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City Girl? Farm Girl? Where Do I Fit?!

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like we don’t always know where we “fit”. It reminds me of that scene in Mean Girls where Janice explains all the tables in the cafeteria. I think I struggled a bit more with this because I grew up as a “city girl” and ended up becoming a “farm girl”, so once I moved to a new state, I had this “where do I fit!?” crisis all over again! I stepped outside of my own situation and realized, we probably ALL feel this as parents. As moms, I feel like most of us have grown past “the plastics” and “the nerds”, to me, it’s more of a structure of finding the ways to make everything fit. 

There are work friends, friends from college or kids’ school, your nuclear family, your extended family, and the list goes on and on! But, also, where do you fit in the “me time” …and is that possible without the mom guilt? Phew! Now that’s a whole can of worms! 

I’m a little different than most moms, and no, I’m not about to tell you I’m “the cool mom”. I’m telling you I’m an Ag mom! 

What’s an Ag mom!?

farm girl

All agricultural (lovingly referred to as Ag) families function a bit differently. In our family, both my partner and I work full time during the week and find time for our farm chores before and after work, and save larger projects for the weekend. The reason why being an Ag mom is important to me, or I think to use it as an identifier, is because I feel that our basis in agriculture helps my kids with many things, but it also can create some challenges. Both for me as a parent and my kids. I think it also helps me bring some of the invisible load that parents carry a bit more visible once people understand what is on our family’s plate. While I can’t speak for all families, but I’m excited to share with you some of our experiences and hear some of yours as well! 

Why Ag Parenting is Amazing

I love the experiences my kids get at the farm. Our kids are always SO excited to see our pigs, but get even more excited by our friends who have cattle, goats, or chickens, as well. I didn’t grow up around ag life, so it was a totally different world to me and I almost immediately fell in love with it. This is where the Cedar Rapids area (and most bigger cities in Iowa) have it differently than the rest of the country and we have a huge opportunity. We have Cedar Rapids with shopping, events, community, and more so close to so many strong, agricultural communities. 

Agriculture families may farm crops, have animals for food/production, or have animals for show. Some families even just like to have some land and “room to breathe” which is where we have some really cool communities built right outside of Cedar Rapids. For us, our animals are mainly for show – which could be FFA, 4-H, jackpotting, etc. 

My kids go with us almost every single night immediately after work to “chore”. I love that they try to help in ways that are appropriate for their ages. They see their mom and dad working hard, even on days we don’t particularly want to, so I feel they learn a good work ethic. They also get some really cool experiences like getting to spend a week at the Iowa State Fair to watch us show the pigs we worked so hard on for a year! 

They get a LOT of outside time during the warm months, so I find I give myself a *little* less mom guilt when they get screen time! Even during the cold months, our buildings are heated, so the kids have a BLAST inside. Either way, they run around and tire themselves out with being active. I will admit, I have a second set of clothes and some toys we get on Facebook Marketplace that can stay at the farm. This also helps them have some variance in the toys they see day to day, which we all know is super helpful!

I will have to say, being right outside of Cedar Rapids for where we live/farm made some of the transition from city girl to farm girl a bit easier. I love being able to have Target and shopping so close and live more of the suburban life that I’m used to from where I grew up. But, I also love that I can unplug and separate from my phone and the outside world for a few hours a day during chores. I’m telling you, the sunsets we get to see are pretty spectacular. 

Whether people grew up in Ag life or are new to the community, I think we can all find countless reasons to tell you why it’s an amazing thing to have in your life. We’re also realists and know it isn’t all just rainbows and sunshine.

Where Ag moms can use your support

Sometimes Ag life is a little isolating! We’re rushing from work, getting our kiddos, heading over to chore, and then starting our dinner, bath, and bedtime rush. If your kids are older, you’re possibly throwing in their other activities as well. 

I know a lot of my fellow Ag moms typically are facing quite a commute between home, childcare, and work. I know we have all been affected by the childcare crisis in the country, let alone our state. It looks like our community is stepping up and trying to find some solutions for that, but rural communities are still facing this. 

Reach out to your Ag friends! Sometimes we only have the bandwidth to chat on the phone or text, so just be understanding. I think this is true for all moms, but especially Ag moms. It can be a challenge to juggle all the farm projects, household projects, and maintaining friendships. Add in kids and it’s an even more fun game of Tetris trying to fit it all in. Most of the time, we want to attend events and be social. Maybe even ask your friends when their busy months or seasons are. Some of my friends and I try to schedule dinners together during some of the lulls. During busy seasons, sometimes we just have an understanding that our park days, etc. are always an open invite and we just give each other a heads up of when we’re going to the park or other fun places. My friends know there is no pressure, we just wanted them to know they can join if it aligns with their plans. 

We deal with a LOT of laundry. Especially if we deal with any livestock. Because, as I’m sure you could guess, if we work with animals, our kids’ diapers aren’t the only stinky messes we’re dealing with. Some of us even keep some separate chore clothes so that if our livestock has lovely odors, it won’t affect our “normal” clothes. Just know that we’re doing our best and probably stressed out by a few extra piles of laundry we know are waiting for us. Some of us may even worry we may bring a few farm smells to the workplace. 

It sounds cliche, but at the end of the day I’d say we’re all the same! There are unseen loads on ALL moms. Give your friends grace. Let them know they are loved and appreciated for all they do – seen and unseen. Help your friends remember that while they aren’t obligated to, sometimes airing out some of the unseen load and bringing it to others’ attention can be good! And, if you ever want “a day in the life”, ask one of your Ag friends! We all love to share our world and would probably love to show you what our chores and life are like!


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