I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but, on occasion, I tune into BravoTV’s reality series featuring the Real Housewives of New York, Beverly Hills, Orange County and New Jersey. The show features women who live lavish lifestyles -- their glitz, glamour, diamonds, sprawling mansions and extravagant events are a far cry from my modest life in rural South Dakota.
As I’m writing this, I’m covered in mud and straw. My life these days feels a little like musical chairs. I sit down to write, get up to check cows, pen up a calving cow, make sure her baby is up and sucking, lay down fresh bedding, haul away manure, haul water, feed hay, check cows again, run to the house to blog, clean up and make a quick dinner, go back outside -- you get the picture. My boots and coveralls go on and off me repeatedly throughout the day as I try to manage my calving responsibilities with my writing deadlines.
It’s days like this – when I’m covered in the muck of calving season, my hair is a mess, and makeup and perfume are long forgotten – that make it blatantly obvious to me that I will never be a real housewife of Beverly Hills. I’ll never have the free time to plan elegant dinners, tan by my pool, get my nails done, drive my Escalade down Rodeo Drive, sip martinis with my girlfriends, be pampered with leisurely facials and enjoy fresh-cut flowers in every room of my home. And, although all of these things would be nice, I wouldn’t trade my rural lifestyle for anything in the world.
So, BravoTV, if you want a suggestion for a great reality show -- unlike any you’ve ever produced in the past -- consider this idea: The Real Ranch Wives of Rural America. The women on the show know how to drive a tractor and a four-wheeler. They can saddle up a horse, rope a calf, run through the snow and mud, work through any weather condition, and care for their livestock. They can also put a hot meal together in less than 20 minutes; do loads of laundry in record time; maintain a clean home even when family members are dragging dirt and straw in the entryway every time they come in the house; raise a family; keep a job in town; and look good doing it all, too. These are the real women we should be featuring on television; they are super heroes.
Admittedly, I don’t know if I have this whole ranch wife thing down yet. However, I have generations of women in my family who have successfully managed it over the years, so I certainly have good role models and mentors to learn from.
I could probably write more anecdotes about the unsung heroes of women in agriculture, but it’s time for me to head back outside and check cows again. My hat’s off to you today, farm and ranch women! Thank you for everything you do!
Are you a farm and ranch woman? What is your best advice for other women to keep everything in balance and accomplish the many tasks you have to do throughout the day? Do you have any favorite quick go-to family meals? How about tricks to get mud stains out of coveralls? Share your best tips in the comments section below.
By the way, for a good read on this topic, check out USA Today's, "Breaking The Glass Ceiling: More Women Are Farming."