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Embrace Love and Let Go of Loneliness

February is typically a month of love. Couples being happy and embracing the love between them. But what do you do if loneliness is on your farm? Did you spend February lonely or embraced in love.

Her sniffles were clear on the phone line, she said “He used to spend so much time with me on the weekends, but now that we are married he doesn’t even have time to go to church with me on Sunday morning. I am extremely lonely.”

[Tweet “You don’t have to be #lonely on the #farm. Use these tips to embrace the #love and get closer to your partner.”]

Another much older woman touched my arm to stop me passing by at a farm show. “Elaine, I want to thank you for giving me the best birthday ever. My husband took me out for supper, bought me a card for the first time, and even showed up with flowers! He heard you speak about the power of encouraging in practical ways, and this is the first time in 24 years of marriage he has done anything!”

Okay, this is not written to bash male farm partners, this is a reminder for us all to be careful about how we manage our energy and time on the farm as we desire to build healthier relationships and stay happily married. It is important to embrace love.

When we are feeling lonely, we all get to choose our response. I am not intending any readers to feel “less than” or guilty, I want us to see the issues of loneliness on the farm and create practical solutions.

Workaholics

Farms are not small and they require a lot of work, typically from dusk to dawn. My husband works a lot and is late getting in the house. “Workaholics” are alive and well on farms. The work is never done…or is this a lie you have swallowed? We all get to choose the big rock priorities, and spending time with young children can be worked into a full farm day. Eat supper together, for 30 minutes. Then go back to the job. Ten o’clock at night is not a great time to see young kids who need to be sleeping. I know one young father who reads bedtime stories and tucks his son in, then he heads back out for a few more hours. Consider new solutions to your labour shortage.

Barter Time with Your Neighbours

When my son was pre-school, I had every Tuesday for errands, writing, doing my projects while he played at his friend’s house in town. On Thursdays, the reverse happened, and his friend came to the farm. This sharing of care helped two moms build some reliable space for our priorities beyond child care. If you are a long distance from other young moms, perhaps there is a granny my age who is willing to pitch in. You need to be courageous and ask for help.

Listen to Podcasts and Email the Interviewer

I enjoy Cal Fussman’s “Big Questions” podcast and reached out to encourage him to build his speaking business. Cal has breakfast with Larry King every morning, but that did not stop him from responding to my email. It’s not that hard today to build relationships and be a life long learner. The books you read (or listen to on audible.com) and the people you meet will have a huge impact on helping you feel part of an energized world. My newest book “Building Your Farm Legacy” is on audible.com.

Pick Up the Phone

Use your smartphone as a device to call a friend, not text! Adult interaction is a great gift when you haven’t had an adult conversation in days.  Applications such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Viber or Zoom.us can make this a video call. I call my New Zealand friend  on Viber. Male farmers need this ,too as their emotional support networks die from lack of attention . Everyone benefits when relationships stay connected.

A young farm mom’s tip is to “Call  your mom!”

Send Cards of Encouragement

Mark Twain said, “A person can live on a good compliment for over 3 months.” Don’t worry about picking out a perfect Hallmark card, you don’t have time for that, but do spend time writing out why you love your spouse and seal the letter with a kiss. If your love language is “words of affirmation” you will love cards. If your encouragement is having your spouse clean out the pickup truck, then make that a fun project with help from the kids.

Pray

Spend some time pouring out your thoughts and feelings to a God who truly cares for you and will comfort you. Reading the Psalms can be a reality check as to what it feels like to be lonely and in the pit, but you don’t have to stay there. I believe that God’s comfort is real, so if you call me for coaching, I will also ask if I can pray for you. People who believe in God’s goodness and grace are never alone for we know God is always with us, He has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort and counsel us. Don’t neglect your spiritual side, the woman who wants to go to church goes without her husband and prays he will join her. Our family has chosen not to work on Sundays and our employees love having a guaranteed break weekly.

Unplug from Social Media

You will not die if your phone is left behind in the house for 2 hours.  Binging on Facebook feeds and comparing your farm life in seeding and harvest with the folks having fun on weekends is a joy stealer. Use your social media to reach out to other parents and get together for simple pleasures like weiner roasts, time at the lake, or supper on your pickup tailgate. Bring along a batch of homemade play dough. Plan to gather face to face.

Go Solo if You Have to

Where is it written that you are a horrible spouse if you go to a house concert by yourself? You’ll see lots of your friends and neighbours there. This may be very controversial for marriages that are highly enmeshed, but having new friends when your spouse just wants to re-energize with alone time is not bad. If your spouse refuses to leave the farm for play time or holidays, you can choose a sister, friend or cousin to travel with you.

Break Bread Together

Having folks at my table the best way to conquer “sorry me” feelings.  When you reach out to others to invite them to share supper you can have long uninterrupted conversations while the kids have fun playing legos or you can choose to share the conversation with all generations. Go potluck if you are feeling overwhelmed !

Let me know what you are doing to let go of loneliness on your farm.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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