Were you brought up in the 40s, 50s or 60s? Did you make 50 cents on the dollar as most women did? Did you HAVE to contribute to the family budget because what your man made wouldn’t stretch to include meat on the table? Do you remember those stories that men made the living and women worked for ‘extras?’
In the Midwest, we may have been better off, or maybe not, but we had a hard time making ends meet with one income. With children it was even worse. Families were limited because of income, not because we didn’t want more children.
This was before credit cards, before high gas prices and before things were more important than debt. We took rides at night to cool off and to top off the evening with ice cream cones. That was a night out with the kids. Parks were places for picnics and to polish the car. Times were a bit slower and part time jobs were at night when the husband could watch the kids.
Kids were taken to the library or bookmobile. Old-fashioned tape recorders were used as they use karaoke machines today, but it was a family endeavor. The memories the children grew up with are one of family involvement. Children were read to or encouraged to read books that would expand their knowledge. Books on mythology, science, and magic tricks were read and acted upon. Games were played as a family. Friends were invited to the home for dinner and the children got to know the parents friends. Sometimes babysitters were called in so that the parents could go out without the children, but that was a sometime thing, not an every weekend occurrence.
Birthday parties and holidays were a reason to celebrate with family and sometimes friends were invited. Children were part of the adult’s lives as adults were part of the children’s lives. Shopping was an event, not a hassle, because it happened occasionally. Therefore, a lot of thought went into what was needed.
Life revolved around the weather. Bad weather cancelled plans, schools and made driving treacherous. Children enjoyed the snow, the cold and their days off. Disappointment followed when plans had to be cancelled (not just changed), the only day to see a play was the day the ice storm hit. The church and other institutions began to never plan big issues during January. January was a month that was gloomy enough without the bad weather intruding on life.
A woman was considered a helpmate a man was not. A woman was the backbone of the family and the community, although she was told/taught that she could never do it on her own. Many a woman grew into adulthood and beyond believing she was never going to be able to make it on her own. Husbands died and women went on. But they did so slowly and in fear with each step they had to take. Those women are still with us today. They are still married and may face a situation in which they will have to take the reigns and live their lives alone. Facing this dilemma will not be easy if they have never believed they could do it on their own.
Facing a car that won’t start or that makes a noise or that has a headlight out. What in the world do they do with it now? Facing a mechanic who has no compassion or understanding (except what he can get out of a woman because she is alone) of a situation that begs for honor and respect is facing needs and a fear that neither understands of the other. Today’s world is not favorable to a woman alone.
Many things happen that the modern world has made up as it went along, just as the couple has done, however, the woman is not a part of that made up world and is faces challenges that have no solutions as seen by her. Yes, there are solutions, but they are not familiar and therefore, she sets on a pace and understanding that does not coincide with another’s attitude or understanding.
Men are just as befuddled in situations where they find themselves alone, however, they will always find an understanding woman to ‘help’ them survive. An older woman alone is capable of so much more than she ever imagined. She needs the courage and confidence to face this brave new world she has been dumped into and she can do it.
She can become familiar with all the tools that she may never have held in her hands before and she can use them. Practice makes perfect. Watching someone change the headlight on the car, you know that you can do it next time. There will be a next time. Tips and tricks of home improvement have been picked up and processed in her brain, she needs to remember and bring it out. Her mate may not have accomplished some things, but most issues were resolved with a screwdriver, a hammer, or a putty knife. One issue at a time to resolve is recommended.
Moving into your own small space after years of being with someone can give you a feeling of confidence, or not! That confident feeling goes away the first time you step into a wet closet. The a/c backed up into the closet! Oh, No! The first thing you must realize is that water travels and it isn’t always apparent how much it has accumulated. Ok! Take the carpet up, yes it is a big job but not that big that you can’t handle it if it’s just a closet, and the pad. Then borrow or rent a wet vac to take up most of the water. Then put a fan on the floor to dry it. The carpet and pad should go outside so the sun dries it. If the water has not been sitting a long time where the carpet/pad have mildew, the dry pad and carpet can be put back and everything is ok once again. All this is accomplished (after) once the leak has been handled (either by squirting water from the hose through the pipe, and adding tablets or bleach placed in the drain in the front of the a/c until it runs out the drain pipe outside). A competent a/c person is a help and so is a good neighbor. You can do more than you think you can, never forget that. Just because the male always did it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Yes, you are going to feel like, I DO NOT WANT TO HANDLE THIS, but there is no one else. To continue to pay others is money you won’t have for yourself later when you may really need it. Don’t give money away when you are perfectly capable of doing the whole job or most of it yourself. If you want to pay someone just to take the carpet and pad up and do the rest yourself, because the wet carpet will be heavy, then you have still saved money. It is your money that you may be desperate for later. Only hire what you can’t handle and believe that you can handle it all, at least try. If you find that it’s not possible, then hire the expert for all or part of their services. However, you must ask around (most service people need to make as much money as possible, because they never know where their next paycheck is coming from, not because they want to rob you) and ask neighbors and friends for recommendations.
Do your own taxes. The reason for this is that you need to understand how much money you have and where it is going. Then give your taxes to your accountant. Yes, I hate that job myself, and yes, it still goes to the accountant, but you need to know how you are spending your funds and what funds you have for your future. The accountant is there to save you money and to give advice. She’s worth it.
“They say,” whomever they are, that your checkbook reveals the real you. What do you spend most of your money on? Who are you really? This is one way to find out what it is that really interests you or what you are spending on that you want to quit.
Are you a needy person? Maybe. We all are at one point or another. However, you are the best. You can do what you set your mind to do, or if you are unable to do that specific issue, it is not painful to ask for help in part. Remember, you are in control of the whole project, whatever it is and you decide what or how much of it is done by you or someone else. Do not let anyone (even if you ‘feel’ they are an expert) tell you how to do your project. You are in control of your life. You can do it. LIVE IT!