Yesterday you passed by my home while I was out mowing my lawn. As it was over 95 degrees, I was sweating in my dorky overalls leftover from the Gap heyday of the late 90s and I am sure I wasn’t looking my most fetching. That wasn’t really my goal. My goal was, quite simply, to mow my lawn on my own.
Silly, I know. Who cares if I can do something any 10 year old kid can do? Well, I do. You see, until last April, I had never mowed a lawn. Never tried to start a mower, never heard the sound of a blade running into pine cones (it kind of reminds me of the wood chipper in Fargo), never had my whole face itch from being out in the flying grass and weeds. A friend taught me how to do it and even let me use his mower. I felt pretty proud of myself that first time, even though I had help.
This go around, I wanted to do more of it on my own. So I went out last night to see what I could do with no help. I was feeling proud of myself, to be honest, because I started it on my own and was navigating the ridiculously tall weeds all the May rain brought without killing the motor. With my son following behind me with his Mater bubble mower, I felt strong and useful.
Thankfully my sweet little boy was in the house by the time you came by. A few minutes before you and your friend tramped through my yard like it was your own, ignoring that it was clearly somebody’s home, a guy and his friends pulled up at the curb to tell me how hot I looked and make piss-poor puns about “hoeing.” Needless to say, I was not feeling as great when decided to use my yard as a short cut. But it was what you said that made me mad, much madder than I was at the dumb guys with their dumb innuendos.
You wanted to know why my husband wasn’t mowing the lawn for me. Now, I will give you a break since you are at the most fifteen, but there is something you need to know before you go a step further in life.
Waiting for or expecting a man to take care of you is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
This is not just coming from a place of divorce, which is why I am now the mower of my own lawn. It is coming from a place of reality. People die, people get sick, people never fall in love, people fall out of love, people realize they can be happy on their own. There are so many possibilities in life, assuming that you will marry a man who will take care of anything you don’t want to is nothing short of a failure of imagination.
I’m sad for you that at this stage in your life you have already settled into such limited perception. You probably didn’t even realize how your comment spat in the face of women who struggle every day in a male dominated world. You probably just thought it was funny to mock someone who was clearly working hard and physically showed it. That makes me sad for you too.
If you do get married one day or even end up in a long term relationship, to whomever, you should build your life on your own rules, not the defined rules of a society that itself doesn’t truly uphold them. If you want to mow the lawn, mow the lawn. It’s actually sort of therapeutic and rewarding. But don’t do or not do something because that is what your gender stereotype tells you.
Kill your own spiders, do your own laundry, change your own tires, and make your own dinner. Even if you don’t do those things well at first, you will eventually. Then if you do chose to be with somebody, you can work together to make your lives run the way you want.
I am glad my 8 year old daughter did not hear you say what you did because she was excited to see me start the lawn mower and wanted to know when she could start helping too. My son prefers vacuuming as it turns out, which is good news for me since I would rather mow.