A Woman’s Work: 10 Things Every Woman Should Know How To Do
I remember as a young girl watching my great grandmother do so many things around the house. She’d cook, clean, sew and iron. She always seemed busy doing what my Poppop called “women’s work.” I thought to myself, “There has to be more to being a woman than knowing how to do domestic things” – but have times changed that much from when I was a child? While traditionally there are some tasks that are gender specific, I can’t help but think women nowadays are forging their own traditions with a “roll-up-your-sleeves and get-the-job-done” type of attitude. Yes, you should be able to cook a great meal, keep your house clean enough to keep the vermin away and iron your clothes well enough to be presentable at work. That’s a given. But we can do better than that in 2012.
Here are 10 things I think all women should know how to do – we go to work!
1. Change a Light Bulb
Okay, so this may seem silly, but you’d be surprised how many women cannot perform basic household repairs. A woman should have a basic tool set, a drill, a hammer and a wrench – and learn how to use them safely and properly. There is no reason you should have to call your landlord or your boyfriend to come over to hang a picture, change your air conditioner filter or make minor fixes like touching up paint. They even have tool sets made just for women – in the color pink! Take a free class at your local Home Depot or Lowes home improvement store and learn to hook your own crib up!
2. Change a Tire
Along the same lines of learning to use basic household tools, you should be equally as savvy when it comes to maintaining your car. Keep a jack, jumper cables, a flashlight, flares…and of course a spare tire in your car at all times. Learn how to safely pull over and change a tire so that you’ll never be stranded or waiting forever for AAA to show up. While we’re at it, you might as well learn how to check and change your oil, check your lights and change bulbs and how to jump a car in case your battery dies on you. Nothing is sexier than a girl under the hood!
Now, if you’re learning how to change a tire, it probably goes without saying that you should know how to drive. Most people who live in major cities with an advanced transit system either never learn how to drive, or learn very late in comparison to those who live in cities where a car is necessary to get around. If Driver’s Education wasn’t required in your high school, go take some lessons and learn to drive – preferably a stick shift as well as an automatic. Not only is it helpful in case you want to rent a car, it’ll also ensure that you can get you and others home safely in case you need to be a designated driver. It doesn’t hurt to learn how to read a map either.
4. Balance a Checkbook
Hopefully, you have a bank account and are making regular deposits. If not – get on it! But once you have an account, it’s crucial that you keep track of your withdrawals, including the funds you swipe on your debit card. Most people are aware of the bills they pay, but forget about that latte at Starbucks or that lunch they “charged” on their debit card. If it comes out of your bank account, keep a record of it in a register. Set up an online account so that you can check it every couple of days to make sure there are no expenses you forgot to deduct and that your balance is correct. This way, you’ll never incur overdraft fees and you’ll see where all your money is going. And start saving!
5. Order a Credit Report
The same way you need to keep track of your finances, you should also be aware of what is on your credit report. Even if you pay your bills on time, it’s important to check your report at least once every six months to make sure there is no incorrect information on it that would affect your credit score. You can order a free credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com – and you can pay as little as $8 to obtain your credit score per credit agency. Your credit score will determine if you get a loan – or your interest rate on a loan – should you want to buy a house or a car. Since your credit is your currency in this economy, it’s important to stay on top of it more than ever!
6. Do Your Taxes
Preparing a basic 1040 EZ tax form should keep you out of trouble with Uncle Sam. If you can afford to pay a professional to do your taxes, then by all means, do so. I find that they know more than the average person about tax laws, itemizing deductions and how to get a bigger refund. But if you have one job, no deductions or dependents and don’t own a home, your taxes should be pretty simply to do – so there’s no excuse for not doing your taxes, or doing them on time. Take a lesson from Wesley Snipes – save yourself the headache and pay your taxes!
7. Speak a Foreign Language
If you were never required to take a foreign language in school, or never elected to take one, you should learn at least ONE foreign language in your lifetime. Within our multicultural nation, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into someone who speaks Spanish, French or Chinese. And if you like to travel, it’s helpful – ESSENTIAL even – that you learn how to ask for help, directions or how to order a meal should you find yourself in a country where English is not the native language. You never know, knowing the basics of another language might help you in a crucial situation. And besides, it’s really just cool to be able to communicate with someone in their native tongue.
I’m always amazed at how many adults I run into who tell me they don’t know how to swim. I understand some people have a fear of water, which is usually the reason why most folks drown when they fall in water. They panic. Taking swimming lessons will give you the skills and confidence you need to stay calm and save yourself should you fall into a lake. Some of you may say that you never plan to be in water, therefore you don’t need to learn to swim – but you never know what situation you might find yourself in where you’ll need to save your own life, or the life of someone you love. You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps, you just need to know how NOT to drown.
Once you learn to swim, and possibly rescue someone from drowning, you should know how to resuscitate them if necessary – especially if you have children. If you see someone choking in a restaurant or losing their breath, performing CPR could literally mean life or death. Your local YMCA should offer free lessons; or Google lessons in your area and take advantage if you can. It takes so little time to learn how to possibly save a life.
10. Self Defense
Speaking of saving lives, you should be able to save your own. Women often fall victim to muggers and rapists because we look like easy prey. But we’re strong enough to know how to breathe, yell, kick, scream and fight back if we’re attacked – and smart enough to know when NOT to put ourselves in harm’s way, or do something to escalate the situation. Take a self- defense class and learn 3 signature moves that will help fend off an attacker. Also, learn how to use verbal resistance and smart, non-physical ways to deal with an attacker. All women, no matter their size or physical strength, should know how to defend themselves.