1. division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions: “the dichotomy of the one and the many” (Louis Auchincloss).
2. Astronomy The phase of the moon, Mercury, or Venus when half of the disk is illuminated.
3. Botany Branching characterized by successive forking into two approximately equal divisions.
Another definition that I found is: a division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposed (the dichotomy between eastern and western cultures).
I think I like the last definition the best. The word “dichotomy” has been stuck in my head for the past few days. I have a lot of thoughts jumbled up in my head right now, so this could end up being a very jumbled, very long, very boring post. This could be one of the ones that leaves you scratching your head saying “why did I decide to read this again?” For all I know, you’re already saying that, and I’m just babbling into the thin air. But that’s ok, because as long as I’m typing it, I’m not talking (out loud) to myself, and that means that I’m still sane, right? Right? RIGHT???
Over the past few days, I’ve been at war with the She-Beast. Of course she picked some of the coldest days of the year to be out of service, and since I don’t have a usable garage, I’ve been out in the elements working on her. I was put in touch with a gentleman who was able to talk me through some diagnostic tests and we were able to narrow the issue down to either the ignition module or the coil. Long story short, I pulled them out, took them to the auto parts store, found that the module was bad, bought a new one, came home reassembled her, got a jump start (stupid dead battery) and we were up and running again. (OK, I know it sounds like it was easy – keep in mind that there was a lot of yelling, a lot of extremely foul language, a few thrown tools, and some minor bloodshed involved as well.)
While I was mechanic’n (as I like to call it), I had to keep taking breaks for a few reasons: (1.) the volume of my bladder was not adequate for the amount of coffee that was being poured down my throat to prevent my body from freezing (2.) I had to occasionally come inside just to thaw out (3.) my two youngest boys were inside the house. Alone. While I was mechanic’n. I had to make sure that the house was still standing and that they hadn’t opted to cut each other’s hair – or worse.
Here’s where the dichotomy comes in.
Here I am, a single mom with 5 kids. I generally refer to myself as a Domestic Goddess because my typical days involve cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, shuttling kids around, and the like – you know, the typical “housewife” duties. But at the same time, when the She-Beast breaks, I’m most generally the one tearing her apart and fixing her. If I can’t do it myself, I usually help. But here I was in sub-freezing weather, tearing apart electrical components to diagnose the issue. Yeah, someone told me how to do it, but I did it. A mom. Tearing apart an engine. See the dichotomy?
I’m very happy that I was able to fix it myself. It makes me feel proud to know that I did it. But at the same time, I’m *really* sick and tired of fixing stuff like that. I’m tired of having to get out the power tools to build better railings on my porch or to build a baby gate for the basement steps. I’m tired of having to snake my own toilet every time a mystery object disappears. I’m glad that I can do these things, but I wish I didn’t have to.
I always hear people talking about single parents and how a single parent “has to be both the mom and the dad” like those are the only two jobs that we have. Oh, how we wish those were the only two jobs – instead, we are mom, dad, referee, coach, cook, launderer, housekeeper, chauffeur, nurse, psychologist, life coach, plumber, carpenter, mechanic, social planner…and the list goes on and on. In a “normal” 2-adult household, fixing the She-Beast wouldn’t have been such an issue. One adult would go and fix it while the other one took care of everything else inside the house. Instead, I got to play mechanic for a couple of days and let everything else slide because when it comes right down to it, I’m only one person and generally I can only do one thing at a time. So now that I’m theoretically done mechanic’n (knock on wood) for a while, I have to go back to being the Domestic Goddess. I have to clean and do laundry and run kids all over creation for school and basketball and whatnot.
Maybe, just maybe, one of these days, the Magical Mini-Van Fairy will pay me a visit and bring me a nice shiny new one that doesn’t break down on a regular basis (and while I’m dreaming, the gas tank will always be full on the aforementioned nice shiny new mini-van). Maybe someday, I’ll live in a house where I don’t have to constantly fix things. And maybe I’ll meet someone who will actually help with some of these things. But since I don’t foresee any of those happening in the near future, for now I will just keep on doing what I’m doing. It will all get done eventually. I will get my daycare up and running, I will get my bills paid, I will keep the She-Beast running (mental note: schedule oil change), I will train for this half-marathon, I will finish all of my quilting projects, I will get more canning done, and I will remember to do everything else that I know that I have forgotten.
But for right now, I think I’m going to sit my butt on the couch, suck down some more caffeine, and do my nails.