AMY KIRK: The challenge of looking like I have it all togetherDuring the winter months getting to appointments, church, meetings or school sports activities in the morning and looking presentable are two hardships I struggle to overcome.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
During the winter months getting to appointments, church, meetings or school sports activities in the morning and looking presentable are two hardships I struggle to overcome.
Our wintertime ranch chores have to be taken care of in the morning before we go anywhere and are the kinds of responsibilities that clash with my “good clothes.”
Classy looking women have no idea how I envy their neatness of appearance. Early morning obligations to livestock pose a challenge for farm and ranch women that most women don’t have to deal with.
Not looking like Pig Pen of the Peanuts gang in public is difficult for me when dealing with livestock. The effort it takes to keep my clothes and appearance tidy and clean drains my energy and is the reason I am not a needy, high-maintenance kind of gal in other areas of my life.
Any morning obligation that requires my attendance and appearing as well-put together as other women is expecting a lot from me. Showering, getting dressed, wrangling my hair and shoveling down some breakfast prior to doing ranch chores oftentimes pushes me to the absolute latest it can be and still make it on time.
Selecting my wardrobe usually consists of grabbing one of my old standby outfits that I’m not likely to decide to change at the last minute.
By the time I make it to my commitment, I’ve scrambled around pushing up hay, man-handled feed buckets to the feed bunks, refilled them, checked livestock water and hustled to get my chores done in a timely manner while my husband oversees the rest of the chores.
Even though sweat may trickle down my neck and back during chores, I’m always hopeful that my perspiration isn’t noticeable when I get to my destination.
The first thing I notice once I’ve finally arrived where I need to be, is how the people around me all seem to be more composed than I do. They have no idea that before I showed up I was perspiring and exposed to clean clothes attractants like manure, dirt, dust, hay, livestock and livestock water.
It’s usually while waiting, trying to slow down my heart rate and looking at a magazine or in my purse for something, that I observe things amiss about my appearance.
I become aware that my ironed blouse has wrinkles from being squished under my coveralls or work coat.
I may notice a trail of damp mud clods that lead across the office floor toward my seat.
Sometimes I’ve spotted manure residue that clung to my shoe’s soles because I made the bad decision to wear good shoes to do chores instead of changing them first.
More than once I’ve plucked alfalfa or hay out of my hair, but the worst is when hay has collected in my bra and I’ve had to nonchalantly try to remove it without other people noticing.
While waiting I’ve discovered dirt smudges on my pants from brushing against a muddy or dirty vehicle as I got out or recognized coffee stain dribbles on my clean pants or top. By the end of the day I’ve usually found all the flaws in my appearance.
I have no problem getting it together to get ranch chores done and arriving on time, I just don’t always look like I have it all together.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.