I Married a Handy (Wo)Man

Throughout my life I've frequently been told that I'm my harshest critic and need to cut myself some slack now and then. I prefer to think of myself as acutely self-aware. 

In a time when society at-large seems to be obsessed with the idea that everyone should be able to do and have it all, I have a belief that cuts against the grain: it's okay to admit that you suck at something and move on with the rest of your life. 

This realization came to me recently as the mobility of our youngest child necessitated bringing the baby gates out of storage. We decided to actually attach them to the surfaces of our home via screws this time rather than relying on tension. This required a lot of measuring, leveling, adjusting, and, unfortunately, the reading of instructions. 

As someone who struggles with anxiety I've been making an effort to avoid unnecessary stress. It quickly became apparent that dealing with these gates was stressing me out. Instead of making a dozen extra screw holes, teaching my 3-year-old some new words, and throwing the gates down the stairs, I contributed to this project by purchasing, cutting, and staining the boards we used to provide a stable mounting surface along the banisters. 

This reduced role was possible because my wife truly is my better half. She fills in the gaps and, when it comes to home improvement, my gaps are numerous. I simply lack the patience to deal with many household tasks, but those are what she excels at. You won't find her fingerprints on the lawn mower, snowblower, or much of the garden, but you'll find them everywhere else on our piece of suburban paradise. 

My new approach when presented with a potential project is to step back and ask myself, "will the time, effort, and potential aggravation be justified by the likely result?" Just because I can tile a floor doesn't mean it's worth me spending the next decade fixating on the one tile that is only 95 percent level. Just because I can take a couple days off work to stain a fence doesn't mean I wouldn't be happier to pay a pro and spend the time at the zoo with my kids. 

From my point of view, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is a slippery slope to "I spent most of my life aggravated and wallowing in self-loathing." As long as I'm blessed with a handy-woman of a wife and the financial means to hire some things out, I'm going to focus my time and energy doing what I'm good at and/or what makes me happy. 

If writing happens to be your baby gate, floor tiling, or fence staining, let me handle it so you can take your trip to the zoo.