Where The Men Aren’t

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.

Homebrew Husband and his Mini-Me

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. Nikki says

    This is so spot on. Though we don’t have kids, and we both are employed, my guy does bring home a little more than his share of the bacon, leaving me more time to write, brew and navel gaze. A good reminder to thank him for that occasionally.

  2. says

    This post made my eyes well up a little. My guy’s not a father, but he’s absolutely supporting us in this journey. I’ve been thinking about it a great deal recently, and I am so thankful for him.

    My thanks to you too, for the reminder.

  3. says

    Thanks for reminding the world! While I still work outside the home part-time, my husband keeps a shitty full-time job so the kids can have health insurance and I can continue that part-time schedule.

    While I certainly have my days where I feel like I am going to throttle him, I always try not to join in the usual “inept husband” banter at work. He is certainly “ept” with the kids, making an income, and also homebrewing and deserves all the praise and kudos I can give.

  4. says

    Very nice! I felt my manhood being challenged just a little in the beginning and was beginning to think that maybe I should make my next blogpost about guns or something. By the end my eyes were stinging a bit though, must be the fumes from my gun cleaning solution.
    Thanks for the Great Post!


  5. says

    Very well put. In our partnership, we both go to work and dream of tractors! In the weekend, I write the blog and tend the garden, while my husband does all the physical work, builds the structures that we need and keeps all the motors going. I try to mention his contribution as often as possible and write about the things that he does in detail in case people are interested in his side of the work, as without him and what he does I wouldn’t be able to do any of this! We are not so much self-sufficient as individuals, but reliant on each other to work as a self-sufficient team.

  6. Lindsey says

    Another Lindsey chiming in to say, thanks for a great post. As I read this, my husband is out building a new chicken tractor, even though he can’t tell the difference between a free range egg and a Sams Club egg.

    That picture is absolutley priceless!

  7. Mr Yan says

    Thanks for this. I’m the guy working and doing the garden while trolling blogs looing for any info to help eek the next pound out of the garden. All my wife’s friends ask her about the gardens assuming they’re her hobby but no one guesses their my realm.

  8. Kallie says

    I love this, and for me it is so true. My husband has been our only source of income for most of our marriage, he is blessed to be in a field he enjoys, so work isn’t often a chore. Even still he has been supportive of so many of the “projects” I have started over the years and has put in many less than fun days helping with the heavy lifting. My man isn’t perfect, but he is the perfect man for me.

  9. says

    Lovely, lovely post. My husband is that wonderful full-time, bread-winning guy that works while I stay and home and farm :) Thanks for the nod, and love the point about girl-talk too–spot on.

  10. Deon says

    My husband has been staying home with our daughter for the past almost three years. He has learned to cook, garden, shop, and raise a beautiful, tough, toddler. I go out to the job to be able to return to them every night. He often gets frustrated with the assumptions people make or where information gets targeted. I am happy with choices we have made. Thank you for including “the only stay-at-home Dad at the playground play group.” Go Dads!

  11. says

    Lovely post Erica. I always forget your have father’s day in June (actually, I thought is was July) over there – we don’t have it until September.

    It’s true what you say about remembering them, and about female solidarity girl-talk not coming at the cost of male-bashing, and they are good things to say (my husband and I both work part-time outside the house, mostly, or at least partly, because we’d both really rather stay home full time. Though I often think – and so does he – the work they pay us so much for is easier than staying home with three kids!).

    But – what most interested me about your post really was the beginning. I don’t read many of those preppers blogs, mostly because the NRA logos really put me off – it’s an area where American culture & Australian really diverge a lot – and i already have too many blogs to keep up with anyway. But it is interesting that men are so little represented in the homesteading/sustainable living blogosphere. Gavin of http://www.greeningofgavin.com/ is a obvious exception, but off the top of my head I can’t think of another, though I’m sure there are more.

    Anyway, it’s nearly midnight here and that makes it 3 hours past my theoretical bed time, so I can’t think of anythin coherent to say, except it’s an area I’ve been thinking about in terms of skills building, and what’s represented mainly in the blogosphere, at least the part of it that I inhabit.

  12. says

    Erica, this is a wonderful post about the wonderful men behind the scenes. I grew up in the 60s hearing the mantra that “behind every successful man is a supportive woman.” You’ve pointed out that vice versa is true as well, especially in our niche. Before my husband retired from his life career, he was the one dreaming of tractors while developing commercial property and building structures for other people. Now he’s on the tractor on a regular basis and loving it. My daughter and I do the bulk of the writing on our encouragement and support blog Rural Living Today (http://RuralLivingToday.com/blog). But my hubby is right there with us in the planning and often writes posts as well, especially those about his new passion: helping others develop their rural property and build their own farm structures! Thanks for a great post, and kudos to all the supportive men out there!

  13. andrea says

    SO well put! I just found your blog and this post might make yours top my list.

    My husband makes everything we have possible.


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