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Don’t take what your spouse does for granted.

June 16, 2022

4 Min Read
farmers talking in barn
SHOW SOME APPRECIATION: Your spouse does a lot for you. Make sure you show them some appreciation because you never know when you’ll have to step up and do more. FangXiaNuo/Getty Images

I like writing my columns for everyone, men and women. But this time, I’m focusing my attention on you guys: the men.

If you haven’t already done so, please give some appreciation to the women in your life. I know I’ve grown a special appreciation for my own wife after she got injured several weeks ago.

Here’s the deal. In late April, right after my family and I came back from vacation in Tennessee, I went to Washington, D.C., to attend an ag writers conference. That Monday night, I got a call from my sister-in-law, which, to be honest, is quite routine because she and my wife are quite close. I tease my wife that I’m married to her and her sister! Makes her laugh!

I didn’t expect anything earth-shattering from the call, but this call was more than just routine.

She told me that my wife had broken her knee coming down from the bleachers as she was watching our 10-year-old son play a baseball game. Think about it. You’re coming down from some bleachers, then you lose your footing and fall knee-first into another row. Ouch!

My wife couldn’t move her left leg. Thankfully, her sister and some nice people whom we had never met before helped her when she needed it. They literally carried her to the car, so she could at least get her bearings and figure out what to do.

Turns out the fall was worse than she imagined. She was taken to an urgent care, and the X-ray came back with bad news. She broke the top of her left tibia, which connects to her left knee. 

I was stunned. Thank goodness the injury wasn’t more severe, but this wasn’t just a routine injury. My wife was told to stay off her leg for at least two months and likely longer. It’s been more than a month and she can bend her knee, but she still can’t walk on her left leg.

All this meant that I would have to take over: cooking, cleaning, doing the wash, running the kids to baseball and other activities, and running my youngest son to summer school 35 minutes away all fell on my shoulders. (Well, not all. My wife can still cook on her scooter!)

Oh, and I still worked 40 hours per week and umpired (yes, I moonlight as a baseball umpire) a few games here and there.

It’s been stressful to say the least. Yes, I helped when she was walking on both legs, but having all the responsibility was, and still is, a lot. This whole experience made me realize a couple of things: Never take your spouse for granted, and find time for yourself.

I came from a single-parent household and saw my mother raise three boys for much of my childhood. I never appreciated the work and stress that went into it, but let me tell you, I do now.

The other thing I realized is that as much as I was focused on getting things done, I missed out on giving myself a break. My days have been nonstop for a while now, and I’ll be honest, it has really tested my sanity. For all the articles and columns I’ve written about farmers taking time out for themselves and their families, I did the exact opposite. I pushed everyone aside and went full throttle.

It worked for a while, but my stress level has been through the roof. My wife even tells me that I need to “slow down.” I’m trying to take her advice, but it’s hard to do. Especially when there is so much to do.

Here’s the bottom line: Tell your wife, or husband, how much you appreciate them. Show them grace when they are under pressure and help occasionally.

For the guys out there who are out in the fields and “never have time” to help their wife, make some time. They work hard so you can do your job. My wife works hard so I can do my job, and I appreciate her more than ever.

And finally, make time for yourself. I’ve said this many times, but if you’re exhausted doing your field work or milking your cows, take a break! Get someone to help. Call someone and just get your mind off things.

Now, I have some dishes to do.

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