Hi. I’m Mel. Yes, I can fix that leaky pipe. What? Your gas furnace won’t fire up? Well, let’s look at your flame sensor. Bathroom sink is clogged? I can snake it out. Hold on, let me pull up my pants. My plumber’s crack is showing.
The thing is, I’m not Mel the Mechanic. I’m Melissa the Work From Home Mom and my line of work is being a writer, not a handyman.
Frankly, I’ve got enough jobs around the house. Included in my job description are: keeper of the laundry, emptier of the dishwasher, cleaner of the house, culinary artist of every meal, coordinator of events, counselor of finances, PRODUCER OF HUMAN LIFE. Yeah, that’s a pretty big one. With all that going on, plus finding time to bring income into the house by writing, do I want the role of Master Handyman?
Call me old-fashioned, but, hell no.
When I was little my father was the go-to guy for fixing everything. If you gave him a box of toothpicks and two AA batteries, he could build you a fully functional house in a matter of minutes. He was my mechanic for my car, he built me a desk for my bedroom, he got me an A+ on my 6th grade social studies project of a scale model oil well that he built from scratch.
He was so proud of it.
There was honor in being able to take care of your home to provide for your family. My father found that and was proud of it. It’s what he was raised on. His uncle knew how to fix things, he would show my father, my father would learn and use these skills when he needed to. He worked as a mechanic when he was 19 at the local gas station. Then he became a crane operator and did that for 50 plus years. It’s what made him a man’s man.
You would think it would have made complete sense that I would have married someone who had the ability to do these types of things around the house as well. But, sadly no. I married a man who was kind and sweet, and treated me nice, but hasn’t a clue how to fix a damn thing. I thought it went without saying, a man should be able to fix shit. End of story. I think that in exchange for my husband’s sweet nature I was giving up the trait of his being handy. At the end of the day though, it eats at me.
Resentment is building. In truth, I don’t want to be responsible for fixing things that I believe my husband should fix. It makes me look at him as a little less of a man for not fixing it. I find myself bitching to my friends about it. And surprisingly, I’m not the only one.
Many of my married friends are Heathers turned Harry, Meghans turned Manny, or Jessicas turned Jimmy. And we are sick of it. We are not proud in the same sense that our hard working, self sufficient fathers were. Our stories come with a twinge of cynicism. We have completed a task not because we were able, and it would bring a sense of pride, but because we are forced to by the lack of knowledge or skill of our husbands.
In return, we share our stories with other Harrys, Mannys, and Jimmys, and laugh about our screw ups, or near disasters. We watch “Weird Al” Yankovic’s: Handy music video parody as tears of laughter steam down our face. We joke that next Halloween we should dress up as a bunch of handymen. In a way, it bonds us with our other fellow reluctant handywomen. Maybe we’ll start a women’s group. A secret society of underground handywomen. We will revolt against our incompetent, bungling, unhandy husbands and unite handywomen around the world!
Or, I’ll just save my costume for next Halloween.
Melissa Egan is the “MOM”IALIST: parent, wife, and freelance blogger, harnessing the power of minimalism to reset her life for happiness. Follow her blog and hit the reset button on your life at www.melissaegan.com