Since the Milkman and I have started dating there has only been one thing that we have truly fought about and that is his other love, the farm.
On Facebook over the past few days I have seen post after post in my agriculture groups about dads not going to first baby ultrasounds, and fathers not going to soccer games all because of the farmer's other love. Some women have said, they are the 2nd wife or the mistress to their farmer. And I can relate.
Personally, shitty advice has been given to those seeking guidance, for example, "You know what you signed up for," "It sounds like you are being selfish," "Without getting the work done on the farm you wouldn't have anything," "Farming isn't just a job, it is a lifestyle and I am ok with being second best to that."
So, if we could, for a second, transport ourselves back to 2017...k, thanks and let's break this down (the break down at my house anyway).
Man of the House: Farmer, Professional Goofer Offer, Laundry Folder, Vacuumer, Cuddler extrodinare (don't tell him I told you),
Woman of the House: Digital Consultant (40+ hours a week), Dinner Cooker, Laundry Doer, Bath Giver, Bill Payer, Communicator with the outside world, Cleaner of the House
In my evaluation of all the things my husband and I do we have communicated and made it a priority to share some responsibilities. Does that make us the perfect example? Hell to the naw, naw, naw, far from it. (Do yourself a favor and listen to the song.)
As I mentioned above, most of our arguments (me getting pissy and then him getting mad because I'm pissy) are because I want to see him more and him to see our kids more. I would love to be able to spend more time as a family. Most of the time he tells me, we can do that if you would bring everyone up to the parlor and we can milk together. (This is where the eye roll emoji comes in real handy.) "I love you honey, but there are no chairs in that parlor and holding a 20lb 10 month old in a carrier and not walking around in the freezing cold does not sound like wonderful family time to me."
The Milkman promises to do things with us and then at the last minute plans have to change. This is part of the unforgiving nature of farming.
I will never believe that this farm comes before our marriage or our kids. Are their times I need to take a backseat (hello, manure hauling...the bane of my existence,) and "suck it up?" Absolutely. During those times, I express my frustration, he tells me "that is just the way it is," I call his bullshit, and then we move forward and learn.
He learns to let me know when things are going to get crazy on the farm and he is out of commission, and I learn to give him the benefit of the doubt, knowing that he feels intense pressure to make this farm better and better.
However, I don't bend over backwards to let him getaway with cancelling events, not helping with the kids, not being home when he says he is going to, and not spending time with me (I hate you TV, the Milkman's 3rd love.) There is this amazing invention called a cellphone that magically lets you call a number and speak to your wife...use it.
Here are 4 things we have done to ease my frustrations and to make it so the Milkman doesn't feel like he is having to choose between the family and the farm.
1.) Communication - I always tell him when I am frustrated...as soon as it happens. Most of the time he can tell because I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I tell him what bothers me, he argues back, I rebuttal, he gives up. Now, I am a pushover when it comes to him so while he gives up most of the time I always come back with, "I just want to see you more and love you." (insert a pouty face too, it helps, I promise.)
2.) Kids in the Parlor - Our oldest is now old enough to spend the evenings with the Milkman in the parlor. You have no idea how wonderful that is. They get to spend boy time together and I only have to chase one child around our house. I can get supper cooked and one baby almost to bed by the time they get home. We also go up and visit daddy for a little while on nights that are decent. I don't do cold weather.
3.) Make time for your Marriage - When the Milkman and I lay down at night we typically goof off. We talk about things that were entertaining throughout the day, most of the time he quotes something off of the Bobby Bones Show (he is slightly obsessed.)
4.) Keep a Dirty House - Definitely not what Martha would tell you to do. I have come to realize that I can't do it all and still be a good mom and a good wife. I am not as obsessive about certain things as I used to be. My house has never been kept spotless but in the past few years I have wanted it to be. Let me tell you now ladies...let those kids play and throw their toys everywhere. The memories I have with my children are mostly when my house has been messy. Last night for example, I am putting A to sleep in his toddler bed (with the lights off because LIGHTS WAKE A SLEEPING KID) and I lay him down in a bed full of tractors! That little toot had lined all of his METAL tractors in his bed. Oops. We had a blast, in the dark, trying to get all of those tractors out of his bed. He laughed the whole time.
Heads up, you are enough. You are an amazing woman, who sometimes feels like a single mother, and sometimes that is ok. But please, call your farmer out on his bullshit. And tell him when he asked you to marry him, "He signed up for this."