Saturday, August 28, 2010

Best of the Best

There's a canned Facebook status that keeps rolling through my news feed, and it reads something along the lines of "being happy isn't having the best of the best, it's being happy with what you have." Or something like that.

Now, while I totally agree that we shouldn't lust after things or covet others (isn't that one of the BIG TEN to abide by?), shouldn't we want the best of the best for our lives? Shouldn't we always strive for greatness and truly be happy when we have achieved both?

In agriculture, farmers are constantly striving for the best of the best. The best seed for their field's particular soil types, the best application practices for chemicals (gasp. . . yes, we do use chemicals, but note that neither me nor my children have a third eye, eleventh toe, or second belly button!), as well as the best equipment (no question at this operation. . .John Deere). Currently, the talk around here is the best time to start harvesting, which field will be the best to start with, as well as which variety of corn/beans we planted will yield the best.

The farmers are ready to be at their best, to reap what they have sown. They are fired up and getting jittery, however, I am struggling. Yes, I know, again, but the end of August and beginning of September is going to be a time, I am figuring out, that I start to feel hysterical. School has started, and while I am in LOVE with the fact that I have a kindergartner, I used to be a teacher. And now I'm not. And, upon entering the school the first day, holding my daughter's hand, I felt the tug that this is where I belong. I used to be good. I used to use school to create my identity. I used to GET PAID. I'm left feeling as if I am not at my best of the best.

Farm wives, the ones that do not drive the tractors, haul the grain, or work (so I guess the three of us that are left) are to hold down the fort while the farmers go great guns and run all hours of the night, livin' the life. While I know that Joe will be completely and totally in his element, and loves to keep busy, I will be busy, too, exhausted and disappointed that I won't be getting what I need to accomplish done in the small window of time I have when I'm not needed to play Barbies or basketball with my kids.

Why do I want to constantly put on my best of the best, when at the busy times, when I am basically a single mom, survival should be the goal? And now that I am this farm wife and stay at home mom, what is my best of the best, really? I know in my heart that it is to be a wife and a mother first, but some times isn't it easier to point to what you accomplished during a day that makes you feel as if you truly did the best of the best?

I am excited for the start of harvest, don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to seeing my husband's face when he reports a good yield, calculating the bushels per acre, and his excited report when the acres harvested are more than the acres left standing. Although this defines our livelihood, and I understand that, should I be considering this as my best of the best? When I am still learning the ins and outs of farming, how can I determine what is great and what's not-so-great? And, if I'm not using our livelihood as a barometer for success, are completed laundry loads accomplishments worth accolades? No one in my family really cares that the windows are washed, so why do I equate this to success these days?

What's wrong with me?

Nothing, I'm just me.

Thus, I'm putting my Sad Sally attitude up this harvest season. If the guys point to the land and think that's their best of the best, I am going to point to my girls and say the same. While I don't get a paycheck for what I'm doing (well, a teeny tiny one from BlogHer), what I will reap are three children who will remember that Mom used coupons to buy Nutty Bars, because that's what Daddy loves, and we ate them all together on the tailgate one late harvest night as a family. They won't remember whether or not my windows were washed by the end of the week, but will remember that I took time to finish Ramona and Beezus that night. Joe just wants me to be happy and supportive, and to try not to sigh when he works late. I will try my best.

The relationships I cultivate this season will be my best of the best.


  1. Thank you so much for helping me to feel I am not alone! My "What did I do today?" attitude has been screaming at me lately! I just started reading Jill Savage's "Professionalizing Motherhood" and I love it. It gives me a little insight on what God wants me to do as a mother. To realize the difference between making a house and making a home is so important! I need to change my focus and be more proud that my profession is motherhood. So many times when people ask what I do, I've almost been ashamed to say I stayed home with the kids. WHY?! I'm going to get better at this, someday SOON!

  2. Amen. You nailed it. I'm a work off the farm mommy...when not on maternity leave, and not one to be trusted with large, expensive farm equipment (John Deere here too!). And I feel the same way...I'm not a great farm wife (hate cleaning and cooking) but we all do the best we can everyday...being a mommy is REALLY hard work...and being a FARM MOMMY is even harder. No one else understands the single mommy thing better than fellow farm wives...we are all in this together. Great post, thanks for saying what we all feel!