One of the things they don’t tell you about being a divorced mama is that you’re gonna get a whole lot more hats. To be fair, I’ve always had quite the collection of headwear, and never shied away from doing tasks some think of as men’s work. Growing up, my parents built our house, and I saw my mom help frame doors, pour concrete, hammer shingles and mud walls. So when I moved on to my own life, it was natural for me to see something that needed doing, and just do it.
I figured I could read a set of instructions as well as any man. I was correct.
Over the years, I’ve done the things my mom did, I’ve installed ceiling fans, changed outlets, reglazed window panes, painted innumerable things, rototilled, changed the oil in my car, used my purse strap for a fan belt in my car, caulked tubs, layed bricks, installed a new toilet, changed doorknobs, repaired a garbage disposal, hung curtain rods, refinished furniture, and found a partridge in a pear tree.
I did many of these things before I got married, and quite often I was too impatient for my ex-husband to get around to things when we were married, so I kept on doing them. One day he came home from work, and I had ripped the carpet out of the bedroom, torn down the tile in the kitchen, removed a soffit and done some drywall. It was easier than bugging him to do it.
Once I was divorced, this kept up, of course- only now I was the mom of three by myself, a full time student, and I was still doing everything a stay-at-home mom did, plus all the “dad” stuff- mowing the lawn, getting the car stuff taken care of, yardwork, hauling the trash and recycle out, shoveling the walk and driveway in the winter, doing scouts with the boys, and so on… and so on… and so on…
You know what? I’m tired.
Tonight, the toilet upstairs wouldn’t flush. It was a minor thing, but the call of “MOMMMM!!!” from the bathroom is never a good thing, and I felt my stomach knot up as I just didn’t want to deal with it. I trudged upstairs, and took the back of the tank apart, and fixed the flapper, which had come unhinged. Yes, that’s an actual technical term. But it’s a term I never want to use, or for that matter, a thing I never want to see, ever again.
I’m ready to not be doing this by myself anymore. I’m so damn tired of everything being on my shoulders, and it was a slipped o-ring on a toilet do-hickey that finally pushed me over the edge. Let me finally take off a few of these hats and just be… perhaps… the baker— and mama. I certainly don’t intend to be the plumber. Ever again.
3 thoughts on “The Butcher, The Baker & The Candlestick Maker”
At least with the toilet, you can show your kids how to rehinge the flapper. They already are learning that their mom can do anything; that can translate into the confidence that they can learn to do it too. Just this summer, my kids have finally hit the point that I can say, “I need this kitchen clean before I come back from class” and when I get home, I find the dishes done, counters wiped, and floor mopped. Slowly, slowly, they are becoming productive and my daily burden is lessening.
I didn’t grow up with parents who were particularly the DIY kind of people and when I married, X was reasonably handy and took care of the things I didn’t know how or want to do. Now that I’m single again, I’m realizing how much I just don’t know how to do. This week I needed to do a minor thing with my car that I thought was pretty straightfoward–until I tried and it wasn’t. Lucky for me I had my dad around to come and help show me the actual way to do it. It was easy but I was embarassed that I am this far in life and never knew how to do it.
I’m with you, all the hats get pretty heavy when there isn’t anyone around to help bear their weight. Hope your load gets lighter.
Oh when I decided to put on the hat of plumber to replace the toilets in our home…I managed to drop my cell phone down the hole in the ground…stage between toilets. Being a plumber is not my calling in life! But at least I tried.
Love your DIY attitude!
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