The Playroom: I am woman; hear me fall


Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

When we took the backyard ice rink down, the man who took it apart asked, “Should I just put the gear above the garage?”

I answered, “Yes.”

The rink was down for the season, and we had no need for the goals, the piles of sticks bought at garage sales, all the pucks dotting the yard.

“Put it in the attic space above the garage,” I told him. Except I forgot something.

That something was the word “gear.” The pads and the skates and the bag my son needed at precisely 5:45 that evening as we prepared to load the car and head off to a three-on-three tournament.

“Where’s William’s bag?”

Three children and I standing in the garage staring at where the hockey bags should be, always were, but not there.

My brain slowly churned up the answer. The man who took down the rink put the children’s hockey bags in the garage attic. Who would do that? Clearly some guy whose kids never played hockey, because any hockey mom would know that there are no two consecutive weeks during the year when you aren’t lacing up a pair of skates.

So I got out a stepladder and went to pull down the stairs to the garage attic, the stairs my husband told me never to pull down by myself, ever. And that is why my son never made it to the three-on-three tournament. Instead, he is in his room wailing and I am in my bed on an ice pack, drugged on ibuprofen and muscles-relaxers, my husband out of town on business. I am wallowing in self-pity as I replay in my drug-addled brain how that last pulley system was supposed to work.

I have friends who tell me they don’t need a man. If anything happens to their husbands they will never marry again. They do everything by themselves anyway. Really? Everything? As for me, I do need a man, and I like having my husband around. I realize that most when my husband is gone, working, traveling on business again. When I miss him, and I really do have to do everything, even getting hockey gear out of the garage attic.

The stairs were what my husband and his buddy spent an entire afternoon jerry-rigging with some ridiculous pulley system. Meanwhile, the stairs are at least 70 years old, completely antiquated; they weigh about a hundred pounds and are covered in layers of toxic lead paint. Why not just go buy a new pull-down ladder you can actually use without an adrenaline rush?

That was the question I asked the contemplative duo that afternoon while they stood in the garage listening to classic rock and staring at the ceiling, making comments to each other,

“No, no, this will work, this will work.”

Apparently not very well.

But then buying a new pull-down ladder, one that actually works and is safe and nontoxic, is something I would have done. Something a woman would have done. I’m a woman. The one who thinks she needs a man.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at

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