Whilst we all know that being a wife doesn’t require any previous education and training as such, there are a few careers that might have made my baptism of fire into the role, a little more calm in the beginning. (Or even now, truth be told).
As I am a teacher, The Farmer has often reminded me that I am the ‘drought relief’. It’s an inside joke around farming parts that you will always be the source of income, regardless of the weather, when you are a teacher, and as such, you are a catch of sorts. Of course, it’s all just fun and games. Any job off farm is almost certainly appreciated, however many wome have found that they are more useful (and perhaps better contibuters) by not working off-farm. Whatever floats your boat.
In all seriousness, teachers and nurses (and medical specialists) are prime candidates for snagging a farmer. New girls in farming towns are always the recipients of lots of male attention. And every year brings with it a new swag of female teachers and nurses.
Over the years I’ve often thought that being a teacher would be handy if you had to ever home school your kids. Thankfully I don’t. I HAVE attempted it during floods, when we’ve been stuck at home for a number of weeks. But I take my hat off to women who manage to educate their children at home. You are a breed of women who I could only ever aspire to be like. I found it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Whilst being a teacher enables me to better understand curriculum, nothing prepares you for the test of endurance you undergo on a daily basis as a mother AND a home educator.
Being a nurse might have also been handy. If you could earn frequent flyer points from calling 13HEALTH, I would be able to fly around the world several times for free. I’ve become quite adept at diagnosing my kids over the years. Mothers everywhere develop that same level of medical ability at some point, but geez it would have been handy over the last few years. The times when we had a 7mm gaping bloody lip, the fevers, broken collar bones, broken elbows, temperatures, flus, respiratory concerns, vomiting bugs… and god forbid if a snake bite had ever happened. Touch wood it hasn’t – and nor has anything else major – but a background in any first aide could be a god send on a farm.
There are other careers that might have proved useful over the years too.
The other day The Farmer came in at lunch and asked me if I would mind picking him up from the ‘4-corner yards’ in about half an hour. I must have screwed up my nose (and not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I hadn’t drawn those yards onto my map of the property). I KNOW where the yards are, but The Farmer wanted me to go there HIS way (the quick way), and whilst I thought I had a fair idea where it was and what the best road to get there would be, I wasn’t 100% certain. The Farmer (correctly interpreting my screwed up nose as complete hopelessness) followed up with ‘you know the road?! Up where all those Brigalow trees are.’
*Cue the moment where I realised that a career in Botany might have come in handy. Eventually I found my way there (ok, so I may have kind of followed him out there after lunch, but the good news is that it was where I would have gone anyway). We were all winners.
And I have already forgotten what a Brigalow tree looks like again…
When we watch TV shows like My Kitchen Rules, I will occasionally hear The Farmer make a comment along the lines of ‘why don’t you ever cook meals like that?’ I generally respond with, ‘I DO! I just don’t stack it all up like that.’ Or something along those lines. Sometimes I think that a career as a Chef might have been useful on the farm. As it stands, I am pretty satisfied with my culinary ability. But cooking skills are always much appreciated on a farm.
I am ‘needlework challenged’. I don’t own a sewing machine, and the extent of my needle working skills is patching a hole, or adjusting a hem. Don’t worry, I disappoint myself too. Perhaps my perceived wastefulness could be mended (excuse the pun) by improving my skills as a seamstress.
Other careers that would have come in handy include (but are not limited to) being:
· A vet (Hello?! Anyone remember the infamous incident where I contemplated calling a vet for a steer that was ill near our house in my early days on the farm? Read all about that sad and sorry tale here). Being a vet would probably be THE handiest career to have chosen had I known I would end up a Farmer’s Wife at some point.
· Truck Driver, general labourer, or even a tradie of some description (plumber, electrician, builder etc.). The Farmer always tells me I am the brain of our outfit, and he is the heavy lifter. Heavy lifting is certainly useful on accession. Like when you want to bring a piano into your house… (long story). But our water pump that has been playing up, broken oven and washing machine (and lawn mower now that I’m thinking about it) could have been fixed if I’d had the skills. The Farmer is generally too busted to do anything else by the time he gets home.
· Mechanic. Who am I kidding? Whilst it would certainly be handy, I should learn how to change a tyre before I look at any benefit that being a mechanic would be for me. And learn how to use the Low 4WD gear in The Farmer’s work ute properly… perhaps muscles is really actually all I need, come to think of it…
· Accountant. Oh my goodness, I loathe and despise bookwork as much as I loathe and despise the drought. I’d rather sit in a dentist chair and have a root canal done, than do books all the time.* Perhaps if I was more confident in that area, I wouldn’t fear it so much.
* I didn’t really mean that about the root canal. What kind of person would prefer that? ;)
· A degree in Public Relations would also be ideal. As a member of the P and C, and any other number of committees, not to mention just the advocacy for farming that goes with living on the land, ALL require excellent PR skills. Something I could certainly use…
· Counsellor – especially during the drought. I actually did start my Masters in Guidance and Counselling and having babies put that on ice for a while (read permanently). Some days I think that having skills in this area would be something of a godsend around here. (Or not just HERE, but here as in on a farm or in the country etc.)
Of course, whilst all of these professions would be handy, they are by no means a pre-requisite. Thank goodness. Pretty much all you need is a big heart, passion for the land and a good relationship with your partner to really make it work. That and being open minded, flexible and being able to think outside the square and work with what you already have. The rest will all fall into place eventually.