I read your column every week as my husband is a farmer. I wonder if other farmers’ wives have similar feelings of discontent to me?
I know I should be very grateful and most people think I landed on my feet as I married the son of a wealthy farmer, so I don’t ever have to work and we have lifetime financial security for us and our children.
But I can’t help but feel like we have achieved nothing ourselves.
When I see other couples who were not given these assets and family business but have made it on their own, I can’t help but feel inadequate
My husband is the oldest son and so was gifted the farm, stock, machinery and even the home house. He works hard but no more than most people these days, as he has full-time farm workers who also cover weekends and our holidays away.
When I got pregnant, I was seen as a gold digger, and when we got married, it was seen as a shotgun marriage of necessity
When I see other couples who were not given these assets and family business but have made it on their own, I can’t help but feel inadequate. I dropped out of college and was working in retail on minimum wage when I met my now-husband. When I got pregnant, I was seen as a gold digger, and when we got married, it was seen as a shotgun marriage of necessity.
I don’t feel like we have earned the family home and farm in the way other families have to start from scratch and build their own life through education, study and hard work.
Does this bother other farm families too?
My husband tries to convince himself that he has earned it, but there is no way we could have bought even a fraction of this from a job or even two jobs with an average salary, after paying tax, paying a mortgage (we have none) and rearing a family with the cost of living nowadays.
Does this bother other farm families too? I know we have been privileged, so why do we have this chip on our shoulders?
Dear Farmer’s Wife,
Thank you for your letter. You start by saying that you know that you should “feel very grateful” and that most people think that “you landed on your feet” when you met your now-husband.
I can also understand how a person can be left feeling “empty” in a sense, if they don’t feel entirely fulfilled in their lives
And while I can imagine that many reading this would envy the financial security that you have and perhaps not see what the problem is, I can also understand how a person can be left feeling “empty” in a sense, if they don’t feel entirely fulfilled in their lives.
You mention that you feel “inadequate” that you have achieved this lifestyle without the blood, sweat and tears that it might have taken otherwise if the assets were not handed down. To be honest, I sometimes feel there is a bit of a toxic “workaholic” culture and that it is a positive thing that while your husband does work hard, that you do have a work-life balance too eg holiday cover. And while you say that you don’t have to work outside the home, I’m sure you have made a valuable contribution too in terms of raising your family etc.
Certainly, it would be more challenging to feel like you had a sense of ownership or a part to play in the farm too
But I do note that you say that you feel “inadequate” and that you were classed- very unfairly – as a “gold-digger” when you met your husband. That must have been very difficult for you and bruising in terms of your own self-confidence. Certainly, it would be more challenging to feel like you had a sense of ownership or a part to play in the farm too, and might be one of the reasons why you feel that the success is undeserved.
I wonder if it might be worth exploring these feelings in a safe space with a counsellor? I would also suggest looking at what might give you joy and a sense of achievement in your own right. For example, would you be interested in returning to college, or to look at employment or even volunteering duties to begin with? Is there something that you feel could be yours alone and that you could pour your heart and soul into? It might be worth considering.
I would also welcome any advice from readers who may have been in this situation themselves. Thank you for getting in touch.