How To: Cope With the Never Ending Struggle of Retaining Femininity When Farming

When I first opened Muddy Boots Farm; a lack of sleep, deeply embedded smell of faecal matter and increasing lack of interaction with anyone but my livestock; led to me gradually waving goodbye to my beauty regime, self-care time and sadly I felt, my femininity. Do not misinterpret me here, I am not suggesting that any of those things or any part of farming makes you less of a woman but being quite a “girly girl” (whatever that means, I am just me!) I found it hard to maintain that particular part of my life. And if being a “girly girl” makes you happy, why should you give it up for a career, hobby or passion? After months of feeling down about how I looked and how I felt about myself, I had realised that I needed to invest some time in a bit of TLC. It is true, if you’re feeling down; sometimes a haircut, manicure or even a wash can make you feel 100 times better.

Although I knew I could never dedicate the time I once did to keeping hold of a bit of the femininity I felt I had lost since starting the farm, I wanted to retain a bit of what made me. Little did I know that what makes me ‘me’ is farming, being outdoors, seeing friends/family, working hard and being a bit of a “girly girl” sometimes.

Once I realised that this was something I wanted to do, I came up with few little tricks that allow me to do both, which I have conveniently listed below.

*Side note* I have discovered, which may shock you if you want to both work in agriculture and be ever so slightly effeminate, that people like to judge you and imply that if you are spending time caring about your appearance then you are clearly a rubbish farmer. Because the two so clearly link, I hear. Dear people who like to judge, please kindly take your comments elsewhere, because frankly darlings what you look like or what makes you ‘you’ has absolutely nothing to do with your abilities to be a good farmer.

1. Hair Masks – I dye my hair, I straighten my hair, I scrunch it up in a bobble every day…. I pretty much do everything you should not do to your hair if you want it to be in good condition. Therefore rescue hair masks are my saviour. You can buy a large range of hair masks in most supermarkets; the single use packets are usually around £1-2 or a tub with 5-10 portions in can be purchased for around £5. My favourites are the Garnier Ultimate Blends 3-in-1 Mask Coconut Milk and Macadamia Oil Extract Hair Mask both leave your hair gorgeously silky and smell absolutely divine, you almost want to eat the stuff! My trick is to wash my hair in the evening, towel dry it, smother the mask in my hair and tie it up in a bun or plait it. I will then sleep with it in my hair overnight and feed the animals in the morning without touching it (all while looking extremely greasy and gross but the end result is so worth it). When you have finished all the dirty jobs of the morning or day, wash out the mask and you are left with beautifully smooth and nourished locks. All in all, this has only added 10 minutes onto your normal daily washing regime so is easily workable into a busy lifestyle.

2. Waterproof Overalls – just like me, you may often have your farm jobs to do immediately before you head out somewhere where you have to look like a reasonably presentable adult, heck somewhere you may even want to look a bit glam! This poses a few problems, usually relating to smells/stains/weather penetrating your chosen outfit and having to either find time for a complete wardrobe change in between jobs and going out; or risk entering your chosen venue stinky, stained or wet. Enter a pair of waterproof overalls that you can chuck on over any of your chosen outfits with little interference to the condition of your clothing. Life savers. Quite often I go from one extreme to another under my waterproof overalls and no one has a clue. I might spend one day with my pyjamas on underneath and another day in my best pair of jeans and smart blouse, both outfits safe from external influence and my poor timekeeping skills ensure I am only half an hour late to my very important date.

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^^^ I know this post is meant to be about retaining femininity, as I supply a photo of me in a set of rather unattractive men’s overalls. But underneath, the options are endless!

3. Gloves – gloves are a pain; you can’t use your phone, you can’t grip the slippy purple spray can and maybe avoid them when it comes to banding the boys. But when it is safe and only mildly inconvenient, save your hands and nails by wearing gloves. You will regret it if you don’t. The cold weather will leave your hands dry and cracked, constantly washing them or getting them wet is also not great for the skin and any time iodine is even in the same room as my hands they just shrivel up. My mantra tends to be; ‘buy cheap and replace often’, the things that my hands come into contact with on a daily basis are not often pleasant so I would rather replace than reuse but whatever works for you! Wearing gloves also prevents chipped nail polish and reduces the chance of cutting your beautiful hands.

4. Find an Excuse to Get Glammed Up – Sometimes working on the farm can be lonely, you feel, and often look, like crap and you kind of lose yourself a bit in farm life. It was only recently that I realised how important it is to get off the farm when you can to experience a bit of the outside world. Even if that experience is simply putting some makeup on and going for a coffee with a friend in the neighbouring town. If your time, funds and social preferences stretch to a girls night out or a double date up town, do it. There are times to be selfish and times when excuses not to go out need to be ignored. Obviously, I am not saying park your tractor up mid-harvest or leave the lambing ewes and grab a pint! But in the quieter months/days, make time for yourself and perhaps journey off the farm to enjoy being you for a bit. It is good for the soul and it makes you appreciate where you live and work so much more. I’m always itching to come home after a few hours somewhere busy and full of people and noise but I know it’s good to get out and think about something other than the farm for a very brief period.

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^^^ Glammed up for the British Farming Awards, 2017.

5. BB Cream – I love you BB Cream. I’m not even sure what you are but I can go from looking like death, to at least warmed up death, within 30 seconds and for that I know you are the one. For those of you out of the makeup loop, BB cream is a miracle liquid that combines sunblock, moisturiser and a light foundation. I personally use the Bare Minerals BB Cream Primer though there are hundreds of products out there to suit every skin type, budget and preferences. I use it most days; on a normal day I use it on its own, on a glam day I use it as a base for my foundation. It helps create a more even tone and takes literally seconds to apply.

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^^^BB Cream, no filter, no other makeup.

With those five little tricks I seem to cling, somewhat desperately, to the life I led before I had the farm, without losing much farming time to a ridiculously long beauty regime or compromising on my cherished femininity. I hope that those of you who read my blog realise that farming does not mean an end to you being you, you just find a way of working it to include your preferences and if that means spending an hour of your day head to toe in pig poop with a luxurious hair mask working it’s magic at the same time then I think that is pretty special.

Speak soon

Katie x

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