Friday, May 8, 2015

Growing Souls

If you’ve landed here, you’re either a loyal, lovely reader, or if you're a new friend, maybe you wanted a peek in my window of craziness.

Regardless, we're talking about mamas today. 

I was asked to write for Illinois Farm Families in honor of Mother’s Day, reflecting upon being a farm mom, only I have struggled with this. Maybe it’s because our role on the farm has changed. Maybe it’s because I just read a few really sad blogs about people who dislike Mother’s Day for numerous reasons. Maybe it’s because one of the twins was up at 4 AM, and I’m ready for a nap.

Anyway, I wrote one post, and scrapped it. Then I stared out the window (I know, productive, huh?). In our office, we can stare for miles of open farmland. Fields, pasture, hay fields, grain bins, you name it.

The view is stunning.

The view is growing.

Today was the first day I noticed how much growing was going on. You can “row” the corn plants. Tiny lime green leaves are sprouting happily through the dark earth. For acres, you can see their happy hearts lined up like school children. It’s pretty amazing.

But you know what’s truly amazing about this? Farmers and mothers are really leading parallel lives.

Moms, we are farmers too.

While my dad and uncle grow grain, and Joe raises beef cattle, we are growing souls, friends.

We are producing people. 
We are not just throwing our seeds out haphazardly. Like a good farmer, we wait until our conditions are right to start our growing season. As moms, we wait until our seeds are ready to go on that slide alone at the park, ride the bus like big kids, or wave good bye as they drive off, freshly licensed.

However, before we let go and let it grow, the prep work has to be done. While farmers work ground in preparation to plant the crop, mothers cultivate just the same. Singing a lullaby at night, helping with homework, pushing on the swing, schlepping kids to another doctor or dentist appointment, and yet another soccer, softball, dance practice, we mothers are prepping the foundation for our kids to become independent, creative people with problem solving skills who have compassion, patience, and a sense of humor.

Farmers tend to their fields by watching for weeds and insects, and being good stewards of their land. As a mom, I’m a farmer of souls, so I want to keep the weeds of not so great influence out. Guarding my kids’ innocence is top priority. Words like “stupid” are still naughty, and I’m okay with keeping them nerdy like that. I want to weed out the bad in this world until they’re mature to stand tall and handle it. A plant against a hard wind could snap, but if the roots and stalk are strong, it can weather the storm. I want my kids to be able to stand by their convictions, their beliefs, and be a person others want to be around. Stand up tall when life starts to get tough. Understand how to weather the storm. If I keep tending to their soul with kind words, a good example, patience (oh, is that hard), they can weather the storm that is life.

This growing souls can be worrisome, though, can't it? It can be tiring. Farmers feel our pain, ladies. Up all hours of the night, watching out the window, worrying: farmers and mothers are truly parallel beings. We’re just waiting to reap the benefits of our harvest, watching progress, willing potential. Will they get sick? {Will the soybeans have sudden death?}
Will they make it to school safely? {Augers, my friends, very scary things.}
What about that sleepover? {Working late into the night can be dangerous and difficult.}

Then there's the more selfish milestones I can't wait for: If I can just get the twins to sit up; when Anna can babysit long enough for me to get a long run in; when Josie and Amelia will make their own lunches; when Jack gets to harvest will be bountiful, regardless of the worry and waiting in between. Farmers are the same. Ask any of them, regardless of what they grow. They're waiting and worrying.

I’m a lucky woman. Six little souls call me “Mom," and while I worry and stew and fret and wonder, I know that, like that little corn plant popping through, there’s so much potential, so much possibility. I just have to be patient and wait, and when it’s time to enjoy the harvest of my hard mothering work, I’ll have a gift that is better than any I could ever receive.

 ***This post was written as a guest post for the Illinois Farm Families blog. Enjoy more blogs from farm folks like me at


  1. Love this Emily - it goes by too quick - we have a High School graduate this year!

  2. So good! As a farmwife myself (, I love this perspective of the parallels. Thank you, especially with the wear of planting season is starting to set in for us. It's amazing how my 18-month-old is starting to demonstrate (tantrums, mostly) how she misses her daddy and our normal family nights. Also amazing how my five-year-old is maturing so much that she's really helping us all get through it with her positive attitude and encouragement. I keep thinking I have learned tricks to handle the farming seasons as the farmwife, but each year is different with how the kids react in their older ages, so it's always new.

  3. Beautiful Emily! This is a great parallel between the two worlds that mean the most to me. As a farm wife and mom to three little girls, I see these same things everyday, and yet have never thought of them in the same way. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Wonderful read! Happy Mother's Day!

  5. Beautifully written. Happy Mother's Day.

  6. Great read, as always! Happy Mother's Day!