I was born and raised on a family farm in Illinois. I come from long lines of farmers on all side (hubby too!), be it swine, dairy, beef, crops (corn, soybeans) and alfalfa as a cover crop for the dairy cows. I pretty much had a hand in a little bit of everything. I have bottle fed, bucket fed, milked, you name it, saving money for college, FFA and high school sports. I was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA, even serving on the Illinois State Officer Team as a Section President and 4-H Federation at the County level. In college I worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs between classes and was active in Student Government. During college I got involved in Pageants, as if I needed something else to do! First try, I was crowned County Fair Queen. A year later I competed at another local pageant and won, advancing to Miss Illinois (one of the best weeks of my life). Both titles I served with an agriculture platform.
Jobs I balanced through college included- University of Illinois Extension with the 4-H Program. Working at a grocery store (mostly in floral, but I did help cover grocery and produce Jr and Sr. year) I interned at our local Farm Bureau office with Agriculture in the Classroom program and squeezed in time at a local daycare provider. By senior year of college I had worked my way up to floral designer and poured my heart into putting in as many hours at the floral shop as I could on the weekends. In 2012 I graduated with a BS in Agriculture and emphasis in Education. Rett and I were married 6 months later and life has never been the same! I dove into working in town and fixing up our old farm house. Because life was such a balancing act at that time (aka in-law family drama), I took up makeup artistry, selling cosmetics and doing wedding makeup (thanks to all my pageant experience) in an effort to help hubby on the farm more. With extremely difficult personalities in the family operation, I eventually gave up on any hope of a carrier, other than farming, and worked for three years alongside my husband day-in and day-out. Worst three years of my life. I felt so incredibly alone. After our son was born life became vary different. Not just because of having a child, but balancing a child with the farm life was a bit more than I had imagined.
The last two years I have learned so much about myself and where my priorities lie. I have finally found a way to balance a carrier with my ultimate dream of raising my children at home, though it has presented many challenges at times. I am so glad I stuck out the hard times to be able to work alongside my husband and have my children with me. I hope that my words and sometimes crazy ideas can help other moms do the same and find joy in the challenges and struggles of balancing farming with raising a family.
P.S. As I sit here and write this at our kitchen table, I am helping our little guy play with his semi. I think I am perfectly capable of going into the trucking business now after hooking this thing up 10 times in that last few minuets. Oh the joys of farming!