I’m kind of a weird woman, not really a "girly" girl. I grew up on horseback, helping my Daddy out in his oilfield service company shop (my job was to clean old parts), and playing cowboys and Indians out with my brother. I like my guns and my motorcycle now, and I’ve been preparing for a SHTF scenario for almost a year. My career is also kind of weird, I repair musical instruments. School band instruments, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, that sort of thing. My husband is also an instrument repair technician, and we began our own business about seven years ago. Because of the nature of our business, I found myself working with nothing but a shop full of men for several years. And I didn’t realize until much time had passed that there were some things that I needed in order to feel, well, womanly. And in this respect, if there are survival groups being planned and executed by men, sometimes they might not think about what a woman might need to be content.
I know, contentment is not a high priority here. But most women, I believe, actually require very little to achieve contentment. Of course, feeling as safe as possible, knowing that there will be enough food for the family, feeling confident in the use of weapons as well as the use of cookware. Some women like to lean on a man, and others don’t. But there are some special needs that, if the men of the group are aware of them, some planning can be done. Your list of lists only says “Ladies Supplies.” Well, that could include lots of things. The menstrual problems have been pretty well covered in some other posts, so I don’t feel that I need to cover them here.
It is probable, as in your book "Patriots", that someone will become pregnant. Some wrap-around skirts would be a nice thing to pack away, or oversized pants with extra fabric and drawstrings in the waist. Speaking of babies, I think that cloth diapers would not only come in very handy, but would be great trading wampum as well. I prefer the longer unfolded kind, I think they are easier to get clean. They can be used even if very worn. Plus, they have many other uses after the child doesn’t need them anymore.
Full size diaper pins are going to be an important item, also, and would make for great trading. Safety pins are rarely big enough to pin a diaper with. Diaper pins are big and sturdy, and after my children were out of diapers I found many uses for them around the house.
Women who are breastfeeding an infant might want larger size bras, and nursing bras will be even more of a luxury. Remember, when a woman’s milk comes in, her breasts get much bigger, and sometimes sore and tender. When this happens even walking a short distance can be very painful. For first time mothers, this can be a really nasty surprise that wasn’t considered in the preparation. The support of a bra could make all the difference between a happy camper and a very unhappy one.
That’s just a few “necessaries” that I thought of. But, I found that in my time of working with nothing but men there were other things that I started craving.
Take flowers, for instance. I never used to care anything about flowers, and generally thought it was a huge waste of money for anyone to buy me any. However, one day one of my shop guys stopped to pick some wildflowers for me on his way to work, and I instantly embarrassed myself by breaking out into tears. What can I say? I was just struck at that moment by the absence of flowers or anything else pretty in my life, and those little flowers were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
After that, I learned that even tomboy me needed some beauty around. I started putting some pinks, reds, yellows, and generally “feminine” colors in my bedroom and instantly became more contented. And not all women would like the colors I picked, but the idea of something pretty will make a big difference in a girl’s life.
Now, when faced with some dirt-bag trying to get into my retreat, I can be as vicious as any man. Maybe not as strong, but certainly as lethal with a weapon in my hands. But in the day-to-day drudgery of eking out a living after TSHTF, little pretty things may make existence much more pleasant. Packing away some flower seeds or starting some antique rose varieties would keep beauty in her world.
When we got to the point in our business where I could hire a bookkeeper, I was thrilled. Not only did the lady I hired do a terrific job, she became my fast friend and companion. The point is, even the most die-hard of us probably need some other women as company. If a woman is the only feminine presence in the retreat, she may feel alone and overwhelmed.
When I first started working with the guys, I did learn much about cars, guns, and motorcycles, and I enjoyed the conversations. But after a while, I craved some girl-talk, and I found myself growing weary of the “guy” conversations. I would go find something else to do. My friend was a God-send. In my retreat planning, I am certainly going to make sure that I am not the only women there if I can help it.
Of course, starting our own business then meant that my husband and I spent every minute together of every single day. 24/7. We both had to learn, the hard way, that we really both needed some “alone” time. In a The End of the Worlds as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) situation, young couples especially may have a hard time dealing with this. Don’t ever compromise your tactical position, but do respect the other person’s need for some time to themselves, even if it is just a little bit.
If I was a man preparing my retreat, I would put a very small little tin in my bug-out bag, so that I would always have it handy. In the tin, I would put a few little gifts for that special woman in my life. A pretty thimble, perhaps. Or some pretty ribbon, her favorite color. A few pretty antique buttons. A gold or silver ring. A necklace she could wear under her camos. A silver cross or other religious symbol. Anything to brighten a bad day, a storehouse in a tiny box of “pretty gifts” that will let her know you thought about her and that you appreciate her. My husband hand-made a thimble for me out of brass, a special quilting thimble, and he polished and lacquered it. It is one of my most prized possessions, and one of the least expensive yet most thoughtful gifts he has ever given me. And he didn’t give it to me on my birthday or anything like that, he gave it to me after we had a particularly stressful day. I love him all the more for it.
I have never been in the military, although the Marines tried to recruit me when I was a young girl. I don’t know how the girls who get sent over to Iraq and Afghanistan handle this stuff. Perhaps they are too young to know the difference, and they get used to it. I’m 53, and this has just been my experience.
When TSHTF, I’m sure I can tough it out like most women. Heck, my grandmother traveled across country in a covered wagon. But it sure would be nice for someone to appreciate what I do, and make sure I had a little beauty in my life. If this country goes down the path I think it is going to, there are going to be so many folks who mentally can’t handle the stress. A little thing might help a lot. - Jeanan