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Single Mom Surviving: Landscaping for Two

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My yard looks like I should erect ten pink flamingos and just call it a day.

Single Mom Surviving: Yes, I'm the one ... the neighbor who is divorcing and hasn't been able to keep up with all the landscaping demands. Yes, I'm the one who hasn't had a chance to weed, edge, mow, weed whack, and mulch this summer. It sucks not being able to keep up, but I have to maintain the indoors and outdoors single-handedly now that I'm a single mom.

mom mowing the lawn

When your husband leaves you for another woman with two kids, fertilizing the lawn is not your first priority. But as you slowly adapt to doubling your workload, you realize landscaping is a pretty empowering experience as a single mom. Getting your hands dirty with hard-core lawn care is a great stress buster, and it's pretty good for your ego, too.

I've realized that landscaping must be done while looking good, because moms managing the lawn get lots of stares, and I live on a busy street. Men seem to be fascinated by a sweating woman operating a lawn mower! So I doll myself up in makeup and designer dirt duds and mow while burning a ton of calories ... this is my idea of a workout. Plug in your iPod and now you have a DJ for free.

The mowing is the easy part. My kids have started to pitch in, and my oldest son taught me all the quirks with the mower ... pull and push. I think I'm supposed to add oil to the gas, but haven't, so I'm just waiting for this device to die. The weed whacker is broken and needs a replacement part, but we just don't know what the replacement part is. My husband left without telling me ... bastard! For now I must use scissors.

My hand-held weed gripper is MIA, as is my small hand-held shovel. My youngest informed me these "will never be found," and he knows this for a fact. Great ... one more thing I need to buy with money I don't have. I could grow pot to afford this stuff -- heck, if all the weeds in my yard were illegal, right now I'd be rich and have a cute little gardener named Jed.

I've decided any man I date in the future must have trade experience. This includes masons, kitchen and bath laborers, painters, landscapers, dry wallers ... you get the point. This stuff is important, and it will be nice to finally have a Rolodex filled with young, capable men to assist with the day-to-day. My neighbor is a single mom and she has this principle mastered. She smiles ... they mow. She wears a skirt ... mulch is delivered. She wears a tank top ... mulch is spread. It amazes me how many men bitch about their own yard, yet they will jump hurdles for the smiling single mom next door.

While I joke about all of this, the truth is I don't mind managing the yard on my own. It makes me feel good knowing I am capable of doing the work of two. I may not get it done as fast as my married neighbors, but I get it done. My perennial gardens, which I spent the bulk of ten years growing from seed, have become my saving grace during my divorce. While my husband may be gone, the daisies, sweet williams, blanket flowers, coreopsis, and brown-eyed Susans remain ... in lovely vases throughout my house to cheer me up during a time when every smile matters and I truly need it the most.

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28 comments so far | Post a comment now
pamela July 10, 2009, 3:54 PM

i’ve only mowed the lawn once and it was hell. the ‘thing’ kept on dying.

Anonymous July 10, 2009, 4:01 PM

it’s the man’s job

squeaky082 July 10, 2009, 4:24 PM

Very well written. I can relate. I too am a single mom taking care of it all. There is a great reward when you look back and can say “I did it all myself”. My neighbors and family give me lots of credit for being so independent. It may take me a little more time (usually alot more time), but the satisfaction is all mine. My daughter even wishes me a Happy Fathers Day because she has a deadbeat dad and I do all of the “dad” work too. Keep going and keep strong. Remember the saying: “Anything a man can do, a woman can do better”. Yes we can!!

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