As we draw closer to the fall season, women are busy putting out their fall décor, picking out Halloween costumes for their kiddos, and buying pumpkin spice everything. Most of us welcome the cooler temperatures and sweater weather. I know I do, especially because it’s Husker football time! With all the excitement going on, it’s easy for a farm wife to get distracted for the season that is about to come upon us, the season of the “harvest widow.”
I’ve hardly been married a year and I’ve already been swept into the annual cycle of the harvest widow. My definition of a harvest widow is: noun, a wife of a farmer who harvests his crop for a two-month period every fall, while she must keep house all by herself and is forced to do all or most of the husband’s usual duties. It’s really a chunk of time where wives are basically single because their husbands are out harvesting in the fields from dusk till dawn. It is similar to when the wife of a fireman or a police officer is sitting at home while her husband is out caring for others. Throughout this time, my husband puts all of America’s consumers’ needs before his own, just like a first responder or military man does when they are out working.
Although this long stretch of lonely nights can be quite stressful, I have some tips for any wife who has a husband who is away from home for long periods of time, putting other families before his own.
Tip 1: Plan some much deserved ME TIME! This one is my absolute favorite tip. With the recent trend and promotion of self-care, this tip can easily be accomplished by a simple trip to Target or Walmart. Pick up some bath salts, wine, chocolates, and magazines to treat yourself to an at-home spa day. Or if you need to get out of the house, call up your girlfriends and go have a date night with them at a fancy restaurant.
Tip 2: Meal prep. This tip can be exercised year-round, but it comes in handy most when you have a lot of cooking to do. Since your husband is away, you are left to pick up any and all of the slack around the home. This means doing his chores, extra laundry, and so on. Meal prep can save you valuable time so you don’t feel overwhelmed when packing three cooler lunches a day. If you aren’t much of a chef, most grocery stores have a great supply of single-serving snacks and meals.
Tip 3: Get creative with your love life. It is so important to remain connected to your husband during these times. When he is away you may begin to grow apart or feel disconnected. The way I fight these feelings is to go on tractor dates. I will prepare a special meal with a homemade dessert and a special drink and deliver it to the tractor in a cute dress! This helps break the mundane cycle of sandwiches and sweat pants. A less time-intensive method is to write short love notes and place them in his lunch box!
Tip 4: Ask for help. I am lucky to have a great set of in-laws who are always there to help me out when I am falling behind. I have learned not to be afraid to ask for help or take help when help is offered. Some of us aren’t as lucky to have family close by. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to delegate duties or chores that you don’t have time to do. If you have to hire a babysitter for a few hours to get things done, go for it! If you have to hire someone to come deep clean your house, do it! Many of us are brought up to be independent and proud, so asking for help can be difficult. Don’t feel bad; everyone needs help once in a while.
With that, I want to wish all the farm families a safe and plentiful harvest!
Photo Credit: Cathy Blauhorn