A four step plan for becoming the “man of the house” after divorce – it’s more basic than you think!
Becoming the man of the house after divorce is no easy feat. (And before I go on, please know that this is all a bit tongue in cheek. I realize you may be a woman divorcing a woman, or a woman who doesn’t ever want to be “manly”. I’m simply addressing the challenge of taking on what may have been your partner’s roles/duties in your marriage from my perspective and experience). Now, I’ve never felt quite like a damsel in distress HOWEVER as soon as I was left to my own devices, my mind went to a dark panicky place of how on earth can I handle all of this stuff by myself.
The first occurrence of panic happened when I was living on my own (and by on my own, I mean with 3 children) and I found lots of water coming out of my heating system. I had no idea of what this meant – I still don’t – but what I did know is that I didn’t know how to fix it. And worse, I didn’t know who to call. I felt completely overwhelmed at my lack of knowledge, preparedness, or handyman-ness. I’m not sure why, because I’m pretty sure 99% of husbands just call someone else to fix stuff anyways, right? Nonetheless, I was upset, and discouraged that I wouldn’t be able to do this whole single woman thing……but then I found someone to come fix it. And you know what? They fixed it. And I saved that person’s number in my cell phone. And next time something happened guess what I did? You got it. Called them right away (skipping the panicked state) and they came and fixed it. And I breathed a sigh of relief because I realized I do not need to know how to fix heating systems. Ever. I just need to know who does know how to fix them.
As time passed, I realized I am not a divorced damsel in distress, nor am I the man of the house after divorce. What I AM is a resourceful woman who knows my limitations.
Another example for you is my lack of brute strength. One time I couldn’t open a jar of pickles – now I have like 5 different amazing jar openers on hand. Also, every year my kids and I go get a Christmas tree, and since I know I’m carrying it in the house solo, we are not looking at 8 ft tall trees – let’s look at these spectacular 5 footers.
I recently had an infestation of bees in my house. I called an exterminator and they told me they can’t help me if they don’t see a nest. So guess who had to kill the bees so the kids could sleep peacefully at night? Yours truly. When push comes to shove, you’ll step up do the stuff you may have previously relinquished to your spouse because someone has to get it done.
And here’s another perspective – have some fun with the stuff you “have” to do! I was changing some doorknobs and my son wanted to try using the drill so I showed him how. My drilling skills are very questionable, but he doesn’t know that. He just sees his mom using a tool and that’s pretty cool. And having him impressed with my “skills” was really nice!
Finally, your new best friend can be YouTube. There’s no shame in looking up anything and everything there. It has endless how-to’s with your name on it. Pretty soon, you’ll have all sorts of new notches in your toolbelt. Maybe figuratively…..or who knows, maybe literally and you’ll be the most amazing “Man of the house” we’ve ever seen!
All that said, let’s review the Anti-Damsel-In-Distress/Becoming Man of The House After Divorce Plan:
1) Recognize you do not need to know how to do the hard at-home work/repairs. Find an expert. Save their numbers. Call them when you need them.
2) Know your limitations. If you cannot physically do something, that’s okay. Find a tool that can assist. Or ask a friendly neighbor/relative for some assistance.
3) Step up when you have to. There’s going to be things you need to do that you don’t want to do. Do them anyway. Because you can.
4) Learn what you can so you feel more confident. Watch videos, listen to the tutorial, read that manual. You’ve got this!!!
If you enjoyed this article, check out this one Creating a New Normal.
You can make becoming the man of the house after divorce whatever you want it to be. You can decide you have zero interest in any of it and outsource it. You can decide you want to take it all on yourself and only call in reinforcements when it represents danger. You can start small and acquire knowledge at your own pace. And you know what? Taking charge in whatever way you do WILL make you the “man of the house”!