Dear Country Mom
Ever forget you have an egg in your pocket?
Have you kept a baby anything warm in your shirt to save it?
Do you know the general composition of muck?
Does cold weather mean taking precautions so that nothing dies?
Do your children’s chores mean actual physical labor?
You are my people.
I went to Kroger today with hay in my hair and muck on the bottom of my pants.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not had someone mention it, oh-so-innocently laughing about “my bravery on an obviously tough day.” Lady, you have no idea.
This is just a day.
Country moms, I know you have been there. This life of kids and all things rural is not for the faint of heart. It is also not for the picky, the perfectionist or the manicured princess.
I see you doing all the things a mom does and all the things a farmer does (or a gardener or whatever has you away from the pavement and general population.)
People think getting kids ready and out the door is a neat trick? Country moms do with kids who get much dirtier while also making sure everything on the farm is fed, contained and safe and they have to be back before it all needs to be done again.
What can slow us down?
Fence down, injured horse, missing poultry, mastitis, births, deaths, sick child, dogs running off after deer, tractor blocking the road, pig in the road, someone needing to be pulled out of the mud, irrigation leak, neighbor needing help, unexpected weather, frozen water…you get the idea. Our plans can change at any moment. Control freaks need not apply. I literally can’t be bothered to match my socks.
For us, life is happening on the farm and everything else is secondary.
Yes, we sometimes make it places clean and on time but it is not to be counted on.
The things that so many people take for granted these days are not even on our radar. The amount of time and money our townie friends may spend on their own maintenance is spent on animals or gardens or children in our world without a thought otherwise.
Sure, I like to have my hair done but not that much. That is time I could be doing something that matters around here.
The money I don’t spend in salons is money I’d rather spend on tack or seed.
Animal feed is a on a higher budget line than groceries.
The must-haves of life are just different. Our kids need boots, our horses need a farrier, our animals need bedding, and there is always a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced, repaired, purchased or maintained. My hair? My nails? What?
I accidentally bought a pair of leather soled pumps once for a night out with hubby. I had to wear a different pair out to our truck because the walk out there would have ruined them. Shoes like that aren’t meant for long walks through gravel and mud.
And we don’t just “run down to the” ANYTHING. Getting to town to do or buy things takes more than a bit of aforethought. Yes, all moms have this dilemma, but distance makes it more of a schedule killer.
I remember when my kids were little and we went to church 45 minutes from home. The idea of doing anything that started at 7pm was laughable. By the time you get home it is 9 or so, the kids are late to bed, chores are not done (and now have to be done in the dark) and everyone is miserable. And we are up at 5 am. Nope, staying home it is.
And we know our lives are hilarious in a funnier-when-it-happens-to-someone-else kind of way.
I have a friend with a chicken she has a hard time keeping out of her truck. The hen gets in when the kids do.
Another friend I have never seen in anything but muck shoes. Ever.
We touch things on a regular basis only medical professionals can stomach.
We wear things only we understand.
Our mud rooms have mud.
Our kids pee outside.
Our adults pee outside. What else are you going to do when you are out for 12 hours making hay?
And we’ve hurt our backs throwing that hay. We’ve hurt other stuff lifting too many feed bags.
Our alarm systems consist of dogs and a minefield of boots on the floor that require Cirque du Soleil skills to get past. Some of us also have obnoxious guineas in the yard. If you get past all of that, I hope you step on a Lego.
We’ve had to deal with septics backing up.
Many of us have either very short hair or have never been seen without it tied up. My mother used to have long hair. A peacock pooped on it before work one day. She chopped it off and hasn’t had long hair in 30 years. No one has time for that.
We pull things out of our washing machines some people wouldn’t even recognize.
Our kids get dirty on a level that might kill more refined people.
Our tools are worn and full sized, not cute and clean.
We are vets and doctors when there is no one else.
We have open doors to everyone who stops by.
We know our way around the hardware store and the tractor supply.
We schedule travel around the happenings of the farm, not the other way around.
Our kids know things. I have to tell mine never to mention the mechanics of reproduction to their city friends or explain the butchering and processing of meat.
When I was a kid we had a friend over to the farm and my parents had a mare coming for the stallion to cover. They told us to keep our friend in the house until they came to get us. We didn’t. My mother is still red from having to explain to the girl’s mother what her daughter witnessed.
And our kids can forage. They literally wouldn’t starve in our woods.
Hunting aside, guns are just a fact out here. They are to defend against predators and to be humane when something is suffering and can’t be helped.
It is just a different life.
I sometimes wish I could explain it to my city mom friends but it just shocks them and I have become the token eccentric in some circles. And that is okay. I can own that.
So, here’s to you, moms on the farm. Here’s to the way of life you haven’t let die, the dirt under your nails and your grit. I love my tribe. You are awesome. Don’t go trying to fit into someone else’s box.
P.S. I’d love to hear your stories of being a mom on the farm