So you did it! You’ve found the man that you want to spend the rest of your life with! Congratulations! You move onto the farm and life is set to be great right? Wrong. Well, in far too many cases anyway.
You see, we have this idea don’t we, that life is going to be plain sailing after we fall in love. That it’s going to be just like in the movies… Especially as you are going to be living on a farm!!
But what happens when you move onto the farm and you are clearly not welcome. Life can feel pretty lonely. You see, when you move to the farm you aren’t just moving in with your farmer…You’re moving in with the whole family.
Now, I’m not for one minute saying that it’s just farming families as many families are difficult and unwelcoming, but when you’re living on ‘their land’ it’s much more intense.Don’t get me wrong, there are many lucky ones who are welcomed to the farm and made to feel that it is their home, but more often than not this isn’t the case. More often than not the new girl on the farm is made to feel like a trespasser and let me tell you that this can have a devastating impact on that girl, her marriage/relationship and any kids that there might be too.
But why? Why do farming families like to make us feel so unwanted and unwelcome? Is it because they don’t want their sons focus and attention to be off of the farm? Is it because they’ve lived a very different life to many, where they’ve had their son at home forever and so they still feel that protectiveness about them as they’ve never had to let them go? Do they not like the fact that there’s a new girl on the block who may be taking over jobs that they once did? Who knows, I wish I could give all those women experiencing this hurt and rejection the answers. Unfortunately I can’t. But what I can and will do is spread the word for those wives and partners because if I do that then maybe these farming families that are putting their sons partners through this might think twice about the way they are treating them. Maybe the women going through this will realise that although they feel pretty crappy, they aren’t alone, that there are others experiencing the same. And maybe once this has been published ladies that are in the same boat will get in touch and we can connect these ladies so that they can support each other.
To those parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties and uncles of farmers that might not be as welcoming as they ought to… Have you once thought about this new girl and how she could be feeling? Has she moved miles and miles away from her home and what she knows because she loves YOUR son/grandson/brother/nephew? Has she left a good job to try and find one in her new “home”? Has she left her family to live with yours? Can you imagine having to do that? If you haven’t already then I beg you, just take a moment and think about it from HER perspective.
But maybe you have been in that position. Maybe you are a farmer’s mother and once upon a time this was you, the new girl on the farm. Can you remember how it felt? How were you treated? Can you remember thinking at the time “I’ll never treat my Daughter-In-Law like this”? And did you? Did you remember when that time came to break the cycle and welcome your son’s partner? If you didn’t then it’s never too late.
To help you to see it from the other side, here’s a few real life stories, from real life farmers wives/partners, experiencing it right now. Their names have been changed for their protection.
“My mother in law has accused me of – trying to steal his money, getting pregnant to snag him, she walked out when we got engaged, his side of the church tutted when he said ‘I do’ in our wedding. She has spread so many bad things about me that when we moved to the village to help them out with the farm and shop I never had a friend for 4 yrs until I told them to stuff it and we left. We asked if we could pay full rent for some of their land so we could make a start on our own and they rented the farm out for years so we couldn’t have any of it.
We now live 5hrs away from home and when we left she told me it is only temporary as I have to go back and look after them when they need it! My Father-In-Law told my husband he’d sell up his business before he let him have it. It’s that bad that his uncle died 6 months ago leaving a 180 acre farm which again he isn’t allowed to go near unless we pay them £900,000.
My other half is their only son and the only male in the family but I’m not allowed anything of theirs because I will fleece them apparently. We have been together 18 years and married 15.5 and I have given birth to their only grand kids.
“I have finally thought sod it and have stopped speaking to them.”
Just awful isn’t it? It just absolutely baffles me how these people can treat their son so awfully just because they don’t like his choice in woman. And she’s been around for 18 years, so they’re clearly happy! I feel so so sad for this wife. They must have made her feel so rubbish.
Emma worked at the farm for three years…
First they refused to pay her, then her father in law wouldn’t speak to her during milking at morning and night. For hours on end they worked together and he didn’t speak one word, they wouldn’t even look at each other. Thirdly he still hasn’t seen their 11 week old baby, and calls her every name under the sun, all because she left her job to work on the farm and help and they didn’t want to pay her. They banned her from the house, eating lunch there and using the toilet!
Emma makes a joke and says “I really don’t think they like me… Hahaha!” but she must feel so awkward and uncomfortable during milking, she must feel like such an outsider. It must really hurt.
And here’s Tracey’s story. She says “Twenty six years ago I married my farmer. A farmer’s Daughter I thought that I’d be accepted as part of the team. We lived in a caravan for what was supposed to be six months… Twelve years later we moved into our house. In that twelve years I had three children, and because we had no room I was given two rooms up in the attic. So for twelve years I walked my children past a dirty pool morning and night. Other than electric, water and council tax I did everything”
“Loneliness is eating dinner on your own 90% of the time. It’s not being allowed to get involved because I can’t do things morning and night and work 34 hours a week too. The accountant comes and you aren’t allowed in, in case you know too much. You aren’t allowed to choose your kitchen because Father in Law says so. You aren’t allowed to put a flower bed in the garden in case it upsets Mother in Law. You can’t push the pram down the garden because of the tyre marks!”
Tracey describes it as “loneliness surrounded by people “– I totally get that.
Tracey made the decision six months ago to leave. She says “My husband has backed his parents. Am I sorry I walked away? Not in the slightest because finally I have some peace from their terrible behaviour”.
I absolutely applaud you Tracey. You finally took that decision to put yourself and your happiness and sanity first and I know I won’t be the only one who says GOOD ON YOU GIRL!!
Whilst writing this I have had so many messages from ladies in exactly the same situations. Some being physically attacked by members of the family, some that have been threatened and some that just feel uncomfortable and like they don’t belong.
To the wives and partners experiencing this right now, let’s make a decision. Let’s take this opportunity to break the cycle. Let’s make a promise to ourselves now that when the next “new girl” comes along we will welcome her, we will make her feel part of the family even if we don’t agree with the farmer’s choice. Let’s think back to how we feel now and ensure that nobody ever feels this way on our farms again. Let’s just try to live in harmony even if we can’t agree, even if we are different. Let’s just try because feeling this way is awful and I know that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I knew I’d made another human being feel this way.