This time in 2 weeks we won't be leaving the farm, let alone the country!
Lambing 2017 will be well under way, its a time of year that can stir up lots emotions and feelings, but we wouldn't change that for the world, bringing new life on to the farm is something to cherish and be proud of.
However, before this mayhem, we like to escape to Abersoch for a couple of days to recharge. Many of you will concur that holidays do not feature in the farming calendar anywhere, If they do, they are for a quick weekend or an agricultural show!
Luckily for me, this weekend was god damn awful weather, so, my husband agrees to go away with a grin, the wetter it is the happier he is, how dare I think of removing him from the farm when the sun is shining!
It's funny, since all the events of the past year, things have evolved. Family time has become more important and even more cherished. We often have the conversation, why put all this time and effort into the farm if you don't have a loving family to share it with? This is why we believe we need to, every so often, take the kids away from the farm and re connect with them. Its all too easy to get consumed by 'jobs' and say 'hold on kids I'm busy' in day to day life. Our little breaks to Abersoch give us this precious time and strengthen our bond, which you'd be hard pushed to crack. All our attention is on us as a couple and our kids, you see, the stronger our relationship is as a family, the stronger the farm is as a business.
So when we are being blown along the deserted beach, getting drenched by the pouring rain, eating THE best scotch eggs with a pint in The Vaynol and spending too long looking at the rusty old Muir Hill's in the harbour, we are doing it with a smile, living in the moment and of courses getting excited for the forth coming lambs.
Don't get me wrong, the farm is our biggest priority, but, our little family will ALWAYS come first.
"Thank God it's the weekend" Said no stay at home Mummy or Farmer ever, I've demolished two loads of washing, tidied the kitchen, lit the fire all before 9.00am, so now I'm sitting down to a cold cup of tea, whilst both children nap and reflecting on what my actual 'job' is;
"Are you still a lady of leisure?" a question that I hear more than "why mummy?", this is someone trying to ask me if I went back to work after maternity leave or am I just 'lunching with friends' most days. Which to many mummy's today seems to be a very topical subject. A woman who doesn't earn a wage can be perceived as having little worth to some, however, to others a mummy's place is at home raising the family and keeping a home. As far as I'm concerned neither is right or wrong, your situation and the path you choose is the determining factor.
My answer to this all too frequent question is a big fat "yes", but thinking about it, my spontaneous answer is not completely correct. To start with, any farmer's wife will tell you that she 'goes out to work' nearly every day, whether it's to get the sheep in, receive a delivery, move the tractor, weed the garden, help muck out the cows, or go hunting for the child you've lost knee deep in the mud, usually dressed in their best clothes. All of the above is work trust me.
In addition, I do have 2 little 'jobs'. Since leaving my 12 year employment at a local marquee and events company, I have started 2 'from home' businesses!!! So I am one of those smug people who say they 'work from home around the children' (in reality I actually work when the children are in bed and the dishes are done!), this in itself is a term that presents two different types of mummy's, the one's that do actually work from home and the other mummy's who just stay at home being a referee to the children and hiding from mess that is quickly being created around her. Admittedly, I slip into both of these categories!
So to keep my answer to the original question concise and not go into all to my daily duties and responsibilities, I simply respond with "yes", which then finds me needing to back myself up, saying "I used to have a job" and "I graduated from Britain's leading Agricultural University" (Harper Adams), just on the off chance they quickly judge me as a mere uneducated, unambitious farmer's wife. Honestly, the thought of having my 9-5 job now seems like heaven, I didn't have to work nearly as hard as I do now...
Chatting to my friends, who are also farmer's wives, they agree and share stories of their husbands coming in to find them slaving over dinner, doing laundry, calming a crying baby, and talking to someone farm related on the phone all pretty much at the same time. His boots dripping mud on the freshly mopped floor, the farmer will say, “What have you done today love? Are you busy?”
The farmers' wife is tuned in to lie at moments like that and say, “Not much dear, what do you need?” The answer is irrelevant anyway. He has a job ready for her, and he is unlikely to listen to her answer.
The promise of; "it'll only take a minute" is tinged with the reality that she knows better. So, as everything is dropped and the children are either togged up to join the workforce or tucked up in bed we venture out to do the very important job he has lined up, be it, going to collect spares, moving cows, lambing or (due to her small hands) holding a hidden nut on a rusty piece of machinery for a finger aching long time. The farmers' wife knows all too well it'll be late before they get back into the house and then the darling farmer will spout out "What's for dinner?"
(NB, before someone decides I've left my children alone whilst doing these 'jobs', I wouldn't, you see, as farmer's most of us live like the Walton's!)
In today's quick to label and judge world, the term you choose to define a farmer's wife and mummy doesn't really matter. The truth is that the only ones who completely grasp and appreciate the extent of her 'job' are those who have been in her very well worn and ridiculously muddy shoes.
Keep up your amazing work ladies, our country depends on you. x
This morning it dawned on me that we lost our dear Dad to the "big C" little over 4 months ago. As I sit here overcome with emotion whilst writing this, it seems the past 4 months have been no less sad than before.
Before this life changing event, I would have felt so guilty about seeing any positive side to my families devastating situation. But recently I figured that is ok to have opposing feelings at the same time. You would have to be superhuman not to let such a negative emotion weigh you down, but do you know what? We can be angry and happy, sad and relieved, frustrated and grateful, realising this helped me cope with my grief immediately after my father’s death.
Even in his last few weeks, we spent everyday as a whole family, my brave Mum, my 2 older brother and I. We sat with Dad laughing, joking, playing games, reading him sailing articles, eating takeaways with a side of tears and generally being ourselves, I was so grateful for the present even with Dad slowly slipping away.
Looking back I'd be selfish to let myself become suffocated by what had happened. My brothers and I had Dad's best years, he was a fabulous father, Nothing was too much trouble (even the recorder concerts and trumpet lessons) and no party was too late to fetch us and our friends. He taught us right from wrong, how to interact with others and skills that have got us successfully to where we all are today. Now, you tell me how I can honestly be sad after having someone like that in my life? He was simply amazing, don't get me wrong I would love more than anything for him to see his grandchildren grow up into beautiful people, but that is just a greedy thought.
After that dreaded phone call on that Thursday night I found that my children brought me back into the moment. It's not easy to deal with my own grief while also dealing with the day-to-day dramas of looking after 2 toddlers, there were times being alone would have been a great option. But if children are good at anything, they are good at living in the moment and making it count, so when I find myself in dreamland letting my sad thoughts take over, I just focus on the cutest little smile or giggle aimed at me.
I'm not saying that this is how everyone can deal with grief, as its a very personal thing and can be very private, however, it has had a great impact on my life without my Dad. I'm not pushing away the challenging moments, I'm letting myself be accepting to both joy and pain at the same time. purely negative emotions and feelings can be so consuming, I simply look for a little glimmer in every situation.