For 6 years my ex-spouse never allowed me to mow the lawn or shovel the sidewalk; two examples among many on his list of taboo. I wasn’t trying to compete. I thought it was good exercise and I have always loved the smell of freshly cut grass, being productive, getting outside. Besides, he worked with other grown-ups all day and I needed time to escape, unwind & rewind, be alone in my own head, away from my beloved children, doing something that offered instantaneous gratification because my kids still weren’t thanking me for putting them on that last timeout.

But my ex didn’t seem to agree. I never addressed this issue beyond side door sarcasm, but I guess he felt it was inappropriate to allow his wife do such jobs. What would the neighbors think? Apparently he had selective amnesia about the fact that his wife was raised by a village of feminists.

Now that I’m a single mama I’ve got more than my share of “manly” jobs to keep me satisfied, let me tell ya. From hard to reach light bulbs to dysfunctional smoke alarms to jumping dead car batteries and painting the bathroom. There’s just so much to keep me feeling valid. And there’s a YouTube video to walk me through any and all of it, step-by-step, too. Don’t believe me? Check Out This Badass Single Mama of Four!

Alas I’ve rolled up my sleeves and I’m ready to get ‘er done. I say, DIYour-DAMN-Self, single ladies. Men don’t possess any special or innate skills that make them more capable than you. For real! That’s the biggest hoax ever manufactured. You truly don’t need a man. Want one? Fine. That’s something different. Need one? Nope. Skip the codependent b.s. Bust out the step stool. Grab a tape measure,  Duck Tape (cure-all), and hammer. You totally got this!

Need a dose of real life to believe me? You betcha.

Take, for example, Uzi, a nice guy who I found tossing a football around with his 10 year old daughter. In a moment of uncertainty and self-doubt, I turned to him, a complete stranger, for help. That’s cool because that’s not really the issue. We should all ask for help as needed. The point is he seemed solid because, well, he was tossing a football around with his daughter. Being the independent woman I am, he appeared to be a gender bender and thus an acceptable person to ask for help in this department and to save face as I deferred to a man,  a stranger,  for help. Imagine, for example, asking George of the Jungle for help in this situation. Yeah. Eww. Uzi was a good choice.

So when my car battery died outside Uzi’s lovely million-plus-dollar-home on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, I sought confidence where I was lacking from him, yes, a complete stranger instead of looking to myself, the person I knew so well, trusted and had depended on for so many years. I also neglected the resources I had in tow; indeed, I was with two other smart, competent mommy friends. And, wouldn’t ya know, when I asked Uzi if he could help me, he said, “I may look like I know what I’m doing [insert: because he’s a man], but, believe me, I don’t.” Had I known he was the resident of the beautiful abode my car died in front of when I asked him I might have gathered this much, but I reverted to deeply rooted gender stereotypes for confidence. Me! Of all people. So I had no choice but to utilize my own skills and resources. Being the compassionate type, I asked Uzi if he could provide moral support and he obliged. In the end, YouTube saved me. Though  I simultaneously feared that I might watch my children, who were already buckled into their carseats, all hot and bothered, be blown to smitherines if I didn’t get this right, I proceeded with focus and determination. Looking back it’s possible that I remember myself like a stunt double in an high-risk action scene defusing a bomb instead  but who’s keeping track.

According to my mom, “women often defer to men, so men learn to do it themselves, to be handy, Mr. Fix Its, instead of women. Not because women can’t. Men just open the hood and start to ding around in there. Sometimes they figure it out. Maybe they learn something.” My mom, by the way, was raised by an engineer. She watched her dad pull engines apart and put them back together again, just for shits and giggles, and build go-carts in his spare time on the weekends. In the process of attending to her father’s hobbies, my mom learned a thing or two herself.

So I’m tired of feeling helpless and sorry for myself, undermining my abilities, and waiting on somebody to do it for me. I’m going to do it my damn self and you should too! That is unless it’s electrical. Call a professional for that stuff. You just take five and relax when is something of that nature. But all those other things, believe me, you can Do It Your Damn Self!

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