My Job as Handy Mommy: It’s Complicated


I proudly wear many hats in my family. I am the cook, the house cleaner, the chauffeur, and, sometimes, I am even the doctor. But one role that I have a complicated relationship with is Handy Mommy.

I am the middle of three sisters and my dad was the sole male in our house. He will happily tell you that he loved being the only guy and wouldn’t have it any other way. He taught us how to put a new roof on our house; he was there for us when we were selecting what tool was needed to fix our Walkman; and while he did not teach us how to change a tire, we all know how to lay the perfect brick patio.

I am comfortable doing things around the house, but I prefer when my husband does them instead. I may tell him exactly how to do the task, but darnit, I like that he is the one who gets down and dirty, and I am not afraid to admit that. 

When my husband is home, he works long hours, and unfortunately he has a job that requires him to leave for months at a time, so, oftentimes, I am forced to put on the hat of Handy Mommy.

I recently had to move a very large sectional around our very tiny apartment due to having satellite installed. Honestly, it was not a one person job in my eyes, but I kept on, knowing that my husband had moved it several times by himself. After I finally plopped down on the newly rearranged (albeit broken) couch, drink in hand, I patted myself on the back and knew that if something needed to be done during this most recent deployment, I could do it. 

But, when do I stop being Handy Mommy?

For months I have been doing everything myself. And I do mean everything. If a light needed to be switched, I did it. If the oil in the cars needed to be changed, I took them to the shop. Heck when my WiFi wasn’t reaching the back corner of our apartment, I did the research and I spent the time and effort it took to find the perfect router to make our concrete block completely Wifi enabled. All of these things I did with grace, but in the back of my mind, I was wishing my husband was home to do them.

Yet, now that he is home and ready to take back his role of “man of the house,” for me, relinquishing that responsibility is not so easy.

See, my husband’s To-Do list is OK sitting on his dresser for days, weeks … maybe even months at a time. The router not reaching the kids’ rooms does not really affect him that much because he doesn’t sit in the baby’s room at all hours of the night playing euchre or downloading the latest romance novel while nursing a sick baby to sleep. He watches TV and uses his computer right next to the router, no connection issues there. The shelves you asked him to build a month ago above the laundry machine aren’t top priority for him because truthfully, he doesn’t do that much laundry. While he was gone, things got done and they usually got done quickly. I noticed it needed to be fixed and knowing that I was the only one there to do it, meant that it got fixed. 

Where do you meet in the middle?

It is a hard balance for me and, in all honestly, one of the harder parts of a deployment homecoming.

If you were to ask my husband, I think a big part of him is OK with me being Handy Mom. He knows I take control, he knows I like to be in charge, and he may think it is just easier for me if I do it all. But, we have had to find a middle ground. For the sake of our marriage, we have had to find and adhere to that middle ground of lightening each other’s loads.

While I may know how to lay a good solid brick patio, I don’t always want to be the craftsman of the family. And while I may think I can lay that brick better and quicker than my husband, I need to let him do it and sit back. I am comfortable being Handy Mommy when my family needs me to be, but I’m more than happy to hang up that hat while my husband is home as long as I don’t let myself get in the way!


  1. Love it, well said! My husband will deploy for the first time since we’ve had kids and I’m trying to brace myself for the ‘handy mommy’ role with out reprieve. Honestly, it’s as if my husband has been deployed through his 9 years of training. But, when I’ve asked multiple times, and he has the time, I get reprieve. Now that he’ll be on deployment, I have no excuse to wait…. I’ll just research and toughen up and get it done 🙂

    • The first time is so hard to grasp that new role in your life, but honestly I have found that it sometimes makes it easier to remain the handy mommy for some things in life!! Good luck on your first deployment with kids and I will be sending you lots of positive thoughts!!!

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