Ladies, don’t take your children to see the new Barbie movie. Take your mom. Take your girlfriends. Take a flask. Take the wife of your pastor. Because if there’s one woman who, more than any other, is still expected to do and be everything, it’s the pastor’s wife.

Admit it: Even the phrase “pastor’s wife” conjures up a mental picture of a demure woman in high heels and pearls with an affinity for hot rollers. This idealized image of Pastor’s Wife Barbie, a woman more plastic than person, remains a very real thing in the minds of churchgoers.

With the advent of female ministers and same-sex marriage for clergy, talking about the role of the “pastor’s wife” seems anachronistic; but even women in ministry can’t fully escape it.

“My churches acted a little bit like I had cheated them out of a ‘preacher’s wife’ and some ‘preacher’s kids’ because I was a single woman,” said one female pastor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Like they didn’t know who to give the official ‘preacher’s wife jobs’ to!”

In this enlightened age, even at egalitarian churches, we’ve not abandoned expectations for the spouses of our pastors, and woe to she who tries to live outside the Pastor’s Wife Barbie box.

Read the rest of my adventures as “Pastor’s Wife Barbie,” here.