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Lawnmower Girl

I cut the grass this weekend. And I was thinking while I did it about how I had never cut the grass before, but I realize that isn't true. I've used a push mower and I once cut the grass at our old house with a weed wacker. It was a small yard, and yes, it looked like hell when I was done. But today was my first time ever using an actual lawn mower. Because I'm a giiiiiiirrrrrllllll.

I don't go in for typical gender roles. Sure, I do most of the laundry and the cooking and the cleaning, but I also replace light fixtures and rewire switches and shovel the driveway (occasionally while eight months pregnant) and buy new tires and whatever else. But there are two things that are Man Jobs - plumbing, and cutting the grass. Leaky toilet? Not my problem. Need to replace a faucet? I'll happily point you toward the monkey wrench. Grass seventeen inches long? Hey, isn't this why I got married?

But Chris has been working stupid hours lately and the children were starting to wonder about the identity of this strange man who occasionally showed up just in time to kiss them goodnight, so I told him that I would cut the grass while he spent some time with the kids. And you know? Our yard is stupid big. And the front is stupid hilly. And hauling the lawn mower around the stupid big, stupid hilly yard is hard because I am a giiiiirrrrrlllll. And I can definitely see how it would suck when it is 95 degrees and 80 percent humidity and swarming with mosquitoes - that is definitely not a job for a giiiiiiirrrrrrllllll.

But there is also a certain poetry in cutting the grass. (Literally, I wrote one. Don't worry, I won't make you read it.) I didn't really mind spending a couple of hours on a nice Spring day wandering aimlessly around the back yard with Ira Glass whispering sweet nothings into my ears. I might even volunteer to do it again. But not in August, that there is man work.

Also, I'm curious. Does your life break down more or less by Stereotypical Gender Roles, or not? Where do you draw the "but I'm a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrrlllllll" line?

Comments (53)

My Chris does all the outside work at our house. Not because I couldn't of course, but because he enjoys it and I don't.

Okay, maybe it's not that he enjoys it, but he does take pride in it.

But inside the house, we pretty well split chores. I hate doing dishes, so he does that. He hates laundry so I do that. Otherwise, we both pitch in.

It does help that we don't have kids, so are just cleaning up after ourselves.

Marty is a can do sort of fellow and in fact, does most of it - including his own laundry (he's very particular about his laundry). But I handle trash/recycling - of course, I look very girly when I head to the dump so what does that say about me?

Oh yes. My hubby is older so we are very much into the Ward and June Cleaver roles. But I don't mind. I'm a way better cook than he is, and he wouldn't know how to start the vacuum. And please keep him away from my washing machine!
Likewise, my oil is always changed on time, fluids filled in my car, and dear that he is, he shovels the sh!t in the yard from all of my dogs.

I have never used a lawnmover either. A whippersnipper yes, but not a mower. Cos I'm a girrrrllll.

But aside from that, everything is pretty equally split. In fact, today Nathan did all the washing (including hanging, bringing in and folding) while I lit the fire and chased the toddler.

Lawnmower even. Lawnmoving? That sounds hard.

I never mowed the lawn. Ever. As a kid, it was my dad's territory and he was not about to let me fuck up his lawn. Then when I got older I couldn't see the point of mowing the lawn. It didn't look like fun to me. When I met my now hubby, he was appalled at my lack of lawn mowing skillz and he mandated that we would not get married until I mowed the lawn one time. So, at the ripe old age of 32, I pushed our lawn mower around our front yard exactly two times. I have the pictures to prove it, just in case. I still don't see the appeal. And apparently neither does he because we use a lawn service and he hasn't mowed the lawn in at least 5 years.

There aren't really any gender lines at my house. Lately, I would really like someone besides me to notice that I'm a girl.

I mow, but I would never shovel snow!

With my grandparents, Granny always cooked and Grampy always did dishes. I'd be cool with a deal like that ;) I abhor dishes. Everything else I could split up however.

For the past two years we've hired a company to mow our lawn. This year we decided to pass since it's not really a necessity. So, I've mowed the lawn twice so far. I'm sure we'll take turns as the summer goes on. As far as other chores...we tend to share the load pretty evenly. He tends to do a little more cooking than I do but I do all the laundry. We both load and empty the dishwasher. He does all of the handy-man type things and I'm pretty much the only one who vacuums. He handles all of our technology stuff but I'm in charge of pictures. We're pretty evenly split with the kids too except the boy child will have nothing to do with Daddy right now so all of his needs/whims fall to me.

well I'm the one who squirts out the babies... that's about it. Everything else we pretty much take turns in. Oh, apart from feeding the babies. I do that too.

No. We do not follow typical gender roles with the exceptions of lawn and car maintenance.

I cook most of the meals, I grocery shop alone (so I can get what I need to cook), and since I work from home a lot, the dishes and vacuuming is usually mine too. I don't do much laundry, floor mopping, or toilet cleaning. We alternate/share all kid stuff like baths and bedtime. Also, if we need to move a couch or something, she grabs the other side. No calling "a maaaan" to come help. No complaints around here.

I'm a single parent, so I do it all...except the peeing standing up thing. To be honest, things were about the same when I was married. No fair!

my mother in law mows the lawn. and bbqs.
these things seem so WEIRD to me because i just feel like they are man things.

YOU CAN REWIRE SWITCHES?? I have a whole new level of respect for you, Girlfriend.

(And I also have 2 switches that need your attention) ;-)

I'm a single parent. Everything falls on me. But even when my ex was living with us, I'm the one who had to show him how to check the air pressure in his tires (and that he didn't need to pay the guys at the dealership to check it and fill them up!!!!), operate the weed-whacker, the difference between a wrench and pliers. I love mowing my lawn. It takes about 2.5 hours. I've always been like this though, I want to get down and dirty with the boys but at the same time, I like doing dishes and laundry. And I honestly get offended if my dad or one of my brothers comes over to do a "man job" (I know they're just trying to help...I just have issues!).

At our house I take care of everything inside the house except for the trash and plumbing issues and most everything outside is his job. The only thing I do outside is a few of the flowerbeds.

But my hubby offered to do 50/50 and I said no since I am home all the time freelancing (part-time), and since we're still kid-less it's only us making the mess.

Once kids come, we might have to renegotiate a little.

We do generally follow stereotypical roles. Though, it's mainly because my darling won't shut up about how fantastic he is if he does anything around the house. And, really? It just annoys the crap out of me. Especially when the dumbass loads the dishwasher so poorly that I always have to re-run it because, did you know, dishes that are crammed in on top of each other don't get clean? Who'd have guessed? It's just not worth it.

We do generally follow stereotypical roles. Though, it's mainly because my darling won't shut up about how fantastic he is if he does anything around the house. And, really? It just annoys the crap out of me. Especially when the dumbass loads the dishwasher so poorly that I always have to re-run it because, did you know, dishes that are crammed in on top of each other don't get clean? Who'd have guessed? It's just not worth it.

There are no stereotypes here! I'm handing with tools and he's an extremely clean fellow.

He actually did the arbor/arch for our wedding.

We currently live on post, so there is no lawn to mow, but we've both spent plenty of time doing yardwork in our day. I guess when we do have a lawn, I'll share that responsibility with one exception.

I do NOT cut grass during caterpillar season. Those big black stinging ones scare the crap out of me! Cos I, in my heart of hearts, am a giiirrrrlll!

There are a lot of things I don't know HOW to do, like rewire switches, but it's not really because I'm a girl and don't think I should. It's because I haven't learned (because I'm a girl, and was steered toward Home Ec instead of Shop). I am not a fan of gender roles. They were a bit skewed in my house growing up but fairly typical. Now, however, my father is semi-retired/semi-employed and does all of the house work and most of the cooking for my mom, who works full time. It's pretty neat.

Erm. That is to say, down with gender stereotypes!!

I think I would be willing to do almost any chore if Ira Glass was whispering sweet nothings in my ear. He (and his show) is a wonderful distraction.

I've never mowed our lawn, which for the record, we do cut with a weed whacker. I'd be willing to, but John seems to feel it is his job. He's also quite firm about shoveling snow. I did it one time because he was still asleep and he was actually offended. John will clean most things if I ask him to, but I don't think he's ever dusted anything.

In general I'm willing to tackle just about any task, with the exception of bugs. That's when I pull out the "isn't this why I got married?" card.

Because we have a HUGE yard and a HORRIFIC hill, we popped for a riding mower after a couple of years of three-hour sojourns with the push mower. As a result, I actually enjoy mowing the lawn. There's something peaceful about mowing lines or cirles or great curves in the grass (I'm not one for the orderly crosshatched look) while thinking my own thoughts, listening to my MP3 player, and BEING ON MY OWN for an hour or so.

Where I draw the line, except for in emergencies? Taking out the garbage, killing spiders, and picking up the dog poop off the lawn. Which is why the garbage gets out in time about 2 out of every 3 weeks, spiders die a quick death, and the yard is covered in dog poop.

We do split a bit along gender lines, but not too badly. He cooks dinner because he gets home earlier and I do the dump run because otherwise the trash takes over the house. But I don't fix the car...or really anything else for that matter. That's my line. Partly because he's much handier than I am and partly because I don't want the responsibility of doing it wrong.

Lawn mowing is definitely man's work in our household. Pretty much anything outside. I don't think I could mow a straight line. But hubby does all the cooking, and I do the laundry. But I did take apart the dishwasher once (fixed it!) and also the plumbing underneath the bathroom sink to unclog it (still not hooked back up after oh, a couple months). ;-)

Growing up, my parents were very split role-wise by gender. My mother did (and still does) cook, clean (although she has always had outside help), does all laundry/ironing. My father used to mow, and was somewhat handy around the house but flat out refused to do anything domestic. He has never changed a diaper. I hoped to find a husband who was handy like my dad, but helpful all around and I think I did. DH does the lawn (although we caved and hired someone this year), and all the outdoor-related stuff, but we split pretty much everything else equally-laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, trash. We don't ever cook so it's every man for himself on that one, and he tends to not load/empty the dishwasher in as timely a manner as I would like, so I do that, and make our son's lunch and keep track of diaper inventory, etc. But he does change diapers!!

My wife does the mowing, and I do the weed eating. The wind here in Dallas takes care of blowing away all of the grass clippings.

The almost 13-year-old cuts the grass.
We follow a lot of the gender stereotypes, but only halfheartedly. Saturday, I helped him bleed his brake lines. Last night, we ate dinner prepared by him. :)

We have managed to fall into gender roles for the most part - mostly because he sucks at the girl stuff (I don't want 14 pink bras and 7 gray socks). He does some the dishes pretty often and does most of his own laundry and changes diapers when he is home. But everything else falls into the norm (him trash, lawn - me cook, clean).

But that is likely a good thing...I once drove a lawn mower up a pine tree. Don't ask.

I mow, but refuse to weed whack. I do most of the home repair stuff, but leave most of the gardening to Rex. I clean (if you want to call it that) and cook and wash and dry the laundry, Rex fold laundry and sometimes helps with the dishwasher and dishes.


I DO NOT clean the hairball out of the drain. I don't think I've done it one single time since we've gotten married, and I think I would be willing to propose to whatever man is standing next to me at his funeral to avoid doing it, should Rex kick the bucket.

I have been known to cut the grass on occasion but I draw the line with the weed whacker...I refuse to even try to get the dumb thing going because it usually ends in tears! But I definitely pull the I'm a giiiirrrrllll card when it comes to pumping gas and cleaning the shower and bathtubs. That there is why I got married!

We do many stereotypical chores but w/ a taste of the other's-for instance, I do most of the cooking but Tim cooks Wed nights and helps plan the weeks menu and shopping-we both take turns grocery shopping; I do most of the laundry but Tim does the sheets/towels; I do most of the finances but we have certain bills that each covers. He handles mornings w/ the kids and I do evenings. Tim does the mowing and gardening, but I weed and do the window boxes; Tim does the trash but I'll take it out when it's full; it works out well enough. Right now we are training the kids to take over some of these things-they are 15 mo's and almost 4-we think of it as part of their vital training for life....

Mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. And really this is sickeningly horrid but that is how it worked in my house growing up. My dad and bro did these things and the girls did not.

Not to say that I never take out the trash because I do but for the most part I do not. Now I do most of the dog poopy duty so that makes up for this, right!? UGH I hate dog poop btw...

Boys take out the trash. And squish the spiders. I do everything else.

For the record, I LOVE cutting the grass. It IS poetic. And it's cathartic. So long as the Mr is chasing the kids and mixing me a margarita for after. :)

I try not to do boy jobs OR girl jobs.

I try to avoid work as much as possible.

My boy cooks & takes care of kitchen crap (let me just say that I AM aware of my fortune in that regard). He tries to man-it-up by pretending to do All Things Construction, but I won't take down your server with that rant.

I am The Assembler of Mass-Produced, Flat-Pack Furniture. No questions. The kids yesterday were even giving him shit for not helping me. In unison, we said: "I'm/He's not allowed".

The rest it more gender typical, but still mostly flexible. Although I do get yelled at for letting the car get low on fuel & delaying oil-changes (it's a CAR. I put the key in and it goes - that is the effort I want to put in). I CAN squish spiders. I even squished a mouse once, but not on purpose and I had the willies for months.

I'm a mid-20s single gal, so I think it's a little different for me. I try to take the typical 'guy' route and say 'well, I worked 50 hours this week so I'm not doing anything around the house' - but that doesn't really work when you live alone. Unless I can finally train my cat do vacuum and do the laundry.

I think what I'm trying to get at is I need a maid...and you're one hell of a woman for doing as much as you do, because I sure can't do it.

I grew up very interested in watching/helping my dad fix stuff. My parents definitely modeled the typical gender roles, but since my older sister was "a giiiiirrrrllll" I filled the vacant position of "tomboy." I cut the grass and tried to be tough and kill spiders. I felt very independent in university, but when I got married, it's like I assumed the role of helpless wife. He owns & operates the grill, he changes light bulbs and greases squeaky doors, he does the yard work and takes the van in for servicing. My husband's to-do list is a mile long right now (we moved in August), and most of the items on the list I could easily do myself. So why don't I? Maybe I think it makes him feel important.

The only thing I've ever insisted he do is attend our sons' circumcisions. I gave birth to them, I think it's only fair that he holds their little hand when they get their foreskin chopped off.

We don't do traditional gender roles at our house. Upon the purchase of our new home (11 days and counting), I've been informed that I will be required to share lawn-mower duties. Bummer for me, but whatever. It means that I don't have to do all the laundry, or cook every meal, and so that's a good trade-off to me.

But I am not looking forward to that lawn mowing. I've never done it either. At least our new yard is flat. But Minnesota in the summer can be just as miserable as DC, I'm guessing.

I hate mosquitoes.

You know, I try really, REALLY hard not to give in to gender role stereotypes, but I don't kill bugs and I don't fix cars. Other than that, I'm pretty game for whatever makes sense (if I can fix my own computer, why wait until my husband gets home to do it?).

Honestly, the hubs goes to work, and I do everything else. Today, I'm patching holes, painting cabinets and putting things back together, all while trying to keep the kids from repainting or drawing over what I've just painted, in preparation for our upcoming move. Good times! LOL

I *always* mow the lawn. I'm super picky about how it's done and get a strong sense of accomplishment to see all that neatness and order from chaos and tall grass.

My husband and I each do our own laundry separately and I can't tell you how much I love that. I'm pregnant now so we'll see who does the baby's laundry but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

My husband tends to vacuum and do the dishes more than I do and I'm not complaining. I have to be pretty sick, though, to not mow the lawn. :)

Taking out the trash. Totally men's work.

I think I pull the "giiirrrlll" line when a car has to be fixed, something REALLY heavy has to be lifted, or I have my period :) I can do a lot of things - cook, clean, minor repairs, etc. However, those things I listed above are definitely my exceptions, PLUS I believe what Delta Burke said in one of my favorite episodes of "Designing Women" - "The MAN SHOULD HAVE TO KILL THE BUG."

Clogged toliets, if it looks like it might back up I call the hubby to fix it. Cause I don't know how. Also heavy boxes, girls can't carry heavy stuff you know?

Plumbing, electrical work and A/V issues are Boy Things, although the boy also cooks way, WAY more than I do. I tend to do most of the cleaning because I have a lower "Dear God is our toilet supposed to be fuzzy?" tolerance than he does.

Well, if the previous experience of others is anything to go by, you're screwed.
Every woman I've ever spoken to has stated that their man mowed the lawn - until they did it once out of desperation. After that, their bloke never mowed it again and left it for them.

Hopefully it's not another inherited task for you!

I swore I would not fall into traditional gender stereotyped roles when I got married. After all, when I was a swinging single gal living in a house with three other swinging single gals *I* was the one with the full tool box, who could fix, hang, drill and nail with the best of 'em.

Then I married a man who can do extensive plumbing, electrical and carpentry. And MUST have it done "right".

Plus, he hates to cook. And can't clean to save his life.

So we try very, very hard to split the childcare when he's home (I only worked extremely part time) and I have let myself become the grocery shopper/laundress/cook/housecleaner that I always swore I would never be. Ah well. We each are using our strengths and our our time (since I'm home WAY, WAY more) as best we can.

I actually enjoy cutting the grass except that my front yard is hilly which takes a lot of the peaceful enjoyment out of the whole process. Normally I would enjoy the peacefulness that is my iPod on and cranked so I can barely hear the mower at all. I need a flatter yard to enjoy this task again.

In my house, we are the anti-stereotypical gender roles. I work outside of the home, make the money and pay the bills. My husband is a stay-at-home dad, cooks, cleans and takes care of our daughter.

Although, he does kill spiders and I do fold the laundry (that he runs through the machines).

I'm so blessed!

I don't mow the lawn, mainly because I got enough of that growing up! We take turns cooking, Jeff empties the dishwasher and I load it. I usually do the laundry because I don't like how he does it. He takes out the trash, I take the cars to be serviced. I do the taxes and pay the bills. We both take care of Lilli. I haven't rewired any switches but since I spent seven years as a copier repairperson, I probably could.

I personally can say I enjoy doing all the manly things that I do. I love getting out there and replacing lawn tires or changing the oil in my car. I don't think women can not do it, but why should they be out there when I am fully capable.

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