Lawnmower Empowerment {Weekly Challenge} | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

May 29, 2012

Lawnmower Empowerment {Weekly Challenge}

Confession: Up until last month, I had no idea how to mow the lawn.

Ok. Now let me back up.  I'm not completely inept.  Growing up, I mowed our lawn from time to time. My parents had more than a half acre lot, which was kept pristine with a riding mower.  I loved using the riding mower. Because before I had a driving permit, it was the closest I could get to driving.  And maybe once in a while I would pretend I was cruising around town instead of up and down my yard.

Starting in middle school, I learned the basics of the riding mower: how to let the clutch in and out, always keep the speed on the picture of the "tortoise" instead of "rabbit" (which I was rudely reminded one day when I attempted to see what would happen if I started the mower in "rabbit." I'm not saying it was a complete catastrophe, but a few small bushes may or may not have sacrificed their lives for the lesson), and how to keep the lines straight.

When I got married to Hubby, we rented for a while, so lawn care was not necessary.  Once we moved into our home, we were granted my father-in-law's old blue push mower, and Hubby took on landscaping duties.  No, he didn't take on the lawn care because he was the boy. Rather, the past two summers I was either pregnant or caring for an infant and couldn't help.

Now that I am no longer pregnant and my girls are older, I wanted to share in the lawn care duties. I was intimidated, though, because I'd never in my life used a push mower. I know, I know. A riding mower is more complicated. But having never handled a push mower, I wasn't sure how to get started, so I put off helping.

One day about a month ago, the grass was getting high and I was sure our neighbors were wishing bad thoughts on us.  Hubby was tired from other errands we had run earlier in the day, so I made the decision that I'd mow the lawn myself.

Me: "Hey hon. I'm going to mow the lawn."

Hubby: Silence.

Me: "I'm just not sure how to use the lawn mower, so can you just give me a quick lesson?"

Hubby: "I promise I'll mow it tomorrow, don't worry."

Me: "No, really. I need to learn sometime. It's silly that I don't know how to mow the lawn."

Hubby: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Yep."

So Hubby took the mower out of the shed and gave me a quick run down of the machine: hold down the clutch, pull the string with the handle attached until the motor starts, and go.  Ok. I could handle that.  It took a few minutes to get used to the feel of how it moved, but 45 minutes later, the front and back yards were nicely trimmed.

Can I tell you something?

I was so empowered that I learned how to mow the lawn.

I know it sounds silly.  But mowing the lawn was this stupid thing that I had no idea how to do.  And I wanted to conquer it. So I did.  It's another thing I can add to my repertoire, another thing that I won't let hold me back.  I feel like I can be an active participant in our outdoor lawn maintenance.

I want my girls to know that women are capable of doing more than just cooking and cleaning (both worthwhile and valuable things, believe me).  I want my girls to see me doing a wide variety of endeavors, and in turn feel empowered to try new and exciting things themselves.  I want my girls to know that all women are Modern Day Donna Reeds. We don't just cook and clean and tend to children. We work outside the home. We are homemakers. We fix cars. We mow lawns. We run marathons. We are single. We are married. We are young. We are old.

We are capable

And if we put our minds to it, we can do anything.

That's what I want my girls to know.

And even more so?

That's what I want ME to know. I don't want to let a lack of knowledge or insecurity hold me back.  Today, it was learning how to mow the lawn. Tomorrow, it will be something new. But I will continue learning and continue growing.

Be empowered.

Try new things.

Be changed.

Now I have a challenge for YOU

What is one thing you've never done before? A skill you've always wanted to master but were too intimidated to try?  I challenge you to try something new thing week.  Maybe it's a new recipe, maybe it's learning how to change the oil in your car, maybe it's applying for a new job, maybe it's tap dancing. Whatever it is, DO IT.  And report back by leaving a comment about your experience.

I can't wait to hear how you challenge yourselves!

I hope you are encouraged and empowered this week, my fellow Modern Day Donna Reeds.


  1. Ya wanna come mow my lawn next? I felt that same feeling of empowerment when I got the snowblower running two years ago. Then I cried my eyes out when I screwed up blowing 18 inches of snow so badly that it took Bill HOURS to do a job that should have taken 45 minutes. As soon as we have a mower that is not being held together by the sheer grace of God I will start mowing the lawn.

    Still thinking of something else to conquer in the meantime.

  2. What fun! I'd love to take up an empowerment challenge. My big fear here in the Keys are animals...particularly ones that could eat me...sharks, gators, crocs, snakes, etc. I'd be empowered to swim in open water, but I am not sure that is going to happen any time soon...

  3. I mowed the lawn myself twice last week while my hubs was out of the country. And, I don't think I'll do it again! Ugh! Pushing that thing around was harder than pushing a double stroller with a buggy board attached around Disney World. No self-propelled action and I nearly died afterwards from heat exhaustion. No more!

  4. I admit,the one thing I said to my husband when he wanted to buy a corner house was(you buy it, you mow it!)I grew up in a house that was on a corner, not to mention we lived on a lakes so our lawns had enough water to constantly grow no matter how little rain we'd had, so I grew up if not doing the mowing, doing the raking up (ugh!) As well as being responsible for gardens, gardens and more gardens. While I am all for knowing how to do new things, mowing a lawn is one thing I will cede to my husband. In fact, gardening in general is one thing I am perfectly happy to cede to others. It requires taking too many allergy pills and carrying a box of kleenex in my pockets. My lawn is nowhere near as huge as ours was growing up, but I want absolutely NOTHING to do with it. I don't want to be responsible for lime, fertilizers, seeding, watering, mowing, raking etc. In fact, given a choice, I'd live at the beach, no lawns! I'd rather earn the cash to pay for the shore house than mow!

  5. Yesterday. Me. Lylah. Stroller. Stuffed Bunny. Gloves. Saw. Unruly bushes. 45 minutes.

    BOOM. Empowerment. :)

  6. Way to go! I like using the lawnmower as my exercise. Monday turned out to be quite the challenge doing it in the heat, but I love that my daughter sees me push the mower and watch her mommy do good, hard work.

  7. By the time I was old enough to mow, the 'rents had hired people on tractors to do the job so I was 28-29 before I took a stab at it here with a gas fueled push mower. It was bitchin. I hated yard work for years...but that year, 2007, I spanked my yard into gear. Since then, it has looked incredible with perennials, etc. I don't mind some upkeep but after that mower died we hired local guys and the recent guy does a super job. I will go out with hedge clippers and a saw sometimes and wack a bush. I think because we were so DIY when we moved in I conquered those insecurities then. Now...I really want NO part in doing it myself. I have no time. I would say my one challenge a week is now focused on my biz. This week its securing small biz insurance. Before the end of the year, it will include breaking free of the PC world for Mac and iPhone, ditching the husbands accountant for my own...its all "break free" stuff if that makes sense. I'm the one who has to make these decisions now...for me, for the biz. Frankly, its awesome.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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