Oct. 24 2019 12:00 PM

Don’t worry about how you look — all that matters to your family is that you support them.

Show up to your kids' events. I guarantee they are browsing the stands and happy to see you made it, messy hair and all.

I'm sorry to say that I'm always excusing the way I live as if I'm ashamed when, in fact, I'm far from that. And, honestly, I know I'm not alone. Yes, I'm calling us out — farm moms, we need to stop apologizing!

I know how lonely our world is, especially now during harvest season. We apologize that we're alone during parent-teacher conferences and coming solo to kids’ sporting events.

I'll admit, I sneak into my daughter's volleyball game and want to hide, because while I have managed to dry shampoo my hair, I'm a far cry from the "hot messy look" many moms pull off. And, I know they are coming from a much different setting than ours. Putting concealer on to hide those tired eyes from a long day in the office is much easier to disguise than stepping away from the barn.

But, this is what I have to say — to all the farm moms out there, including myself — stop apologizing. I can guarantee your teenager cares less how you're dressed and more that you are there to watch them play. Your child is scanning the bleachers, not to see what mom is wearing, but to see their mom in the stands.

I was recently at my daughter's school and heard a bunch of moms saying they were "a hot mess," yet they were wearing knee-high boots with skinny jeans, cute earrings, and a full face of makeup. I instantly found myself looking down at my t-shirt with holes in it and a pair of work jeans, with slip-on shoes that had a small amount of cow manure on them.

I surprised my daughter, Cassie, last year by joining her at her school lunch table. Yes, I'm "that mom"!

I instantly felt inferior and wanted to say, "This is what a hot mess looks like." Instead, I just slid down in my seat, wanting to disappear. However, absolutely none of the parents in the stands have ever called me out for how I've dressed or even smelled. In fact, they applaud me for being there.

Motherhood is certainly complex. It's messy one day and organized the next. It's both frustrating and joyous. It's a constant tug-of-war on our emotions — especially for us farm moms during the busy days of fall harvest.

So, what I have to tell you is what I try to tell myself. Extend grace to yourself; we are doing our best. Our kids know that. Stop being so hard on yourself; I can guarantee your child isn't judging you. They're browsing the stands and are happy to see you made it, messy hair and all.

Karen Bohnert

Karen Bohnert is a second-generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.

Join us for a special upcoming webinar:

Special silage hybrids webinar: Hoard’s Dairyman invites you to a special webinar – “Guidelines for Selecting a Silage Hybrid” presented by Pioneer on Monday, October 28 at noon (Central). With a focus toward dairy nutritionists, Bill Mahanna will provide an overview of the agronomic and nutritional factors to consider when selecting a silage hybrid. Register at this link.