I have been reminded how our society has an assumption that any decision being made when it comes to home improvements to the purchase of something other than food or clothes, is that a man has the final say.
I have been having some fencing companies come out to give me some estimates on having a fence installed for our sweet Mazy. Besides from the sticker shock, I am shocked at how the question immediately following the pleasantries is always “So what does your husband think….”. I know it is an assumption when you come to a home where it is obvious younger children live and a woman is there during the day for the estimate. But let’s look at today’s society and how it has changed. It is a rare thing anymore to have an intact family or a traditional family.
I have gotten quite used to these questions and depending on my mood (hahaha) or the manner in which the question is brought up affects how I answer it. I know when I say the words “my husband passed away” makes many uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say for numerous reasons. So I usually just refer to Ryan in the present tense especially when it comes to someone who is trying to sell me something. I find when I do say I am a widow, they seem to think I am not very knowledgeable of things. OK I am not but they don’t need to know that!
So I have made it my mission to come across more in charge of decisions being made so the people I deal with don’t assume there is a “man of the house”. I am the man and the woman of the house. So here’s to wearing the pants in the family.
Today we woke up to about 7in of snow. The kids just started back to school yesterday and here we are with a 3 day weekend. As I get up, let the dog out, feed the dog, and look at my coffee cup~ coffee first or wait until after I clear the driveway? I decide coffee will wait until after I clear the driveway. I proceed to bundle up and before I head out I tell my lovely kiddies I’ll be back in shortly.
I open the garage door, get the snow blower set to start it up and hope my older neighbors are awake. This is the 4th winter on my own since losing Ryan. I always knew how to do things like this because he taught me and I was great at watching from the comfort of a warm house. He made it look so easy. The snow would blow in the correct direction so effortlessly. And Ryan had a way of clearing the driveway where the snow wouldn’t cover what you already cleared. It seemed to only take him 10-15 minutes depending on the amount and how heavy the snow.
The past 2 winters we really haven’t had measurable snow. So I was a little rusty. I start the snow blower and head down the driveway. I’m feeling pretty good. I feel I look like I know what I am doing. The snow was light and I thought “Thank god! Its freezing out here!” I get to the bottom of the driveway and have to make the decision of how to proceed without making more work for myself and not look like a complete idiot because I know there were neighbors watching from their warm houses. I will not bore you with the play by play of clearing my driveway. I will tell you I looked like an awkward fool. I had snow blowing in my face, snot freezing to my cheeks, all sort of paths I was making just to clear the stupid driveway, and snow was blowing onto the areas I already cleared. I was a freezing hot mess out there! By the time I was finished, I couldn’t feel my thumbs and my hair was soaking wet! But my driveway was cleared and so was the area in front of my mailbox for the mailman.
As I sit here with my cup of coffee and my heated throw (how did I ever live without one), I am thankful for knowing how to do things like this. I may not do it well but I can do it. My girls will know how to use the snow blower. My girls will know how to use the lawnmower. My girls will know how to do many things that are typically the male’s responsibility to do. My son will know how to do laundry. My son will know how to prepare a meal. My son will know how to do things that are typically the female’s responsibility to do. In our home there are no gender specific responsibilities. In the past there were certain gender specific responsibilities because that was what worked best for us. But there were a lot of shared responsibilities too. I will not expect them to do it well but I will expect them to have the knowledge to do it.
I don’t do a lot of things well. As a matter of fact I do a lot of things wrong. I have no choice but to do it. I hope and pray that every day my children see that I try my best. I want them to see the mistakes I make. I want them to see I don’t know what I am doing. I want them to see I am not perfect. I want them to see I still do it anyway. By letting them see my imperfections, they will eventually see that no one is perfect and we learn from our mistakes. We don’t let our mistakes or our lack of knowledge stop us from trying to do anything in life.