Do You Suffer From Can't-Do-it-Yourself-Itis?

Do You Suffer From Can't-Do-it-Yourself-Itis?

Alison Gerber
Feb 10, 2014
(Image credit: Jen Anderson)

There are times we choose not to do projects around the house ourselves because we do not have the time. Sometimes it would be more economical to buy something new. Sometimes we're just not motivated enough. But sometimes, and maybe we won't even admit this to ourselves, we avoid the DIY path for the simple fact that deep down, we don't feel we're capable. Is this you? Do you suffer from Can't-Do-It-Yourself-itis?

Recently I was faced with what should be a completely simple task: hanging a new curtain rod. I went to the hardware store. I bought the necessary components. I took them to the car. Then it struck me: "Oh no. This rod won't fit in the car. It's too long." And then: "Alison, what are you doing? You have no idea how to transport a curtain rod, let along hang one. Are you crazy? You can't do this."

It's times like this I think of my friend Jen. It's her at the top of this post, apron on (that she made), drill in hand. Jen does everything herself. From hanging a picture to installing shelving to painting feature walls. She owns her own power tools. She's even good at upholstery, and sewing. Sometimes I feel like I'm friends with one of those super Moms you only imagine exist in mythical Pinterestville.

The truth is, she is not a super Mom. She is a regular Mom just like me, who is smart, and creative, but she is also courageous and tries things out. She is gracious on herself (mostly) when it doesn't work, and tries again. The difference between Jen and I, is that she doesn't get scared at that first step. She steps out, she learns, she tries. She believes in herself.

I write this as an Apartment Therapy Family columnist because, I think, Can't-Do-It-Yourself-Itis is a plague that particularly afflicts Moms. As a Mom, we are still told by society that there are things that Moms do and things that Dads do. We saw this at work in our parents' homes - Mom cooked, Dad built. You know what? This is ridiculous! You know that all the Dads of the world are just searching "how to hang a curtain rod" on Apartment Therapy before they pick up the hammer and the drill? You know we are completely capable of that too?

So, as I stood at my car the other week I stopped the "You can't do this" talk in its tracks. I have two degrees. I can translate Ancient Greek. I can hold a baby and chop a cucumber at the same time. I can go without sleep for 4 months then host a dinner party and set a beautiful table and cook an amazing chicken casserole and then talk about the economy with one of the guests, who is an economist. Seriously, I can hang a curtain rod. Just like Jen. And so can you. You can do it. Stop telling yourself you can't. You can. You really, truly can.

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