text, but it went into basically everything that defined the term “farm wife” for me (throwing bales and milking cows and still putting an amazing meal on the table…that sort of thing). I once overheard someone ask my grandma what my grandpa did for a living (he’s been gone for 12 years), and she replied “we farmed”.

    When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a Structural Engineer. I throw in that we own a dairy if it fits the context of the situation. For example, farming conversations are much more entertaining when you have a chatty person next to you on an airplane. When people ask me what David does for a living, I tell them that we own a dairy, and he farms full-time.

    I also never had aspirations of being a wife, until I met my husband, but reality has since set in. I attempt to take responsibility for the cleanliness of the house, but I generally fail miserably, and because I milk cows, I do expect David to participate in things like laundry and dishes. I take pride in putting meals on the table because I love to cook, but much to David’s disappointment, I hate to bake. And sometimes I’m too tired to cook, and that’s ok too.

    I think I’m finally getting around to the point of my comment. As a few people have already said, to me the term Farm Wife commands almost more respect than Farmer; however, I think you make a great point in noting that term might mean something different to a person of more urban or less agricultural influence.

    Great post.

  23. Wendy N says:

    Great post and oh so true! I tell everyone I am a rancher and they roll their eyes, but that is what I am. My husband works full time and is out of town a lot. I am the one that does most of the work around here so I am a rancher!

  24. Loving the conversation you’ve generated here! I’ve thought about this a lot in my career, and even tonight, sitting in our 4-H meeting and looking at the women and families represented around the room. I guess in the end, I’m not sure that it matters what we call ourselves, so long as we’re happy with it. I know women who are married to a farmer who have nothing to do with the farm – who raise the kids and couldn’t care less about the tractor or farm decision making. I know women who work off the farm and come home at the end of the day to help do chores and make decisions and keep books and never run a tractor. I know women who are every bit the farmer their husbands are: running tractors, pulling calves and more. I know women who are farmers and who are not wives, period. Me? I own the farmwife title with pride, mostly because that’s what my mom was and she was a farmwife in Illinois in ’80s and by golly, that meant survival and partnership and perseverance. It meant a lot in our community and it still does. But that’s me. I don’t doubt that there are women who may shrink from certain duties or experiences because they feel unworthy, but I question whether that’s the fault of the wording of their job description so much as it is their natural inclination and talents. Not all of us were meant to be agvocates or speech givers or twitterers or even ag in the classroom volunteers. Or tractor drivers. Or calf pullers. We are all uniquely created and bring our own talents and skills to our family’s operation and with that, our own titles. Be a farmwife! Be a farmer! Be a farm partner! Be a housewife! Whatever! Whatever you are, be a good one.

  25. beth holt says:

    you are awsome…there is nothing wrong with this post..It is FANTASTIC…Keep it up

  26. rysfade says:

    I don’t think this is degrading at all, rather, it’s uplifting! Great post, Carrie.

  27. Carole says:

    Know exactly what you are talking about! Never thought I(at the age of 56) would be putting ear tags in day old angus calves! Never know what life adventures have
    in store for you.

  28. Ellen ell says:

    Great post, Carrie! I’ve always considered myself a dairy farmer, 4th generation at that. It’s in my blood, like it or not – good thing I love it! I did have the dream of marriage and family, and consider myself extremely blessed to find that my Mr Right loves the cows as much as I do. It would be so difficult to explain to someone who just could not understand. I live for the day our little ones are both in school, so I can spend more time in the farm day-to-day. For now, I will do what I can, run farm errands, work in the office, participate in as many Ag related organizations as I can handle and Agvocate every second of my spare time. Often friends ask “why do you do that?” when I head to an Ag event, pay for the milk the lady in line behind me at the grocery store is buying or strike up a conversation with complete strangers about where their food comes from. To me, it’s simple. I want to make sure my hub and I can keep doing what we love the most – farming. I want to do my part to insure that our kids, if they so desire, are able to continue on our legacy. It often seems there are not enough hours in the day, between kids, school & Ag organizations, the farm, being a wife and mother. But, I go to bed each night with an overflowing heart. Overtime, weekends and holidays in a farming family mean we are still together, not waiting for a missing link to join us.
    The true gift is finding the one who compliments you the best, so glad you’re not fighting over how to organize the closet! I’m sure you fill gaps for him just as well. 🙂

  29. Stacey says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am a dairy farmer in MD. I do not call myself a farm wife even though I am married and have five kids. I do practically all of the milking for our 120 cow herd everyday plus keep the books and so much more. I do minimal housework too just because I have to put so much energy into the farm work. I am more than a farm wife.

  30. Megan Brown says:

    I’m not a wife. I wasn’t born or raised to be a wife. I was raised to be a cattle rancher, I’m 32, not married, I’m not religious, I have no brothers or sisters to prove me wrong, I’m very proud of who I am. I can, I cook, I raise cattle, my own pork, I hunt, and I grow my own fruit and veggies, I can pull my own calves, I vaccinate my own cattle, I fit into no mold. I feel so left out when “farm wives” tell me what or how to feel. Where do I fit? I didn’t marry into this, was born into it. I’m not a farm wife, I am a rancher. How can I tell my story?

    • Megan Brown says:

      And don’t even get me started on perceived gender roles. Nope. No excuse. F*ck that.

    • Julie B. says:

      You do a great job on Twitter! I keep up with you there! Keep up the good work, and share your story – it’s important to hear. Don’t feel alone, either. I know several awesome cattle ranching women. I hope you can make it to the ANCW Region VI Meeting! Would love for you to meet some of them!

    • Bethany says:

      I had this conversation with my neighbor the other day. She’s much like you describe yourself. Everyone is telling her to get married. She’s not sure she wants to. I say, ‘Don’t!’…unless you are absolutely sure.
      My dad raised me to fend for myself, and do things on my own. I’ve been called ‘independent’ a lot in my life, but it’s fine with me. Which might be why I didn’t get married until I was 32. I had no ‘want to’…until this good looking broke cowboy came along. Anyway, I don’t think marriage is for everyone. Everyone is made differently. There’s nothing wrong with being confident, independent, and true to who you are.

  31. Vicki says:

    Thank you for writing this exactly the way you did. It took me a long time to come to recognize in my own life (with a little help from Jerry) that what you said is so true. I enjoyed being able to tell people that I and/or we are dairy farmers and then be happy to tell them how we could be successful with a small herd and rented land, etc. We didn’t fall into the “normal” category of a farm just because we weren’t BIG, but we did a good job with what we had and have enjoyed ourselves in the process.
    Thank you again and hope you continue – so proud of the voice you give all of us.

  32. Julie B. says:

    Carrie –

    If someone gets their drawers in a wad over this post, ignore them. If you read Genesis without 1950’s blinders on, Eve was to be a partner. You and most of the working farm wives I know are partners, and carry a large amount of the farm work load every day. If my husband did not cook, we would starve around our place.

  33. I could never understand why some women claim one “title” over another. I’m like you, I don’t want the title of farm wife. It would give society the incorrect perception of myself.
    I like to cook and like you said, make biscuits and butter but on any day of the week I rather would bust my behind in the barn before I would soak my hands in a sink full of dishwater or do laundry. I think farm wife represents that you are a super human who not only farms but keeps a house and cooks the meals daily. Some of us just don’t fit into that category.
    I am not ashamed of anything I do either. I can lift, lug, tug and yank like any man on the farm. I just can’t open my own soda bottles (go figure). I prefer to lug feed bags over laundry baskets. I prefer bottle feeding a calf to baking a cake. I prefer to muck the barn with cow shit covered boots over sweeping or mopping.
    Maybe where the difference really comes in between a farm wife and just the label of farmer is the capabilities of our comfort zones. I will be the first to admit, I like the term farmer for myself because, just like you, the added title of anything else feels like it means that I am less valued inside the barn and more some place else. Maybe it has something to do with all these non-girlie tendencies. We are unique Carrie. We do fit into a different bracket in so many ways.
    I respect and admire the women who are true farm wives but I think all of us women are the backbone to today’s farms. We work hard inside the barn, inside the house, doing paperwork, taking classes and constantly learning. We are stubborn and hardheaded. One thing we all hold common is that we are devoted to our farms, our way of life and our families.
    All titles aside, we are the women of agriculture and for that, we are all blessed.

  34. jgauker says:

    I dig all of the conversation and empowerment going on here. I blog as the “charmed life of the farmer’s wife.” I wear the “farmer’s wife” label, and I think I wear it pretty well. For a variety of reasons, I am not the farmer. I work off the farm to support my husband who works full-time off the farm and then for basically nothing on the farm in hopes that the farm will one day be his, Our situation is not unlike many others! I, however, don’t dare refer to myself as the farmer, because really, I’m not. I don’t have those decision making powers. I don’t spend my evenings out in the field. I don’t drive tractor. And, really, I’m totally OK with that. I THINK I’ve found my place on the farm in marketing – I do our facebook page, and I spend every other weekend at the farmers’ market selling our beef, but more importantly answering questions about how we raise our steers, whether or not we “feed hormones or antibiotics,” and questions about the dreaded GMOs (which as full-time employees OFF the farm and key volunteers ON the farm, we embrace and accept whole heartedly as a tool for our farm tool box!). Therefore, I’m the proud farm wife, and I FULLY SUPPORT those women who are the FARMERS and those who support the farmers!

  35. Katie W. says:

    Thank you! I needed to hear this. I may not know how to run our little cattle ranch (5 cows/1 bull and growing) but I help to feed them, worm them, fix the fence, cry over lost calves and decide what grass to plant, as well as maintain the house and kids with a full time “real” job. I’m learning every day. I am a Woman Rancher.

  36. Bethany says:

    I had to giggle when you said, “Hubs organizes the clothes in our closet by color, the hangers all face the right way.”……that is so me. When my husband hangs up his shirts I have to force myself NOT to hang them up the ‘right’ way. It’s stupid I know, but it drives me batty.
    Our house is just as chaotic, it sounds like. I have a full time job in town, plus another full time job during tax season, and a side job of bookeeping for a friend with a welding business. My husband has a full time job, and then some, with our neighbors. Plus we have our cows, which are 90 miles away, so we try to get there as much as we can. Then my sisters and brother, and I have cows that are 45 miles away, so we also have to be there. Down time doesn’t happen often.
    Assigned roles in our life, doesn’t really work. My husband would prefer that I cook, because he thinks I’m better at it than he is. He said the other night, “I just realized I can only make two meals. Steak and fried potatoes, and steak and beans.” He’s actually getting to be a pretty good cook, but doesn’t like to admit it. Dishes are up to whomever has the time. Cleaning is really left to when we ‘need’ to….I have come home to him vacuuming, still wearing his boots and spurs a couple times;)
    My feeling is, whatever your title, do it with pride and to the best of your ability. My dad would always tell us never to do anything half assed. If you were made to be a wife, be a good one. If you were made to be a mom, be a good one. If you were made to be a farmer, be a good one. If you were made to be a rancher, be a good one. Whatever God made you to be, do it the best you can. Don’t let other people tell you what you ‘should’ be doing, or who you ‘should’ be. Everyone was made to do something well, so just do it. And don’t worry about what others think.

  37. kim says:

    Yes! So much this!. I’m not the wife. I along with my sister, mom and dad are the farmers. One of my favorite memories of my significant other before he passed away was when I took him along on a parts run. He was a 6’9″ former pro hockey goalie, huge hunk of manliness. I’d never been to the place we had to get parts. Well of course they assumed he was the farmer and I was just along for the ride. When the counter guy asked a question for clarification it was directed at Nicholas. His response. I’m just the farm boyfriend, she’s the farmer. Made me fall in love with him all over again.

  38. I loved reading this and all of the comments! I find some days I am not exactly for sure who I am because of “Titles”. I do know that I am a farm girl through and through and that I always will be. Most days I am mom, wife, farmers daughter, PTO parent, photographer, sister, friend, farm hand, bookkeeper and chauffeur. See, way to many titles!! So for right now just call me Laurie and if you think I need a title, pick one.

  39. sharon Brown says:

    I can’t stop thinking about your story and another one I read recently. Both are so different. No other person no matter the gender should define another. Find your own identity. Do not marry until you know who YOU are. (honestly I am not a fan of marriage, just have a commitment ceremony as the government should not control who we are with by providing a document that makes them money) I am the voice of years of experience. My story as a cattle rancher is much different. I’m happy to read that you have a good partner. I was always referred to as the “wife” but I worked kjjust as hard if not harder than my husband. I had many more jobs besides the working of the cattle. No need to list everything as I’m sure there are others out there who know what I’m talking about. Needless to say my resume of responsibiIities is lengthy. I had an outside job as well to provide health benefits, then came home to start my other job. Worked side by side then at the end of the day was asked what was for dinner. It was bullshit but I allowed it to continue until I hit the wall so to speak. Please find yourself and be proud of who you are! Stay out of someone’s shadow.

  40. Barnyard Barbie says:

    Love! Totally love the part about milk the cow and make the biscuits! It’s so true. FarmHer have to do it all. 🙂 Great blog post!

  41. Judy says:

    Wait! I think you are married to MY husband!!!! Great Read! Love it!

  42. Laurie Miner says:

    Great post Carrie…and here’s a different spin–What if you’re like me and grew up on a family farm and still works there to this day, but it was hubby who “married into it”. He doesn’t work on the farm, but he understands that this is my passion, my life, my full time job. I’m very lucky to have found someone who doesn’t look at me and say “find another job”. I never thought I’d find someone who would turn me into a wife. I never thought I’d find someone who would accept me being a farmer.
    The pay may not be the greatest, and I come home most nights (we live 15 minutes away from the farm) smelling like crap, but it doesn’t matter. The ladies in the barn make everything worth it. I call the calves “mini-moos”, and it was hubby that came up with that moniker/nickname. We don’t have any kids yet, but I can’t wait to have he/she grow up on the farm like I did.
    Farming is all that I know, and IF I had to find a different job, I don’t think I’d be as successful as I am currently.

  43. Oh this is such a great read! You made me think on a whole different level. I like to think of myself as a farm wife (cooks, cleans, does laundry, mows, takes care of the yard work) and a farmer (makes farm decisions, works on the farm). I often leave the “farmer” part out though when describing my life to new people. From now on, it’s FARMER. I love to cook, clean and do laundry but I agree with you 100 percent that just because you’re a female, it shouldn’t have to be your duty. I still make my husband put his clothes away, fill the dishwasher and do other things to help around the house even during our busy seasons. We are all equally busy and we both need to do our part! I’m heading over to my blog to change my bio RIGHT NOW. 🙂

  44. Julie J says:

    I’m a “farm wife” who owns half the business, does the books, I own my own combine and operate it and raise 3 yr old triplets, but to most I’m just a stay at home mom. My husband always brags on me about being the boss of the harvest crew while the boss of the house. People look at him like, “Your wife really runs a combine? She can run a tractor? She can feed cows?” Well, yes, and before kids did much more it but now it all sort of runs together in our house. Anyways, the point of all that is on our tax return it says “HOMEMAKER” for my occupation. I’m not offended, I just laugh because actually being a homemaker is the hardest part of what I do. I’m confident w/ who I am and could win any Olympic “Diaper changing/wheat threshing/header greasing/molasses tank filling” event out there. Bring it on world!

  45. Dari Diva says:

    Wow, I’m glad I found this. I’m going to get this out of the way, and say, I’m a “dairy farmer”, because I am nobody’s wife, nor have I ever been (I like the comment about the farm boyfriend. Farm girlfriend/boyfriend, take your pick, either one worked for me).

    Carrie, I happened on your blog after seeing a comment from you on Dairyxbred. I started out being a ‘reluctant’ farmer with a guy who’s dream was to farm (both were city slickers, his dad rented cropland). He bought a farm, and after four years of weekend farming, I took the plunge and moved there. HE was the one who wanted to dairy, not me. I had absolutely no interest in those cattle. But…

    I got stuck getting up at 3 a.m. to check on our heifers to see if they were in labor. I don’t know how I got elected to do this, but I had no idea of what to even look for. I wasn’t doing any milking at the time (only had a few head), but again, got stuck having to go in the barn to ‘watch’ when I would have rather been sleeping. Then, I got stuck having to start the milking on occasion because we had to go somewhere, and he was working part-time at a nearby farm. A year later, I was doing ALL the milking, and he was in the house (he should have been the housewife because I totally suck at that job) just being a guy doing nothing useful, unless it had to do with farm machinery.

    I used to get very offended whenever someone came around, and asked questions about the cattle. Of course, they always directed their questions at him, and instead of him turning it over to me, tried to act like he knew what he was doing (I guess he didn’t want to show that he knew very little about what was going on). I ended up most of the time correcting his responses (if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this).

    I made the decision a few years later to sell the herd due to a real estate deal gone sour, and didn’t want us to lose everything we had over an idiot trying to pull a fast one. I managed to keep a few head, but this about killed me. My life WAS the cattle. I had to actually get a job off the farm, and it was a big adjustment to have to work for someone else again.

    Fast forward ten years from the herd getting sold, and I’m back to milking, now with seven years under my belt. I’m the lone-ranger-ex-girlfriend-turned-total-dairy-farmer. The guys have no choice but to talk to ME.The good part about that is, I had the prerequisite of working with a bunch of guys before striking out on my own. It’s not easy going loner, and I do the best to my ability.

  46. Dari Diva says:

    Wow, I’m glad I found this. I’m going to get this out of the way, and say, I’m a “dairy farmer”, because I am nobody’s wife, nor have I ever been (I like the comment about the farm boyfriend. Farm girlfriend/boyfriend, take your pick, either one worked for me).

    Carrie, I happened on your blog after seeing a comment from you on Dairyxbred. I started out being a ‘reluctant’ farmer with a guy who’s dream was to farm (both were city slickers, his dad rented cropland). He bought a farm, and after four years of weekend farming, I took the plunge and moved there. HE was the one who wanted to dairy, not me. I had absolutely no interest in those cattle. But…

    I got stuck getting up at 3 a.m. to check on our heifers to see if they were in labor. I don’t know how I got elected to do this, but I had no idea of what to even look for. I wasn’t doing any milking at the time (only had a few head), but again, got stuck having to go in the barn to ‘watch’ when I would have rather been sleeping. Then, I got stuck having to start the milking on occasion because we had to go somewhere, and he was working part-time at a nearby farm. A year later, I was doing ALL the milking, and he was in the house (he should have been the housewife because I totally suck at that job) just being a guy doing nothing useful, unless it had to do with farm machinery.

    I used to get very offended whenever someone came around, and asked questions about the cattle. Of course, they always directed their questions at him, and instead of him turning it over to me, tried to act like he knew what he was doing (I guess he didn’t want to show that he knew very little about what was going on). I ended up most of the time correcting his responses (if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this).

    I made the decision a few years later to sell the herd due to a real estate deal gone sour, and didn’t want us to lose everything we had over an idiot trying to pull a fast one. I managed to keep a few head, but this about killed me. My life WAS the cattle. I had to actually get a job off the farm, and it was a big adjustment to have to work for someone else again.

    Fast forward ten years from the herd getting sold, and I’m back to milking, now with seven years under my belt. I’m the lone-ranger-ex-girlfriend-turned-total-dairy-farmer. The guys have no choice but to talk to ME.The good part about that is, I had the prerequisite of working with a bunch of guys before striking out on my own. It’s not easy going loner, and I do the best to my ability.

    If this happens to post twice, sorry.

  47. cnc809 says:

    I just got the pleasure of hearing all about why you blog about the things you do in class, and after reading this post along with several others, I think you make really good points! It’s important to tell your story and be proud of it. You seem to be very open and honest with how you feel about things and that is awesome. Many people are afraid to so I appreciate that you tell it like it is!

  48. Annie says:

    Just read this post and I sure admire you and all the women here. I have a little hobby farm so it’s nowhere the real thing but my husband is disabled and I am the farmer. Except…. on those days I go to work part time… I don’t feel it then I come home to find the neighbors dog has chased and killed a chicken or someone got stuck in the fence or some incident happened and I feel like a real farmer would have been here watching out for that. I guess all the big guys have hired hands but I hear so many of you working off farm and I always wonder how you feel about that. I tear around like a crazy woman doing some chores and my heart aches a bit driving out the driveway to go to work and I feel guilty. I guess I might be a real farmer after all

    • Kate Norris says:

      I am trying to work off farm, purely because of the scarcity of good quality part time labour in our area. If I work off farm full time it means we can afford to put on a full time employee to replace me, who can milk at times when I can’t (we have 2 kids, morning milking clashes with kid wrangling time, and the whole district thinks we are nuts because we have changed our whole milking structure so that we are finished at night before the school bus gets in, but it works for us). But working off farm also means that during calving I still need to do my share of night checks and still have all the bookwork (financial and cow) and herd planning on my plate.
      Never ever consider yourself a lessor person because you work off farm to make ends meet, you are still a farmer, it’s just that sometimes the farm needs a little propping up!

  49. marabudde says:

    Reblogged this on The Ginger & the Jersey and commented:
    I hate the term “wife.” Another good one by Dairy Carrie.

  50. Kate Norris says:

    I’m no fan of the term “farmer’s wife”, it drives me insane. I am a Farmer, or I am a Farming Wife, never have I been, and never will I be a Farmer’s Wife in my opinion. I studied long and hard at University to earn the title of Agricultural Scientist too, but that title scares people I’ve found.
    My aversion to the title “farmer’s wife” is largely born out of an awful TV show here in Australia called “Farmer Wants a Wife” a pathetic show, in which hundreds of “acre hunters” descend on some picturesque location to be “picked” like cows at auction, by the farmers, to go back to their farm, and 1 by 1 be cast off to go home with the romantic notion of farming still in their heads, with 1 ‘lucky’ lady remaining (somewhat like the programme “the bachelor”). Never are they exposed to a difficult calving, a disease outbreak, an 18 hour day, so they don’t understand the full ramifications of the role they desire to take on.
    It is degrading to the women involved, and even more so to those of us who are in boots and all every single day being kicked and shat on in the dairy and working beside our partner/husband.

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