I just got back from a girl’s weekend in McCall. A couple of my friends signed up for a yoga retreat, and needing to get out of Moscow, I joined them. I participated in the Friday evening session, but staring out the window while the sun set on Jughandle mountain, I knew that I would not be spending my Saturday inside of a yoga studio.
As we were driving home today in the pouring rain, Jasper and I exchanged sporadic texts. Cell phone coverage between McCall and Moscow is spotty at best. He was at home making crepes…wondering if he should save me some. Then deciding to clean up the kitchen. I came home to homemade crepes and a clean kitchen….and really long grass in the yard. This got me thinking about women’s work and boy chores.
Jasper doesn’t mow our lawn. He (like his father) has grass allergies. I don’t. I cut the grass. It is typically a boy chore. I don’t mind it. It doesn’t make me itch, and there is instant gratification for an hour’s labor. Jasper bakes. He is good at it. He makes yummy cookies, crepes with nutella, and an amazing cheesecake. Cooking is typically women’s work. He likes it. I benefit.
I spent the morning on Saturday helping a good friend in McCall repair barbed wire fencing. She has a 40 acre pasture where they run 80 pair of cattle in the summertime. This Spring’s snowmelt wasn’t too harsh on the fence, but there was stretching to do, and barbed staples to replace. It was sunny. She and her dad ran the stretcher, I walked the fence line with an old paint can full of staples and a hammer. We only finished about a 1/4 of it before her mom came down in the truck with muffins and coffee. “Stop working so hard, and c’mon over and have a snack”. Given how good both the coffee and the muffins were, I knew who had REALLY been working too hard.
Women’s work is hard because it is never done. People get hungry at least 3 times per day and the same old clothes need to be washed again. Boy chores often include an element of hard physical labor, or exposure to the elements that aren’t always a sunny morning. But, grass only needs to be cut once per week, and if you do it right, fence only needs to be repaired once per season.
Walking through the pasture, swinging my hammer with an up close and personal view of Jughandle mountain, I was so grateful that in my generation work is not defined by gender. I got to help fix a fence. Jasper fed me when I got home. Life is good.