Becoming Quite the Handy’mam

Washer machineI was so happy to be receiving my “free” washer and dryer from my daughter, who could not use them in her apartment – God does bless!  That meant I didn’t have to pack up my car and head to the Laundromat with my son anymore.  It also meant I would save money – always a plus.

One of my co-workers with his wife dropped off the washer and dryer.  They were in a hurry to get to the furniture store – it was closing soon.  He and another gentleman – one of my neighbors – got the washer and dryer onto my porch, and then he and I carried them into the house.  We got to the kitchen and placed them in a closet behind the double doors, but wait, the washer was only half-way in and facing sideways.

He tried to turn it around, but to no avail.

“I really have to go,” he said, while looking at his watch.  He continued, “All you have to do is unhinge the doors and you’ll be able to turn the washer around and push it in all the way.”

“How do you unhinge the closet,” I asked.

He responded, “I don’t really know how to do yours.” 

He wasn’t rude, but he was a little short… in a hurry, short.

I responded, “Okay, I’ll figure it out.” 

He said, “Okay, I’ll see you later,” and he left.

I stood there perplexed and downhearted looking at the obstructive machinery.  I wanted to blame him for my situation.  How dare he drop it off and not help me install it all the way.  I’m a single-mom and he has no compassion, I thought.  Realistically, it wasn’t his fault.  I was feeling sorry for myself.

I had no other choice; I had to man-up!  I took a deep breath, and with tears in my eyes, I figured out how to unhinge the door.  Okay, I thought.  Exhaling, “Alright, I can do this.”

I struggled and struggled with all my might, and finally, I turned the washer around and pushed it back. “I did it, I did it!”  I’m on a roll.  I then figured out how to attach the hose.  Oh, color coded, I thought, cold here; hot there.

I was already to plug it in and hear the wonderful sound of water running and swishing.  I fished for the plug and realized it was stuck under the washer.  I pushed the machine right over it!  My optimism vanished.  I pulled the washer forward a little – just enough to get the plug out from under.  When I looked at the end of the plug, the prongs were bent all the way down.

I lost it!  I began crying hysterically.  Good thing my son was spending the weekend with his older sister.  I wouldn’t want him to see me cry like a baby.  I called my daughter and vented to her, “I finally got the washer in place and all hooked up, but I crushed the prongs on the end of the plug.  I CAN’T plug it in.  I’m so tired of doing this…I have to do everything by myself.  I have no help.  I can’t do it anymore.”

“Ma, calm down,” she said.  “You can do it.  Just walk away from it for a while.  It will be fine.  Stop crying.” 

In many cases, your children will become the voice of reason or help you maintain a sense of calmness.

I did just that!  I calmed down and relaxed.  I thought, I’ll tackle it tomorrow.

I went to bed, got a good night sleep, and woke up with a different attitude.  As soon as I got up – even before my coffee – I walked to the washer.  I looked at the bent prongs, grabbed a pair of scissors, slid one blade under the prong and lifted…again…again.   It worked!  Finally, with a little persistence, they were both straightened.  Now the moment of truth – I plugged in the washer and turned it on.  Great!  It ran beautifully.

Out of frustration came the joy of accomplishment.  I did it for me and my son.  That day, I was so ambitious that I sanded and painted the porch rails, which was so desperately needed.

I have painted all the rooms in my house.  I work on my car, clip my hedges and accomplish an abundance of other chores that may typically be done by ‘the man of the house’.

I am sharing this story because as single moms, there are things we must learn to do.  I urge you not to be discouraged.  I encourage you to not give up, and certainly don’t feel sorry for yourself.  You can definitely do all things because you are not alone in doing them.  You do have God on your side.

And, when your children are old enough, they can help with chores.  They will learn responsibility and gain a sense of accomplishment.  It can be rewarding for both you and them.
Stay positive… you can do it!

Written by Alice Monterio

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