Call me old fashioned, but I believe there are just some things I need to be able to do to maintain our household. I see these things as a necessity and they are all tasks that my wife loves and appreciates (and is frankly surprised when I’ve accomplished some of them). Now, if you don’t live in the kind of area or home that lends itself to all of these (i.e. apartment, townhome, etc) then you are no less manly, you’re just luckier. Don’t you forget that. But if you’re living with your SO or recently married, I hope you take a look at these and are confident enough to be able to cross them off your list. Ladies, feel free to point out all of your man’s shortcomings in this regard. We love when you do that…….
- Clean Up After A Massive Snowstorm: Obviously this one only applies to about half of the population. If you live in Florida or California, just know that from December to March I hate you. For the rest of us, this goes a long way. I went through 2 snow shovels, a metal shovel, and a pickaxe this winter breaking up 4 inches of solid ice at the end of our driveway. But if you can clean 20 inches of snow off the driveway, walkways, and a little area out back for the dogs to do their business then you can tackle anything mother nature throws at you. Also, making sure that bae’s car is cleaned off and ready to go for the morning is a huge plus.
- Fix Your Big Appliances: If you’ve moved out on your own then you probably learned pretty quick that stuff breaks. Microwaves, washers, dryers, furnaces, AC units, all of it breaks at some point or other. Being able to get in there and tinker around to get the furnace going again does wonders. My wife, and frankly myself, was amazed when I got our furnace up and running again. Don’t try to act like you know more than you do. If it isn’t safe then call a real expert. If you can identify a common problem then check online to see if there is a simple fix before calling a repairman.
- Replace Household Fixtures: This one is sometimes more frustrating than you would like it to be but, again, pays off huge dividends. Here is where you have to be creative and patient. Take your time in figuring out how to put in a new door or replacement window. Read the directions to put in a new toilet or sink fixture. Maybe even ask a friend or family member for help. It’s not overly complicated but it takes a little bit of technical knowledge and understanding. At the end of the day when you get to show off your work, feel free to point out that with the money you saved by doing it yourself you can afford to go out to dinner or go see a movie. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Fix the Plumbing: Speaking of things breaking, plumbing is an annoying one. And there isn’t anything more satisfying than conquering a leak. That is exactly how you have to look at it. Your dignity vs the leak, only 1 gets to survive. When we first moved in the water line to our fridge was not working and had a leak along a beam in our basement which is bad for many reasons. Luckily, they have idiot-proof plumbing products now so it was relatively simple once I had all the right fittings. The same goes for a sink or toilet. Take your time and get the right product.
- Maintain Your Yard: There is some benefit to living in a community or townhome and not having to deal with this, but I do enjoy our yard (most of the time). However, it comes at a price. Sore back, sun burnt shoulders, dirty clothes, and time. Quite a bit of time. But I always feel good when our house looks its best and so does my wife. She has things that she takes care of and I have my own. I see mowing the lawn as a great chance for me to relax, sweat a little, and jam out to Spotify. I get to escape into my own head and I usually don’t mind it. Mulching, edging, weeding, those are slightly different but all worth it in the long run.
- Be Able To Build Some Stuff: I’m not saying that you need to build anything impressive here, just some of the basics. Unless you work with your hands all day or have some crafty hobbies, you never really get to showcase these kinds of skills. Your SO won’t really know what to expect when she wants to put new shelves up in the closet or build up some storage in the basement but she’ll love the finished product. Want to step up your game for the dog mom in your life? Offer to build some steps or a ramp up to your bed for the furball she loves.
- Do Some Garage Engineering: Like I’ve said before, a lot of this has to do with just being able to fix stuff. If you ask your dad, you’ll find that a lot of the household knowledge he possesses came about by learning on the fly. The same will be true for all of us. You’ll surprise yourself when you find a way to fix your lawn mower or change the oil on her car. Ask around and find a DIY option for a problem you guys have been having.
- Clean: Bet you didn’t see that one coming. My wife loves when I clean the bathrooms or floors. If you think it is your girlfriend or wife’s job to clean then you’re a moron. I don’t like a messy house so I have no problem breaking out the vacuum on a regular basis or dusting our entertainment unit. We have 3 dogs, cleaning is not optional. I got a Swiffer extendable duster for my birthday and was ecstatic. Don’t downplay cleaning. If you don’t think it is “manly” enough then you are a Neanderthal. Taking ownership for the care and condition of your home is what being a man is all about.
I think the notion of “being a man” means something very different now then 50 years ago. Society changes and (some) people evolve. I didn’t choose these tasks because I think women can’t do them. I chose them because they require ownership and accountability for your home. My wife and own both own our home and are accountable for different aspects of the upkeep. It is a 2-way street. If you cannot manage your home and don’t feel like being responsible for these types of tasks then you are not ready to be an adult.