Chloe Williams runs a popular facebook group and shop called The Crazy Life of a Farmer’s Wife. She lives on a farm with her husband, Ben and two children just outside Skenfrith, Monmouthshire.
She grew up in a town but she says she has always had the countryside at heart.
“We had many farming friends in the family and I always rode horses and found any excuse to be outside,” she said.
“In 2004 I went to Hartpury College to study horse care and that’s where I met Farmer Ben.
“We spent many years as acquaintances within the same group of friends but didn’t actually become a couple until 2011.
“We married in 2013, I moved to the farm a couple months before and we now have two beautiful boys.”
They farm beef and sheep. Around 250 cattle and 700 ewes. And the odd few pigs here and there, when the freezer needs restocking.
When Chloe had her first child in March 2015, she says she was suddenly aware of how isolated she was.
“Before becoming a mum I still worked as a Healthcare Assistant in the town where I was born (Tewkesbury, about 40 miles away) and so I was still very connected to my “old life” and so where I lived never really affected me.”
“Once Hugo arrived I felt I had to get out and about, meet other mums and attend groups.
“I tried and long story short, I failed. I just could not click with the women that I was meeting. All very snooty and business like- nothing like me in the slightest.
“It really affected me, I kept trying but I was miserable that I could not meet any like minded women.
“I kept saying to farmer “Where are all the farm wives around here? Where do they go and why can’t I find any?”
One day Chloe was at her sister’s house, and flicking through Facebook when she came across a post from a young, and very attractive blonde girl.
“I can’t remember her exact words but she had posted on The Farming Forum stating that she had just found herself following a lad in a tractor for quite some time because she was so desperate to marry a farmer!
“Well, I am sure you can imagine, there were hundreds of responses. Lots of those responses, of course, were from farmers saying “You can come sit in my combine love” and “I’ll marry you gorgeous” but there was also a lot of comments from farmers wives, explaining to this girl that the lifestyle just isn’t what she thinks it is. It’s not all tweed jackets, lovely views and endless nights out at young farmers parties.
“I sat and I read each comment, and I genuinely laughed out loud as these women started to recall memories of their lives on the farm. One wife spent her anniversary moving electric fencing in a thunder storm. Another remembered calving a cow in a ball gown. Numerous ladies had missed special events due to lambing, or a poorly calve, or just because they were too bloody knackered.
“I laughed, and I felt their sadness and their pain, because I knew exactly what they were saying. I know exactly how it feels.
“I thought to myself and wondered if there were any Facebook groups just for farmers wives? I hadn’t heard of any. I had a look and the answer was no. There were no groups purely for farmers wives of the UK. I mentioned it to my mum and sister, said that this might be a way of me meeting local wives, and if not at least I’ll be able to talk to like-minded women online. Within the hour the name was picked and the group was started… The Crazy Life Of a Farmer’s Wife was born.
“I thought if I got 100 wives that would be an incredible amount of ladies to get together and share the highs and the lows of this very unique way of life.
“Long story short, and 2406 ladies later, the group has grown into something extremely amazing and very special indeed.
“Not only do I now have so so many new friends, both virtual and in the flesh, but by starting and managing this group I have been able to help and support so many other wives, by giving them a platform in which to share their worries, their joys, their upset and most importantly by allowing them to see that this feeling of isolation is what we ALL feel, that it’s not just them that feels this way, It is completely normal.”
The group has now grown and expanded on its own. There is a small charity where wives kindly donate to the ‘Crazies In Crisis’ pot and this allows flowers to be sent to wives who are going through a hard time.
Since starting out there have been a couple of wives whose husbands have died suddenly and unexpectedly. The pot enabled Chloe and the other wives to be able to give donations to their chosen charities.
“We have sent wives who have had cancer go off for precious family days out, and we also send a bunch of flowers each month to a wife at random, as a “You aren’t alone” reminder. This Christmas we also sent Christmas shoe boxes to farm families in need.”
“When I had just had our second son, Teddy, I wanted to be a full time mum and decided to sign up with a nursing agency for any ‘one off’ shifts when money was tight, or Christmas was coming.
“I had found was really started to panic about money. Our family had grown and I was worried that we would be stretched financially. I mean, there are perks to living on a farm, but it does also mean that you don’t have a huge amount of money coming in. I definitely didn’t want to go back to work and leave my boys in the care of another, I wanted to raise them, but I was worried that we couldn’t afford it.”
For a while wives had been asking Chloe to start making Crazy Farmer’s Wife products. Bumper stickers and badges that they could wear to shows/market, as a way of spotting one another. The idea of it excited Chloe but she was initially scared to take that leap.
She finally decided a few months ago to have some car stickers printed. A logo was designed (by one of the wives) and she had 100 printed.
“I was so nervous that nobody would be interested in them but they sold like hotcakes and soon enough I was having to order more.
“The merchandise has expanded and I now sell all sorts from hoodies and mugs to polo shirts and even a 2018 calendar! I have never done anything like this before and I am so so proud of myself and what I have achieved.
“The group grows every day and so I decided to get it trademarked. I am in meetings about a website and hope to start putting on events for wives, a modern day WI if you will. Who knows where it will take me next but I’m very excited and could not be prouder. I am hoping that this little business idea will be just what I need to keep me at home with my boys.
“I hope, going forward, that my new business venture will pay off enough for me to be able to put into the farm. I would love to start my own pedigree flock, or herd and see how I can grow and develop in that. I hope that the farm can just continue to grow and thrive.
“My message to the general public would be to those girls who think they want to marry a farmer for the lifestyle because they believe it to be all about riding horses, driving big cars and bottle feeding lambs… Please don’t believe that to be the only truth. This lifestyle is very rewarding but it is extremely hard work, especially when raising a family. And unfortunately most of the time it’s more hard than rewarding.
“However at home, I love that farmer is around, even if I don’t see him from dawn till dusk, I know he’s here if I need him.
“I love that we can just open the door and we have this magical to go and explore, I love that I have no neighbours so I can scream and shout at farmer and the boys as much as I want.
“I love that my boys get to grow up in this awesome and exciting place. I love that I married a man that can truly take care of, and provide for his family, with his own bare hands.
“The things I like least about farming would have to be the lack of family time. For once I would like to wake up on a Sunday morning and have farmer with us all day. Without him having to go feed and bed down the cattle, or sort the dogs out. Just go out for the day and not have to be home by a certain time, or get called home because there is a cow calving.”
How amazing is Chloe? I love the fact that she has helped so many other farmer’s wives out. I am part of the Crazy Wife of a Farmer’s Wife group myself and I see every day how the group helps each other.
Sometimes, people from non-farming backgrounds don’t understand. Chloe does and her group of fellow-crazies.
If women feel they cant post as themselves, they can send their woes and worries to Chloe and she will post them in the group anonymously so that others can give support and advice. It really is a lovely place to be a part of.