Every so often, there are blog posts that circulate that try to capture what the life of a farmwife is like. Most of these are cute, entertaining, and fairly true. But they are not totally real. When the biggest complaints you have is that mealtimes aren’t consistent and you don’t have a date night during busy times of the year…well, then you haven’t been a farmwife for very long.
My mom came from the big city and never lived a day on a farm until she said “I do”. Her life as a farmwife was far from easy. For thirty-seven years, she worked alongside my dad. Times were hard. Prices were low. Banks wanted money. Family members got sick.
Here are 10 Things My Mom, a Real Farmwife, Had to Do:
10. Learn how to sew up a prolapsed ewe. When a ewe keeps pushing after her lamb is born (or sometimes before it’s ready to be born) her uterus flips out. And you have to clean it, push it back in and then sew her up. My mom, the city girl who got weak at the sight of blood or discussion of injuries, did the prolapse fixing around these parts.
9. Take the news that her husband’s favorite uncle had died unexpectedly to him in the field. And then hold him as he broke down and sobbed.
8. Hold her family together when her husband was diagnosed and treated for cancer. Not once, but twice. Her children were 16, 14 and 13 the first time he battled cancer. Her husband couldn’t farm that year and her oldest and youngest children tried to do the field and livestock work, but they couldn’t get it done with school. The church and our community came together to plant and harvest our crop that year.
7. Be her husband’s primary caregiver as his cancer was diagnosed as terminal. Watch him waste away to half of his body weight. Wipe and clean him when he no longer could. Pray with him, read to him, sit with him until he fell asleep. Then go to her room and cry so he wouldn’t hear her.
6. Support her husband and keep the family peace when tempers flared between her husband and her father-in-law. Keep her mouth shut when her mother-in-law would come into their house without knocking, stir her pots on the stove just to make sure her son was being fed well. Years after these incidents, my mom was the one to lead my grandpa in his prayer of salvation…at age 92. Had she flown off the handle and given him a piece of her mind, she might never have had that chance.
5. Take a job off the farm in order to put food on the table and clothes for her kids. Our farm survived the 80’s…just barely. It was my mom’s teaching job that kept the bank at bay just enough that we could stay on the farm.
4. Go without a winter coat or new clothes. My mom was a teacher and we couldn’t afford a new winter coat for her when her other literally wore out. She had her school staff jacket and that was it. All that winter, the days my mom had outside recess duty were all sunny and calm. God honored her sacrifice and cared for her in that simple, yet profound way.
3. Watch her husband and his adding machine try to make the balance sheet come out in the black. And then find a way to make it work when it doesn’t.
2. Hold her husband and support him when he was forced to liquidate his farm assets. To see his lifelong work be sold to the highest bidder. To wonder, “What do we do now?” And to pray, trust and rejoice in God’s sovereign plan for their lives. To know that Romans 8:28 is true.
1. Be a Godly wife and mother. Be the model of self-sacrifice. Train up three Godly children who are successful. And then, have time to rest…a good and faithful servant.
We lost this farmwife eight months ago. She collapsed in her apartment and was gone instantly. Oh, how I miss her. How much I want to be like her. The best compliment for a woman is that her children rise up and call her blessed. Dear, sweet Mama, I bless your name. I am thankful for your sacrifice. Thank you, thank you for being a mother who did the hard things that held our family together.
Day 9 Homework: If your mother is still living, call her. If she is gone, spend some time reflecting on the woman she was.