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6 Important Roles for Farm Wives And How to Rejuvenate Them

I wish you could have been there to see it. I was speaking to a farm couple and when I asked, “when is it your wife’s turn to get what she wants?”, I saw the farmer’s wife poke him in the arm.

Older farm men usually hate it when I ask that question—they’re very content to keep living on the home place, being in the center of activity, and looking out for the daily details of farm life.

On the other hand, their loving and faithful wives of forty or more years are not so keen to look into the face of a farm stress mess. They were hoping that last harvest was their last crop on the farm.

As a farm family coach, I’ve done a “roles storyboard” for my life, to help me focus on the key things I want to make happen for a more satisfying life.

I want to give you the tools to do the same.

Here’s how you can rejuvenate your roles (including as a farm spouse or woman in agriculture).

Rejuvenating your roles.

Living with a focus on your key goals helps you make concrete, detailed plans to block off time for the things you need…for you.

Yes, this is about you.

It’s about taking good care of yourself: extreme self-care so your well is full and flowing with encouragement and energy to do the tasks the farm team needs from you.

It’s also about creating a sense of harmony—not resentment—when your needs are not being met. You’re ready to execute actions in your six major roles because you have a plan.

You know what you are going to start or continue doing, and you know what you’re going to stop doing.

Six Important Roles of Women in Agriculture—and How to Rejuvenate Them

Let’s see if you can fill in your own roles storyboard with visions and plans for what you want and need. Do this for each of the six roles.

To help you do this, I’m going to offer up personal details from my own plan..

[Tweet “#Farm women, here are 6 of your important #roles and how to rejuvenate them”]

1. Personal.

After traveling to help farm families with succession planning, I come home feeling like I’ve eaten too much and haven’t moved enough.

For me, rejuvenating this role for myself means:

  • Going for more walks, or hitting the treadmill 3 times a week.
  • I “write what I bite” as I journal my food intake.(Brightlineeating.com )
  • I journal in my diary every night before sleep in order to “brain dump the details” onto paper and get a good sleep.

Mindful eating, walking, regular exercise and good sleep are my personal self-care goals.

2. Couple.

Crop care  is exciting on the farm, and marriage time is usually squeezed into a quick morning hug and a 15-minute update while supper is inhaled.

What I want to focus on is making deposits of encouragement to my hubby and keeping things on the home front running smoothly. I don’t take tensions personally, and I focus on solving problems when the crop is the first priority. My attitude is one of gratitude for the privilege we have of being good land stewards.

My dating expectations are realistic: a ride together to check fields, and a quiet Sunday to refresh our tired bodies and engage affectionately with each other.

At my coaching training retreat, I met a professional career woman who had “weekly” date nights, quarterly weekend romantic getaways, and yearly two-week vacations to keep her marriage singing along.

We are not singing in the same choir obviously.

My challenge to you is, are you whining and nagging and complaining about the state of your marriage? Or are you consciously building up the emotionally-wedded bank account?

My three key role rejuvenation goals for couple time are:

  • To block off time on Sundays to connect.
  • To turn off the TV and go for walks together instead.
  • To look for specific ways to show acts of service to my husband so he feels cherished. I know cards, gifts, and verbal affirmation are not his preferred love language. He likes action: the hot meals, the tidied office, and the willingness to run for parts. Some women who operate equipment appreciate meals made for them.

Want to hear more about keeping or building a strong relationship on the farm? Don’t miss this post where I talk about marriage fitness. I’ve also got my nine top tips for loving a farmer right here. 

3. Family.

What are your plans to rejuvenate your family? Personally, I love family gathering celebrations.

Farming always demands lots of time, yet we can all find time to show appreciation for hard work. Verbal and written affirmation via notes, cards, texts, and Facebook can go a long way to helping the family stay connected during stressful times.

If you’re sending a card of encouragement, take time to tell the recipient how much they mean to you. Invite cousins to visit. Cook together with your adult children on rainy days when you can’t do outside work.

A long time ago, I was intent on teaching our son to be skilled in the kitchen. In fact, it was on my role sheet as an intentional goal. Now,he is managing our farm and leaves most of the cooking to his spouse.  He was a great cook.

4. Work.

I’m ready to get my own affairs in better order, and feed the burn barrel.

I’ve started a binder for our kids to grab if we die suddenly, or if something happens and they need to know how to carry on the business of life and the farm.

Ongoing cleaning of both my office and the farm office are a high priority. Clutter drains energy and as I age I need all the energy I can manage!

I also grab flowers from my garden or shrubs to keep me company at my desk. Beauty creates energy. What treasures in your home can you re-purpose or re-arrange to bring you a sense of delight in your workspace?

I regularly reflect on the financials of our personal wealth bubble and have some crucial conversations with our financial advisors and accountant.

I talk a lot more about financial advisors for farm families here and how they can help with generational transfers, farm succession planning, and much more.  

Part of the resentment of many farm women is that their dreams also require some financial backing. Sometimes it seems like their goals aren’t given the support they deserve. Income tax reports will also shine a light on your situation and what steps you might want to take to improve your financial well-being.

5. Friends.

Your true friends are the ones who show up on your doorstep or phone you, regardless of the “busyness” of the season.

Women know that emotional support beyond the family is important. Gossip is not the goal—the expression of needs and wants and curiosities, held in confidence, is what fuels strong, healthy friendships.

I’m sad that many in my audiences tell me that they have no friendships beyond their spouses.

What happened?

Did you get too involved in the day-to-day demands of work? Did you expect too much of a relationship and forget that you needed to reciprocate their inputs, that it’s an ebb-and-flow of give-and-take, rooted in genuine care for the other’s well-being?

My closest friend from grade eight, a life-long companion, now lives two time zones away. Phone conversations with her are a healing balm and source of joy when I need a reward for a full day of activity.

For women in agriculture, connections are a key way to stay resilient, so nourish your friendships with an attitude of gratitude.

6. Community.

In our spiritual community, we’re responsible for nourishing our care group. This group consists of young families and older seasoned folks.

Because we have chosen not to work on Sundays, we have a guaranteed time for renewal and rest. We can use Sunday to be part of our church family community and practice hospitality. We can keep meals simple with buns, cheese, jam, pickles, and fresh fruit.

If you’re extroverted like me, you get energy from being with other folks.

I have shared this practice with my clients, who don’t always think it is economically feasible to take a Sabbath rest. It works well for us and is the key to our rejuvenation.

I hear things like, “Oh Elaine, that would send my dad off the rails if we chose to rest on Sunday and not work!”

Well, have you tried it? What is your health and family time worth to you? If it rains, there are lots of other jobs to do, but when do your brain and body get some downtime? I understand many of you have 2 jobs, on the farm and one off the farm. You still need some renewal time.

As entrepreneurs, we should be able to set some of our own timelines for the type of lifestyle that feeds our soul and fuels our passion.

Stop whining about the stress in your life that comes from being women in agriculture.  Instead, start filling in your roles storyboard with personal, couple, family, work, friends, and community details. You’ll be amazed at what can happen.

Don’t compare your life with others. Comparison is a joy stealer!

Be rooted and grounded in love. Take care of you!

Would you like help with securing your farming relationships, handling farm transitions, and inheriting farmland? Contact me today to learn about my farm succession planning and farm family coaching!

If you enjoyed this article for women in agriculture and you’d like to dive deeper, don’t miss these posts:

The Farmland Dilemma: Help! The Siblings Who Don’t Farm are Getting Farmland!
How to Communicate To the Different Generations on the Farm
Keeping Farm Transitions Fair

 

This article was originally published on July 19, 2017, and has been updated. 

 

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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