Like a girl

If you haven’t yet seen the “Like a Girl” video that’s gone viral in the past few days, it’s worth a watch:

I’m posting it here because yesterday this project was all about girl power–claiming and reclaiming it.

Before Cane and I moved into this house together, I owned and lived in the house I got when I divorced. It was a home my husband and I had used as a rental property, and it was sorely in need of lots of work.

This (sorta) Old Life:  like a girl

That vinyl flooring really couldn’t get any cleaner-looking than this.

I didn’t know how to do a lot of the things that needed doing, but I learned. Cane was the person who taught me much of what I needed to know, and he did help me with big projects–but ultimately they were mine. I had my hand (literally) in all of them.

Since we moved here, that’s not been the case. I guess the difference is that it’s no longer my house, but our house. And, for many of the things we’ve tackled, it’s just been easier for Cane to do it  himself. He already has the skills and it goes faster that way.

This (sorta) Old Life:  like a girl

I didn’t learn how to use the tile cutter because Cane did all the cutting for our bathroom tile project.

The bedroom organization project has been different, mostly because while I’ve been working on Grace’s room, Cane has been laying cork tile in Ella’s. We’re both feeling a time pinch. (Ella has no bedroom until the floor project is complete.)

To hang a shelf/closet rod yesterday, I needed Cane to remind me how to drill holes and use anchors. Hardly advanced skills, but it’s been so long since I’ve done it I needed some help. I felt like such a girl, in a bad way.

This (sorta) Old Life:  like a girl

That bad feeling dissipated pretty quickly once I started drilling on my own. Before the day was done, I’d drilled quite a few holes. And assembled Ikea stuff. And hauled furniture from the car, all by myself. And it felt really, really good.

This (sorta) Old Life:  like a girl

I’d forgotten how good it feels to do such work. By the end of the day I was sore and tired, in such a good way. I still have a lot to do before this afternoon, but I know I’ll get it done in time to meet my girl at the airport. I can’t wait to see this in person:


My smart, hard-working, beautiful daughter–the one for whom I’ve undertaken this project that has begun to feel like finals week (no sleep, little eating, constant work)–called yesterday to tell me that she and her two partners took 2nd place at the Future Business Leaders of America national competition. Out of 89 teams who all qualified by placing at their state competitions!

While she was thrilled to place second, she was also bothered by the fact that most of the national student leadership in the organization is male and has been for some time.

“Well, why don’t you change that?” I asked.

“Maybe I will!” she said.

I hope she does.

There’s so much more I’d like to say about these things–how it felt to have this conversation near the end of a day in which I’d been thinking long and hard about what I’ve been modeling for my daughter, and about how and why it matters that she see me being the one who drills the holes in the wall–but I just don’t have time think it all through and articulate something meaningful right now.

This (sorta) Old Life:  like a girl

There’s just this:  Even though we’ve been writing this blog for nearly 3 years, and through it we’ve come to understand that every project will give us something far more important than whatever improvement it is we’re making to our home’s physical structure, I’m still surprised by how much this simple organization project has stretched me–as a mother, a partner, and a woman making her way through this world.

I know the whole #likeagirl thing is, at its heart, a marketing campaign.

I don’t care.

I hope “like a girl” becomes a badge of honor–for me, for our daughters, and for all the girls who need to know that they can do things for themselves, and that their way of doing it is perfectly fine. More than fine.

The next time you see this space, it will be all done!

The next time you see this space, it will be all done!

UPDATE: Links below will take you to all the project posts:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Questions to ask before beginning

Teen bedroom storage solutions