Maybe you have websites like these your blog-reader. They are filled with instagram-tinted family photos and helpful recipes and they have cute tag-lines that always include the phrase: “journey to self-sufficiency.” These blogs focus on what one family is doing to become more healthy, self-reliant or economically and environmentally responsible.
Sometimes the focus is on whole foods, sometimes it’s post-peak-oil preparedness, or gluten-free diets, gardening, or all-around frugality.
Almost universally, these websites glorify the work of the women. That’s kind of understandable, since most of them are written by women.
Canning, couponing, growing healthy food in the backyard for the kids. Women doing it, women photographing it, writing about it, shining it up for public consumption, pinning it, coveting it, learning from it and being inspired by it.
Only when you cross over from “self-sufficiency” to “prepping” do the men come out. Then it’s bullets and beans and MREs and the tone of the websites change a lot. More black and silver. More NRA sidebar logos. No more pictures of cute kids holding homemade yogurt popsicles in the backyard.
Please understand, I’m not suggesting that anything in the cooking-gardening-sustainability world is woman’s work per se…rather I’m saying that people who blog about these activities, particularly within the context of a family, are primarily women. And basically we’re navel gazing and yammering on about ourselves, aren’t we?
But there are husbands (or other partners; substitute whatever noun is appropriate for your situation) behind the scenes. Behind the handmade apron and the strawberry jam and the extreme couponing and the time to document it, there’s probably a guy.
While plenty of women are working and raising babies and keeping a productive home and documenting “the journey” – and those of you who attempt all this simultaneously are freaking amazing – plenty more, like me, are able to commit to the garden and the kitchen and the domestic sphere at the scale we do only because our partners commit to work that seeds the bank account.
If your guy is like Homebrew Husband, maybe he only goes to work so he can come home again, to the family he loves and supports. Maybe he sits through mind-numbing meetings and dreams of tractors. Maybe what he wants to do is stay home and herd chickens and write novels, like my man.
But instead, every damn day, maybe he wakes up early, commutes, sucks it up and earns money because, until we can pay the mortgage in potatoes, people he loves count on him do to so.
The men are there. I know they are. Quiet, not flashy, behind the scenes. Supporting in their own way. Important figures in the equation that adds up to a productive home.
If modern homesteading is in-part about community building, the first community to build is the one under your own roof. So even if the guys don’t show up too often in this blogger world of primarily female voices, let’s remember them, shall we?
Let’s remember the guy who watches the grandkids so his daughter can work. The guy who spends his days in a cubicle. The guy who grows the family garden. The guy rocking the baby to sleep at 3 am and the guy on the airplane at 3 am, coming home after a long week away. The only stay-at-home dad at the playground play-group.
Let’s remember the guy who cares about local and sustainable food and the guy who just cares about keeping his family fed and so does what he must to ensure that happens.
Let’s remember the men who refuse to join in jocular wife-bashing around the water cooler because, no, they don’t consider their wife to be a ball-and-chain. Let’s make sure to reciprocate, too, because female solidarity girl-talk needn’t come at the cost of male-bashing.
Let’s remember the guys. They are here too, and it’s better with them.
Thank you, men. Happy Father’s Day.1