Just mow the lawn.

I read an article this morning while on my third cup of coffee. I worked yesterday afternoon, got home at midnight and couldn’t sleep. So feel as though I was on the wines last night. My reaction to this article could be merely because I am tired and cranky.

As I started reading it, my initial thought was “good on you!”, the longer the article went the more I thought of for fuck sake woman. The article was about a woman that mow’s her own lawn.

I hope you understand that I am not mowing the lawn because someone told me to. I am not mowing because it’s my job. I mow because I am quietly making a statement.”

If you own a house, with a lawn, then it is your responsibility to keep your little piece of earth tidy and well maintained. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.

“Mowing the lawn is, in a way, my silent protest against patriarchy—which is still alive and well no matter how many people tell you that women and men have equal rights. We are still fighting an uphill battle.”

Can everyday tasks not just be that and not a protest? I have chopped wood, I have changed a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, on the side of a dirt road in 40 degree heat with my 30 week pregnant sister, I have fixed a broken pipe in the laundry, and I have mowed the lawn, and pitched a tent. I watched my mother, a single mother, do lots of “men’s work”. Mow the lawn, move furniture. I have talked to my sister on the phone while she was driving a bull dozer, she musters cattle, fights bush fires or builds farm fences.

“I hope the other younger girls in our neighborhood see me mowing the lawn and remember the image of a strong woman, a strong working mother, who has the power to decide which way the stripes go. I hope they see a strong woman sweating, not wearing any make-up, enjoying the satisfaction of hard work. I hope they all see me—a woman doing “men’s work” without asking for permission.”

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My hubby loves to cook dinner while I sit on the bench with a wine.

 

None of the above was done for recognition, or to show off to the neighborhood children and we certainly don’t ask for permission. All of the above jobs are just that. Everyday jobs that need to be done as part of life. When I am cold I chop wood, flat tyre change it, long grass mow it, broken pipe fix it. Our father didn’t let any of his girls apply for a drivers license before we knew how to; check the oil and water in the car, change tyres, replace wiper blades and get fuel. As young girls, we unloaded trucks full of hay, we were expected to help out in the yard, there was no “men’s work”. I say to my two all the time that if you live in this home you contribute, doesn’t matter the task just do it, and we all help. My boys wash the dishes every night, they help in the kitchen, and they know how to iron a shirt and make their bed properly. They also carry the grocery bags for me, pick flowers and arrange them in a vase. They know how to make a cup of tea as well as they know how to change the chain on a push bike.

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My two boys pick me flowers and arrange them in a vase.

Post 80

I stood in Woolies flicking through a home style magazine and the focus for the current edition of the glossy mag was hallways. My hallway is its own living, breathing beauty. The breeze in summer flows through the front door, and down the hall, streams into the living room at the end cooling the house.  The cold winds in winter bluster down the hallway and up through the tiny gaps in the floor, meaning my house is like a big wooden freezer. The boards on the floor moan and creak in places. Places that my boys haven’t learnt not to tread on when they are leaving their rooms and are trying to sneak along the hallway passed my bedroom – usually at 5.00am to play on the Play station. The main artery of my home has been used for a cricket pitch – this activity was not consented by me, it has been used for a photo shoot, when my boys were tiny tots, they raced matchbox cars down the hall, at times they have tried to ride scooters and skateboards down the wooden floor. The house is not level, making it a fun game to roll marbles down floorboards.  My husband and I spent a whole week painting the thirteen foot VJ walls, every single board. There’s also decorative features above the doors, two arch ways and a centre arch of decorative painted columns and moulding, picture rails that give character and are a standard feature of the Queenslander home. I haven’t in the time we have been in the house been able to decide on the perfect light fittings to light up our dark hallway. In saying that though, I have threatened several times to tape up the light switch as every single time boy one walks into the hallway he turns on the lights – every single time, day or night, it drives me mental. On several occasions I have been at our gate about to leave for the day, and sent boy 1 back to turn off the lights that I can see shining through the glass that surrounds the front door and swinging window above the door.  I also want two hall runners to line the floor, the ones that I want to sink my feet into are wool and silk Persian rugs, I need two of them. No surprise then that my floor is still bare.