Single Life

Who Run The World? Girls! (And Sometimes Their Dads)

May 28, 2013


One of the scariest things for me when making the decision to go it alone was the fear that I simply would not be able to do it. When you live with the same person for 9 years you fall into your roles, your routines, and I was petrified I wouldn’t be able to pick up the slack of the missing husband when I was living alone.

It was a massive surprise (and confidence boost) to discover that, actually, it’s not all that hard. Yes there are jobs I have very reluctantly taken on but they aren’t as tough as I thought they were. And actually, living alone is sometimes easier as there is one less person to clean up after and cook for.

(Though nothing quite makes up for those evenings when the kids have driven you mad all day and you would give your right arm for some grown-up company to talk grown-up things with. Or when you just want a big manly cuddle)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Things I Thought I Would Never Be Able To Do On My Own But Actually Can:

1. Mowing the lawn
I think this is our husbands’ best kept secret and I am going to BLOW IT. Listen up: mowing the lawn is just like hoovering but on a slightly bigger scale. You are welcome. (disclaimer: it may take you a while to work out how to switch the bloody thing on but once you’ve done that you’re golden)

2. Taking the bins out
The bins don’t smell as much as you might anticipate. And doing the recycling will make you feel like you’ve done a really really good thing for the world.

3. DIY
So I’m not particularly skilled or precise at hammering nails into the wall at the best of times which is why I am really good at calling my dad and asking him to do it. This weekend he fixed my garage door. Next weekend I will be asking him to hang my bedroom mirror. No shame.

4. BBQs
I had a real hankering for a BBQ yesterday but had never ever lit one or cooked food on one. No problemo, I dusted the gas off the cannister, connected it to the BBQ (this was the hardest part and may or may not have took 10 minutes before I found the instructions) and created the fire! My burgers fell apart and my chicken was burnt (Elfie: “I not like this mummy. Why is it black?”) but I bloody did it. And I will do it again – and probably quite soon because white rolls were 12 for £1 in Tescos so we have 9 left to eat.

5. Washing the car/putting petrol in the car/anything to do with the car
Firstly, car wash. If your kids will stand it, that is. Elfie doesn’t like it and to be honest it must be quite terrifying to an unassuming two and a half year old. So we use the slightly more expensive valet service at the gym and as a bonus they also clean the inside: job done. Secondly, it turns out the thing I hate most about putting petrol in the car is how expensive it is. So you’ve just got to suck that one up. Thirdly, when in doubt ask your dad/uncle/brother/knowledgeable male friend. (Dad, if you’re reading this, one of my wheels is making a funny noise. Help?).

Who run the world…? Girls. And sometimes their Dads.

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  • Reply Janet May 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

    This made me laugh. I’m glad you are getting on well with the jobs you didn’t before need to do. Apart from the DIY. But since you’re renting you can say its better for your deposit if you don’t try to give that a go! I think the only one I leave to my husband is the BBQ, but that’s because he likes to feel manly playing with fire. I asked him to mow the lawn this weekend, as my hayfever kicked in. He took 20 mins to do two lengths of our very small lawn, then stood in one of my flower pots, smashed it, and fell on his arse. I finished mowing the lawn.

    • Reply alice May 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      HAHAH, ohhh dear. If you want a job done properly, right?! x

  • Reply littleeandbean May 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Brilliant! This made me giggle. I’m so loving your positivity, in fact I feel quite inspired. I may even take out the bins next week ;) xx

  • Reply gemma May 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    This just made me realise how easy my husband has it…I do most of these things already!!


  • Reply Dawnie May 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I had the exact same fear when A’s Dad started working away from home. But if anything, I find having our own little routine EASIER! X

  • Reply MrsB @ Mind over Matter May 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Women ARE very capable indeed :) However, I am very much relying on both my husband AND my live-in mother… Both for the domestic stuff and for emotional support. I would definitely not cope as well as you do if I had to fly solo all of a sudden :|

    • Reply alice May 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      I reckon you would… if you have the mental strength to run a marathon you have the mental strength to do ANYTHING is my belief!

  • Reply Phoebe May 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I must be doing something wrong…I’m in a relationship and I’m equally talented at DIY as my other half (i.e., not very), mow the lawn sometimes and even at 3 months pregnant I’m still the one who drags the wheelie bins out because he always forgets. I can’t say I’ve ever relied on anyone to put fuel in my car or to take it to the valet. Are there really any modern women out there who would even think twice about these things?! If anything I’d miss someone to do my ironing for me as that is something my man does. Your post was an interesting read (I hope that doesn’t sound bitchy or snide because it’s not meant to) because my experiences and that of my close friends suggests that things have moved on a lot from the traditional scenario where the woman is clueless about anything practical and the man is clueless about anything domestic. I think us women are far more naturally resourceful and independent than we are given credit for! It’s good that you’re adjusting well and happily to your new circumstances and I wish you the best of luck with your next bbq! x

    • Reply alice May 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      This is really interesting feedback, and this has re-enforced the idea that there were definitely gender roles in my marriage. Maybe that’s why it didn’t work in the end? I think part of the reason we both took on these roles so emphatically was because that’s the way we both grew up… Our mothers were both traditional stay-at-home parents and our dads both went out to work (and did the mowing, bbqing, DIY…!). As soon as I stopped work to have the first baby I fell into the role of a stay-at-home mum and things stayed that way. I feel happier and more empowered now that I can take on this new role, and I hope this will make me a better role model for my kids! x

  • Reply PhotoPuddle May 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Have you been up in the loft yet? That’s a man job in this house!!

    • Reply alice May 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      After my mum fell out of her loft there is NO WAY I’m getting in mine! I have battled the cobwebs in the shed though… ugh. x

  • Reply HonestMum May 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    So true…and inspiring. My job is very much in a male dominated environment (only 7 percent of directors are women) and we can do it all my friend and if not as good as the boys, better. For the times that get tough I agree Dads, Mums and anyone vagina/less can help when the going gets tough. Well done you x

  • Reply Emma Cantrell May 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    The roles are completely reversed in my house – husband does majority of cleaning, cooking, ironing etc etc. I do car, DIY, building flat pack, managing money etc!

    But, like you say – its easy to fall into roles, whether traditional or not. Not sure I’d be able to manage as well as you seem to be :-)

  • Reply HonestMum May 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Also that picture of you and your girl is insanely gorgeous!

  • Reply Working Berlin Mum May 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Being a single parent can actually be very empowering. I manage everything on my own and always have done. It’s actually only when I am in a relationship that I start to lose some of that strength, when someone is there to take some of the load. It’s odd but that seems to be what happens after going it along for a long time. Having some evening company would be nice though!

  • Reply Alison, Not another mummy blog May 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Love this, Alice!
    I would have another one to add: going up in the loft. Never been in one, can’t work out how I’d get up there or how I’d get back down. But I would bloody well do it, if I had to.

  • Reply mascara & mud May 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    AWESOME!! of the highest level!! high five’s all around! x

  • Reply Margarita May 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    This put a smile on my face – ALL the jobs you mention are things I do on a regular basis! Lol! My hubs is always working, I like mowing the lawn and doing the BBQ, I hate taking the bins out. I can hammer a nail but have the hardest time trying to use a power drill! I’m glad that you found confidence in your newfound abilities – you can do it!

  • Reply Holly May 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I anyone has any tips on how I can get my OH to put the bins out they would be most appreciated!

    I lived on my own from age 21 when I moved out of my parents house, right up until last year age 27 when my OH moved in with me. I’ve honestly never even considered that any jobs around the house are considered “man jobs” any more. I’ve always done the DIY, I’m the queen of flat pack, I fix my own car (within reason), and I love playing with fire so even when I lived with my parents I did the BBQ! I will sometimes phone my Dad for advice, but equally I can just use google if I’m not sure how to do something.

    Maybe it is something to do with how we’re brought up? My Mum and Dad have always been equal in all respects in my eyes, jointly owning an running the business, and around the house. And it was impressed upon me from a young age that I can do whatever the hell I want, or need, to do.

  • Reply Bex @ the mummy adventure May 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    The bloke went away for the weekend and I realised that he cellar isn’t the spider pit I imagined it too although I would have called my dad if I had found one of the eight legged terrors! Love your attitude x

  • Reply Camilla Hill May 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    funny post as ever – though I was surprised to hear some of the things you relied on hubby to do. Filling the car with petrol?? Isn’t that the cliche of what happens to 1950s housewives who divorced / were widowed? Delighted to hear you’re breaking out of those trad roles and responsbilities. there is nothing you can’t achieve, nothing! this is just the start and let your confidence grow and blossom. what doesnt kill you only makes you stronger x

  • Reply Hannah Ruth May 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    When my husband’s away and I have to do the ‘man jobs’, what strikes me most is that there really aren’t that many of them! ;) I’m glad to hear it’s going well x

  • Reply caroline May 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Yay! Well done. I can do all those things but I don’t want to. And you ain’t catching me going in an attic or cleaning the gooey stuff out of the sink, either. I mean, men have to be useful for something, don’t they? (JUST MY JOKE!)

    Glad things are going well. x

  • Reply Xandi | The Mummy Scripts May 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    This made me laugh! So funny how these things are thought of as ‘manly’ jobs, and they take them so seriously. They really would have you believe that mowing the lawn requires a degree (obviously a ploy to avoid other jobs) :-)

  • Reply Jill May 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    This made me smile, it’s so funny and so true! x

  • Reply mamacymraeg May 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    We have pink jobs (mine) and blue jobs (his) in our house, and you’d never believe it, but I’m still a feminist. Anyway, I think your post was more about how you’re managing to do it ALL.
    I don’t know you Alice, but I’m extremely proud of how your coping. I’m sure all your family are, and one day so will Elfie and Hux.
    Chin up, and remember that life is beautiful x

  • Reply Mum2BabyInsomniac June 3, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Cars and bins are the mans jobs is this house too but let’s face it, it’s not that hard and I could totally do it myself ;) x

  • Reply June 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Only the other morning as I was mowing the lawn I thought to myself “This used to be HIS job” and then mentally ran down the list of things I now have to deal with on my own – including all things car. Of course we are capable of doing the man jobs – but now I do ALL the jobs i do wonder if one day I can share out the load again…

  • Reply Laura Godfrey (@_g3) June 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    This post is my life! There is nothing I cannot half-arsedly attempt, mostly piss-up, and then ignore for a bit. When you have to tackle a huge-great-silly spider while half screeching, half crying, you know you are an independent woman. Hurrah!

  • Reply Lauranne November 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I had to put a picture of my lawn mower on Facebook and ask my friends before I could figure out how it worked!

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