"Thank God it's the weekend" Said no stay at home Mummy or Farmer ever, I've demolished two loads of washing, tidied the kitchen, lit the fire all before 9.00am, so now I'm sitting down to a cold cup of tea, whilst both children nap and reflecting on what my actual 'job' is;
"Are you still a lady of leisure?" a question that I hear more than "why mummy?", this is someone trying to ask me if I went back to work after maternity leave or am I just 'lunching with friends' most days. Which to many mummy's today seems to be a very topical subject. A woman who doesn't earn a wage can be perceived as having little worth to some, however, to others a mummy's place is at home raising the family and keeping a home. As far as I'm concerned neither is right or wrong, your situation and the path you choose is the determining factor.
My answer to this all too frequent question is a big fat "yes", but thinking about it, my spontaneous answer is not completely correct. To start with, any farmer's wife will tell you that she 'goes out to work' nearly every day, whether it's to get the sheep in, receive a delivery, move the tractor, weed the garden, help muck out the cows, or go hunting for the child you've lost knee deep in the mud, usually dressed in their best clothes. All of the above is work trust me.
In addition, I do have 2 little 'jobs'. Since leaving my 12 year employment at a local marquee and events company, I have started 2 'from home' businesses!!! So I am one of those smug people who say they 'work from home around the children' (in reality I actually work when the children are in bed and the dishes are done!), this in itself is a term that presents two different types of mummy's, the one's that do actually work from home and the other mummy's who just stay at home being a referee to the children and hiding from mess that is quickly being created around her. Admittedly, I slip into both of these categories!
So to keep my answer to the original question concise and not go into all to my daily duties and responsibilities, I simply respond with "yes", which then finds me needing to back myself up, saying "I used to have a job" and "I graduated from Britain's leading Agricultural University" (Harper Adams), just on the off chance they quickly judge me as a mere uneducated, unambitious farmer's wife. Honestly, the thought of having my 9-5 job now seems like heaven, I didn't have to work nearly as hard as I do now...
Chatting to my friends, who are also farmer's wives, they agree and share stories of their husbands coming in to find them slaving over dinner, doing laundry, calming a crying baby, and talking to someone farm related on the phone all pretty much at the same time. His boots dripping mud on the freshly mopped floor, the farmer will say, “What have you done today love? Are you busy?”
The farmers' wife is tuned in to lie at moments like that and say, “Not much dear, what do you need?” The answer is irrelevant anyway. He has a job ready for her, and he is unlikely to listen to her answer.
The promise of; "it'll only take a minute" is tinged with the reality that she knows better. So, as everything is dropped and the children are either togged up to join the workforce or tucked up in bed we venture out to do the very important job he has lined up, be it, going to collect spares, moving cows, lambing or (due to her small hands) holding a hidden nut on a rusty piece of machinery for a finger aching long time. The farmers' wife knows all too well it'll be late before they get back into the house and then the darling farmer will spout out "What's for dinner?"
(NB, before someone decides I've left my children alone whilst doing these 'jobs', I wouldn't, you see, as farmer's most of us live like the Walton's!)
In today's quick to label and judge world, the term you choose to define a farmer's wife and mummy doesn't really matter. The truth is that the only ones who completely grasp and appreciate the extent of her 'job' are those who have been in her very well worn and ridiculously muddy shoes.
Keep up your amazing work ladies, our country depends on you. x