Advice, Contributors, Farming, Featured, Relationships, Sara Jensen

Farm Wife, Working Wife, or Both?

by Sara Jensen

As I make my 45 minute commute into Oklahoma City, I can’t help but think about what my husband will be doing that day. My mind often wonders to the never ending to-do list he talks about in his sleep and sometimes mentions while awake. Most days he is up and out of the house before me and comes home hours after I do so the opportunity for a detailed conversation is few and far between.

While dating for three years prior to our marriage, I got an idea of what it would take to be a farmer’s wife. Tend to cattle, harvest wheat, cut and haul hay, get this or that tool…the basics right? Wrong. I forgot to throw one more thing into my lovely plan, I might be working also. The white porch sittin’ sweet tea makin’ farm wife vision I had throughout dating and being engaged to my farmer was far from reality.

The necessity of being the bread-winner hit in the late fall when my small town job wasn’t paying the bills and the effects of a what seemed like a never-ending drought were starting to hit home. A family friend hired my husband to do custom application spraying but by the time he was certified to work, it was winter and dead grass doesn’t need to be sprayed. To make up for monetary gap, I got a job in the city.

Now one year into my “city” job, I’ve found that it’s a delicate balance to maintain between being a farm wife and working wife. When I come home to our little 1950’s rent house during the week I try to catch up on laundry, bills, and figure out what to make for dinner. I attempt to see when my husband will be home but more often than not, he has no idea. I guess the best I can and usually make dinner late into the evening. My weekends are spent at the farm because while I might be tired from a busy week at work, I have barely seen my husband and the only way to see him is to go with him.

Keeping a positive outlook isn’t always easy but necessary. Optimism is what keeps us going. So for now, I’ll make my daily commute to the city while my husband stays home tending to the farm until the day comes that I can stay home with him.

My question to you is; how do you maintain a balance? Do you work from home, work somewhere close to the farm, have your own business? What would be a bit of advice for those of us who are just starting out?

J&s-20 - Copy

So you can put a face with a name here is one of our engagement pictures. Meet my husband Jared 🙂 He’s a fourth generation farmer, a God-fearing man, and despite the lack of a smile, a very caring soul.

Sara Jensen

About Sara Jensen

Although Sara did not grow up in a farming family, she knew her place in life was in the agriculture industry. Her first step, go to Oklahoma State University and major in Agricultural Communications where her passion went from a spark to wildfire. Next, she met a super cute farm boy in an Animal Science class who had gorgeous curls and lime green eyes. It just so happened that Sara would marry that boy from class three years later and live in a small, farming community southwest of Oklahoma City. Her husband, Jared, currently works on the family farm where he raises wheat and manages a cow/calf operation. Sara, a budding photographer and freelance writer, is the Assistant Editor for the NRHA Reiner at the National Reining Horse Association where she writes and edits material for the international monthly magazine dedicated to the sport of Reining. While they don’t have any children yet, their dog “Sadie” keeps them on their toes at home.

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  • Lori August 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Sara
    Good for you for wanting to help out and support your hubby! I’m kinda like you in that I am a city girl who married a farm boy. Here we are almost 28 years later and sometimes it’s still hard to find balance. My advice…Dont Quit! I was a stay at home mom then had to go to work when my kids were teenagers. Now 8 years later my kids are grown and gone and I have been quit my city job (I drove 45 minutes also) and help my hubby on our small cattle ranch full time. We had to make some major changes and cut backs, but it’s been so worth it! So hang in there. 🙂
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  • Laura Cunningham August 8, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Absolutely 100% my life! We are three weeks into a five month harvest season and the most Ive seen my husband on a given day is 90 minutes. The day job gets so old at this time of year when I’d rather be in the field with the rest of the family. For now I remind myself I’m just paying our dues (and bills!) which allows him to do what he loves until the day I get to join too.

  • Sarah August 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

    YES!! You are not alone! We’ve been married 12 years and I also work in “town” I love my job but would really love to be able to stay and help on the farm! I grew up in a very small town and love the ag life. Sometimes you just have to do what you can around the house and then go ride with your husband so you can at least see him for a bit. Its a different life, the kiddo stays up way too late just to see his dad, we are always running around but we have lots of fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  • Vawn August 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I have had to change jobs many times in order to maintain the time/money demands of our seedstock operation. My husband also works full-time as a salesman for John Deere. I left my career as a paramedic to live on the ranch with him. Since there are no jobs in that line of work near our home I have done many jobs to make ends meet. Chiropractic assistant, farrowing manager and now I sell hog confinement equipment. I miss the challenge of my medical career so in two weeks I am headed to nursing school. Hopefully I will be able to obtain my master’s degree and earn enough that my husband can ranch full-time. Thank you for your encouraging blog!

  • Sara Jensen August 12, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Thank you all for your comments! It’s so encouraging to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with the balance! I love that some of you have changed jobs, varied from being at home to working and that you have all made it work by keeping a positive attitude. It really is a special lifestyle that not many people get to be involved in.

  • Tana August 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Balanace is a big thing! And most days I am totally ‘off balance’. I worked on several ranches before we got married, and then had to get a town job. Thankfully, about 3 years ago, I was able to quit working in town and stay at home with the kids, fence, bale and whatever else needs to be done and work with and together with my husband. When I worked in town, I tried to take care of the small stuff around the yard, bucket chores etc, and took most all responsibility of the house chores. I’ve had to learn to take a deep breathe, say those dishes can wait, lets go irrigating with dad or go check water tanks as a family. It’s a balance, it’s hard work, it’s not sweating the small stuff and enjoy your life and the path you are taking. (I have to remind myself of that quite often)

  • Darcy August 15, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    This post resonated with me – we live on the ranch my husband works for, and I work in a town about 30 miles away. My job provides the safe things – a steady income, health insurance, retirement, etc. while his job allows him to live his dream. I love him and so each day I go to work – I’m lucky that I love my job too, but I know that not everyone is in the same boat. Anyway – just wanted to comment and let you know I enjoyed your post. Best! – Darcy
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  • Katie October 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I am right there with you! My fiance works at home on the ranch or day working and hauling cattle when needed, and I work in town. It is nice to know that someone else has the same experiences that I do. My friends husbands are home by 5:30 every night and they don’t work weekends. What a crazy idea! Ha! Keep the positivity flowing girl, I find things go smoother when I keep the good vibes flowing and don’t get pulled in to the pessimism that can sometimes come in farming/ranching.

  • Ronda October 17, 2015 at 1:32 am

    I was lucky as I didn’t have to work outside the home, but it makes you be a hired hand, gofer, cook, mommie, tractor driver, cow checker & anything else that’s going on at the time! You would think that with small children at home 25 to 30 years ago, you wouldn’t be a Jill of all trades on the farm but you are! I’ve made pallets for my kids in the floor of the tractor so they could get a good nights sleep while my husband & I ran the night shift of plowing wheat ground before it gets to hard! Or holding a new born in your lap while trying to rotary hoe cotton so it don’t blow away and have to resowe it & be out more money for more seed, time & diesel. Then when you’ve been in the field all day & have to come home and figure out something to feed everyone (sometimes at 10 or 11 at night) Clean it up and get kids in bed, do a couple loads of laundry, & what ever else needed done badly! Then start all over again the next day!! It’s hard to juggle being a wife, mother and farm hand every day! Don’t get me wrong tho, it’s a life I love but sometimes you just want to be a normal family & go & do things other people do! Now my boys are grown and they farm right along with us and my husbands parents too! We have 4 full time farm hands, 2 truck drivers, plus my husband, our 2 sons & the in laws! We raise wheat, alfalfa hay, sorghum silage, run around 2,000 stockers, 100 momma cows, 2-18 wheel trucks that haul our own hay to dairy farms in New Mexico and own 2 funeral homes & a flower shop! We added the funeral homes & flower shop 5 years ago to be more deverseafied & have other income to help support the farming! So I’m still a wife, mother, MeMe, gofer, hired hand plus flower arranger, deliver, help out at funerals and keep everyone going in all directions! It’s a never ending job! Even though I don’t get paid I’m just as busy as anyone and guess I will always be!! My piece of advice is to newly married ladies is don’t show your new husband everything you can do unless you want to do that job plus more for the rest of your life!! I wish for you all to have a happy & safe farm life!! I have been married for 34 years, went to College at OSU ( go pokes!!) I am from Sentinel, Ok & live in A little community called Port, just west of Sentinel 8 miles in a old farm house built in the early 30’s and love the farm life & God!!

  • Annie November 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I feel your pain! I am taking classes to become a real estate agent (I’m on the second one out of two, so it’s not bad!) and I hope to be able to do that while my husband farms. It’s a commission-only job, so while I build up clients, I plan to start working from home so that I can create my own schedule, yet get 40 hours of work. My ultimate dream/goal is to farm full time with my husband with a few real estate clients on the side, but in the meantime I need to be patient and keep a job! Keep praying and spending time with your husband as much as you can. I know these blogs are so helpful too! It’s not easy but it’s wonderful!! I find so much comfort knowing there are women in our same shoes in all 50 states! 🙂