For those of you who aren’t familiar with the life of a rancher/cowboy, there are certain characteristics that a woman must possess in order to maintain a certain level of sanity as a cowboy’s wife.
This is not to downplay or diminish the important characteristics required by a wife of a man of any other profession. A cowboy wife is the only position as to which I am fully educated and to some extent continually learning.
PATIENCE: I know that patience is a requirement in all marriages, but for the cowboy wife this is a HUGE must. A cowboy may punch a time clock depending upon who he works for, but, by no means, does that mean he has set hours. For example, my husband is “usually” gone by 6 am on the weekdays and weekends that he works. On occasion, when they’re receiving cattle he may have to leave by 5:00 or 5:30.
“Why does this require patience?”, you ask. “You’re still going to have to get the kids up and ready for school. What’s so different?”, you wonder.
The diiference, my friends, is that by the time the truck rolls back into the drive he is so tired that he can barely keep his eyes open, let alone carry on a conversation about your days activites or the note that got sent home with little Johnny from school letting you know he has detention for getting into a peeing contest with the other boys in school.
(This is a whole other blog at a later date and time.)
For this reason, you ,as the wife are required to handle all of the evening duties that might normally be shared.
Aside from the sheer exhaustion, there is never a guarantee as to what hour that truck will roll in, either. Cattle do not know that supper is to be on the table at 6:30. They don’t care that Mom has a meeting at 5:30 and Cowboy Dad needs to pick the kids up today.
Bottom line, patience is a must because at any given time, you, as the wife, can and will be called upon to do it all.
CHEF EXTROIDINAIRE: Most men are good eaters and have a healthy appetite, but as the daughter, sister, and wife of a cowboy, I’m here to tell you that there is no apetite on Earth like that of this breed of man.
(Okay, maybe a Sumo wrestler might have a slightly more voracious apetite than my guys ,but it’s going to be close!)
As a young girl, I learned that cooking large quantities of food is a must. The cowboy never eats just one helping of food. The large amounts of energy they expell REQUIRE seconds. I can count on one hand the number of times my husband has eaten only one helping of food. Aside from eating seconds, you must have enough for lunch the next day. McDonald’s isn’t just around the corner for these guys.
Next to the mass quantities of food the cowboy wife has to cook, she must also have at least 30 to 40 different ways to cook hamburger. Chicken is a rare treat on the cattleman’s table. By all means they must indulge in the product of ther labor.
LAUNDRY EXPERT: I was recently very tickled by a comment a friend of a fellow cowboy wife (cowboy wife is Abbey) made. This friend, who we’ll call Sarah, is NOT a cowboy wife. She’s not familiar with filth. (I have to chuckle as I write this.) Sarah and her son came to watch a ranch rodeo that my husband and Abbey’s husband were competing in. Her son was playing with all of the other little boys and as the night was coming to a close the boys gathered around. Of course you can’t have any sort of rodeo without an ample amount of dirt and on this particular night it was more like mud. We all know that boys and dirt go hand in hand. Sarah took one look at her son’s filthy clothes and then looked at us bewildered and asked, “How do I get his clothes clean…???” Abbey and I both smiled and giggled and then explained the use of a pretreatment, HOT, HOT water and a second rinse cycle.
Most of you know that cowboys usually appear clean and crisp when out in public. This is NOT because they have an abundance of “town attire”, this is because their wives have become stain fighting experts. For the experienced cowboy wife there isn’t any amount of poo or mud that can overwhelm this woman. The soap will always prevail!
And last, but certainly not least…
MASTER MULTI-TASKER: Now, I know that most moms and wives are required to be multi-taskers, but I doubt they include some of the duties asked of a cowboy wife. For instance, on any given day, not only will you have to feed your household, you will probably be required to feed the bucket calf or two twice a day. I’ll have you know that bucket calves aren’t nearly as nice about waiting for breakfast and supper as the kids are. If you don’t believe me just wait for the first time you get head butted for not getting there quick enough.
This woman must also know how to drop everything she’s doing on the spot to help assist her cowboy husband. On more than 100 occasions my mother and I were asked to stop what we were doing to run out the door to help stand in the random assortment of “holes” in the yard while the guys herded cattle to their destination.
(A hole is any area in the yard/path that a bovine creature may decide to “escape” through to avoid their destination even if that destination is a grassy, green pasture.)
This particular trait, I believe’ is the most important of all because without this one you can’t possibly do any of the others.
So, ladies, this is just a glimpse of what I am all about. I know there are probably many wives out there who must possess these same traits, but as I said earlier, this is the only life I know. I thank God everyday for making this my life and granting me the special qualities that enable me to keep my sanity.