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."
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?"
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.
Try new things.
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.