It was only a glint that I saw at first, in my father-in-law's eye, and a flood of different emotions engulfed me — excitement, apprehension, and panic. My heart rate climbed, my senses were on full alert. We were going to start seeding today!
I married a 4th generation grain farmer. My husband works with his father, and his grandfather still puts in more hours than the average hired hand, I’m certain. Farming is in their blood; they live and breathe it. I came from a smaller, hobby-type acreage throughout my childhood years. We had a range of animals, from horses to cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, dogs and cats. Horses were something we had from my earliest memory on -- oh, and our beloved childhood dogs, too. So, needless to say, I was in for a huge culture shock when I became a part of the farm. My first experience farming was when we were still dating and I moved here for the spring of 2014 to help with seeding. A lifestyle change is a bit of an understatement for what I experienced. You can be told what it's like to farm: the pressures; insane hours; relentless struggles; breakdowns at the most frustrating moments; the blissful aroma of freshly turned soil; the countless, stunning prairie sunsets; the all-too-often sunrises; and the amazing feeling, deep in your soul, that you are working the land and trusting in God to help your livelihood succeed. But being told these stories, feelings and emotions that you are going to experience is nothing compared to living through them. I fell in love -- both with the man I was working beside, and the farm life.
Fast forward 6 years and we are married with two beautiful daughters. I went from working beside the men in the field, running equipment, and just helping wherever I was needed, to becoming a full time mom and cook for the crew. I’ve always been a get-my-hands-dirty type of person, so the transition to trying to cook with children underfoot has been, and still can be, a big struggle. I was honestly a little resentful at the start. I didn’t want to leave my babies in any sort of child care, but I also was having a pity party at the thought of cooking. Looking back, I see how illogical it all was. At the moment I think I knew that too, but I wasn’t guarding my thoughts, and I let negativity take over. I also started dealing with postpartum depression after the birth of my second daughter, so a lot of my thoughts weren’t balanced. A journey then started towards natural solutions to better my mental health. I was soon able to actually enjoy my position as cook, and feel proud at my contribution to the farm.
I knew we were going to be starting to seed soon; I had made my Costco run in preparation for the food items we would need. I was about as prepared as I could be, but seeing that glint of excitement in my father-in-law’s eye honestly made me panic at first. “I don't have any meat unthawed!” “Do I have enough fresh produce?” “Uh no, I forgot to find the coolers the other day...I hope I can find them!” “How am I going to get all this done, and participate in my prior commitments?” “Please, please, please let my girls have a happier day today! If they are both grouchy, I don't know how I’ll handle it all and keep my cool." I’m proud to say that I did not let this panic take over, or ruin my day. After a few minutes of letting these feelings surface, to validate each and every one of my internal concerns, I set to work. I took a moment to breathe deep in conjunction with my favorite aromatherapy. I then started my affirmations: “I know exactly what I’m doing. I’ve done this before. Nothing is new. I have a good system. I know my system. There is a solution to every concern.”
It wasn’t very long ago that those negative feelings -- stress, panic, and apprehension -- would have overwhelmed my senses. I would have become a grouchy mom, trying to function in a fight-or-flight state. I’m immensely proud of how far I’ve come in my mental health journey. The tools and techniques I’ve found have changed my life. I hope I can help others to achieve a sense of calm and confidence in moments that would normally have taken over their thoughts and emotions.
The excitement is so real you can almost see it in the air — everywhere you go, farmers are in the field. I am beyond blessed to live this life. Seeding 2020 has started! Cheers!