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I spent three hours in the garage yesterday. Three, blissful hours sanding, scraping, tearing nails out of things. Getting dirty. The garage is mine for the time being and the thought of it makes me giddy.

Three days ago Chase and I had discussed my using the carport for my artistic endeavors. I was okay with it at first. Stupidly. Then the fury rose, deep in the subterranean, feminist bowels. I was pissed. Chase did not know this. It happened fast, this fury and in the meantime he had come to the conclusion that the carport was a bad idea. He cleaned the garage and set up two tables for me with sanders, clamps, hammers. He set up a propane heater and a radio. He went from asshole of the month to husband of the year in the space of an hour.

And yesterday, I had three hours. In my garage. My man-cave. And let me make this distinction: it is not a woman-cave.  The place smells like grease. It’s cinderblock, stark, cold. It’s filled with tools meant to bend and hammer and control. It’s masculine and it’s mine. I like it this way. I clamped an old cabinet door to the table and had my way with it for over an hour. My tight to the legs jeans were soaked with dust. My head was sweating from the exertion. Paint was crunching under my boots. It was joy. And not a contentment kind of joy. It was a joy so full, so energetic, it was almost sexual.

And here’s the thing. Right now, I need my man-cave. It’s so easy when you’re a Mama to have the cultural signifiers slip their hands under your skirt when you’re not looking. Mama is an archetype that changes, but in the American cultural landscape, Mama is

English: Studio portrait photo of Donna Reed t...

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still the one that gives. Endlessly. Ceaselessly. She is a tireless body of compassion and love that cooks and cleans and cuddles and still has time to look lithe and radiant. Despite the rise of feminism and its backlash and its return with a new game face, we’re still fighting the archetypal fight. It’s so easy to forget to put your oxygen mask on first. And the little ones … they need so much.

I’ve talked about this a lot with friends: The necessity of doing whatever it is that gets you getting your groove on. My friend calls it filling your pitcher. Mamas, you know what happens when you don’t. Ugly moves in. Resentment, fatigue, too  much wine, that feeling of being dry and dusty and completely exhausted.

So, the man-cave is my oxygen tent. I get high there.

Find yours. Step inside. Breathe the waters. You’ll love it.