I am surprised there are not more moms like me out there- In our family *I* am the handyperson. Its not because I am better at it , though I am but in part because over the years I have done a lot of it- outdoor woodworking, deck installations, small plumbing projects, painting and most home repairs. I actually LIKE doing it and my husband could really care less.
I started doing household projects out of sheer need- I was a single parent for a while and there was no one else around to fix anything. I was the one you put together IKEA furniture and installed new faucets.
I admit my first project were less than perfect- most of shelves in our first home weren’t level and the bulk of our art work covered up huge gaping wholes in the wall that were made before I discovered such a thing as a stud-finder.
I didn’t really think it was that out of the ordinary until my projects go progressively more complicated over the years. When i decide to try and install hardwood floors last year I would haul the kids around to flooring outlets, Home Depot and other hardware stores- and pretty much within the first paragraph and well meaning clerks would raise an eyebrow or make a comment like ” Is you husband handy” or ” don’t you think you should hire a professional ? ” . I wonder what message this sends to my daughter?
A few years ago, a friend was over at my home. I had recently installed a programmable thermostat while my husband was away on business and he was quite impressed. That morning our dishwasher broke and he asked me if I could fix it- he was quite proud that I had done the thermostat- and I said I though it might be out of my league. I relayed the story to my girlfriend- a woman who is unschooling mom and a person who takes great pains to be politically correct. In front of all of our kids she laughed- mockingly- and said ” why doesn’t T. ( husband) just put on a skirt and prance around the house.” I was shocked on many levels for many reasons and it REALLY drove home how we aren’t ;t used to a the idea that a woman could be handy- that it is a novelty or something to be mocked. Probably the same reaction you would get in the 1950’s at a dinner party if the husband announced he had made the pot roast.
Whe it comes to any kind of household project- knowledge is power. And thank goodness for the Internet! Books leave me a bit confused and pretty much anything i have learned is from the web. There are several online communities where you can share information, such as DoitYourself.com . I am sure if I visited the site and bought the doityourself.com DVD the family living in our old house wouldn’t be sitting on their couch and wondering why all the built in bookshelves are crooked :-) .
My best friend is also a handymom. We have both discussed it and agree that we are giving a positive message to our daughters- empowering them with skills but more importantly letting them know that *THEY* can do it and having a uterus does not mean you are allergic to a brad nailer!