I Am a Farmer… Right?

Sometimes, I feel like I’m an impostor in my own life.

Picture this (Sicily, 1975… haha, sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  It’s a Golden Girls reference.  I know, I’m very much aging myself here…).

Okay, seriously, picture this:  You’re doing great at your job and really enjoying it.  But there are a lot of moving parts to what makes up your position and so you rely on many other people to both help you do your job well and help the business succeed.  But since it’s a business and a team, you are happy with doing your part, whatever that may be, to make sure business stays good and everyone involved is doing good, too.

But then you have a conversation with someone outside your job, outside your company.  That person asks you about what you do for a living, and so you tell them.  And they go, “Oh, well the success of the company has nothing to do with you.  You’re just a ____.  What you do doesn’t really matter that much.”

And then you go home.  And you’re sad.  Because now, you are doubting yourself and how much you matter to the job that you love and are doing really well at.  Apparently, you’re seen as someone who doesn’t matter; or at least, you’re seen as someone who’s not at all essential to the success of the company that you love and the business you helped to build.

But did you help build your business?  Did you do all that?  Or are you just an impostor?

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I sometimes feel confused about my role in our farm.  This is because, at this very moment in time, I’m not very involved in the day-to-day operations.  Sometimes, I go a few weeks without going into the barn.  (That is very hard for me to admit/say, just FYI)

Now, the reasoning behind my low involvement level is because, well, The Kids.  And although that seems to be my answer to everything these days, I think it’s a pretty relevant and important one.  Please note that I said answer and not excuse.

I’ve talked before about how difficult it is for me to find balance between my writing, my family and my involvement in the farm.  I said to my husband a long time ago that I didn’t want to be “one of those farm wives who has nothing to do with the farm.”  Well, ta-da!  Here I am!  One of those wives.

But at this point in my life, I now have a completely new level of understanding and respect for “those wives.”  Yes, there are women out there who are married to farmers and choose to not have a lot to do with the farm.  That’s their choice and who am I to judge?  But many of us – farm wives, I mean – aren’t involved with the farm business as much as we’d like to be because we are involved in the business of raising our kids.  For some, that translates into a non-essential job, one that does not contribute to the farm or the business overall.  Hell, to those people, raising kids isn’t even a job.

Well, to those folks, I say it is a job and a damn important one at that.

# # # # # #

I think anyone who either has their own business (like I do, x 2) or is married/in a relationship with someone who has their own business will understand what I mean.  There is a stigma out there that says if you’re not involved in the business every day in some way, shape or form, you’re a non-contributing member of that business.  That goes for child care providers, too.  And this is what I don’t get.

Why am I a non-contributing member of my family’s chosen area of business because I’m not doing chores twice a day?  How is it that I’m not contributing to this family and this business by staying at home with my children to raise them?  And how does it make sense that I was seen as more of a contributing business/family member when I was working off farm, for someone else?

These are the things that confuse me, that have caused me to question my role in this business and this family.

Except, I’m over it.

Women who have the choice to stay home and raise their children are faced with judgement and ridicule and unfair assumptions.  Unbeknownst to some, I do wish I could be in the barn more and that I could help out more when it’s busy like it is now.  But I do NOT wish to be with my children less.  I do NOT wish that I was sending them to daycare full-time and that someone else got to witness all the great milestones that come with growing babies.  I do NOT wish to not see my husband and family every day because I’m on the road to work before they’re in from the barn.

Now, I understand that the things I don’t wish for are the realities of many, many women.  And I applaud you all because I know how hard it is to feel like you have to choose between work and kids, and how stressful and sad it is to find yourself wishing you had another option but knowing full well that you don’t.  I also understand that you feel (and know you are being) judged as a wife/partner/mother no matter which way you choose to spend your time.  And I think that really, really sucks.

The job that I have of raising my kids contributes just as much to our business and family as I would if I were choring full-time or otherwise working full-time on farm.  My job now just contributes in a different way.  It’s difficult for people to understand the value of contribution when they can’t see the results right in front of their faces.  I get that.  I really do.

But what I do and how I contribute to the farm is very much like the wind you feel while you sit on your patio or front porch.  You can’t see it but you know it’s there, that it exists.  That it matters and has a purpose.

So just think of me as the wind.

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