I am a housewife. I am a damn good housewife if I do say so myself. I cook, I clean, I get the kids looking nice in freshly laundered clothing and attempt to comb each of their ratty heads of hair. I drop my husband’s clothes off at the dry cleaning and sometimes I even pick it up. I go grocery shopping, often visiting two or three stores in one morning in order to get my family all of their special unique food requests.
I once killed a black widow and destroyed its disgusting web (and I am pretty sure that falls into extracurricular housewife duty). I pick up dog poop, and for this I am hostile and resentful. I carpool. I volunteer in the classroom. I will admit, I do have my fair share of paid help around the house, but unless this help is actually living with me, they are no substitute for a good old fashioned housewife, such as myself.
So when my friend Alex sent me this How To Be A Good Wife magazine article, which has actually never been verified as being true or untrue by sources such as Snopes.com, I found it to be hysterical. This article claims to have originated in a 1950s Home Economics Textbook.
Being such a stellar housewife myself, I thought I would do a little comparing of my own household achievements to the ones outlined in the article about housewives 60 years ago. How would I measure up to these housewife divas?
My comparison started off very well. I was completely jiving with the first sentence about having dinner ready. I am all over that like the CEO of Domestic Services that I am. Sometimes I plan my meal out a day before, and sometimes I plan it out a half an hour before, but either way I hope the man of the house knows that even if I am disorganized in my meal preparation, I am still thinking of him throughout the day. So far, I am winning.
It was around the second bullet point that these 50s housewife bitches lost me in the dust of their housewife perfection. Chris is lucky if I am wearing any makeup and if my hair is down instead of pulled up in some hideous ponytail. I fair better in appearance in summer months than winter months because in the warmer months there is a chance that I could be wearing a summer dress when Chris gets home from work rather than a pair of nasty sweats. Here is an example of what I am talking about:
The third bullet point about being gay is very strange. First of all, most of us don’t use gay in reference to being jovial and happy anymore. Gay usually means homosexual in today’s housewife context. Nevertheless, this is just an unrealistic expectation. I have been entertaining four children most of the day, three of them red-heads, and chances are slim to none that there is any GAY coming from me in the 5 o’clock hour. And really, was his day so boring? Try hours of being doctored and playing Mr. Potato head and then we will see who has had a more boring day.
Interestingly, I am all over point number four. I do not like clutter so I pretty much make myself crazy all day trying to eliminate it. I get housewife satisfaction when my husband comes home and complements me on how nice the house looks. Am I cooking and cleaning in a dress, apron and heels like Miss Mable in the above picture, who by the way is about to combust from all her fake over-the-top housewifery? I say not.
My children have been delegated to take car of point number five on their own. I hadn’t thought of the dustcloth. I am going to have to include that in their next playroom cleanup.
I must admit that point number six made me throw up a little in my mouth. First of all, we have a gas fireplace and when I want to turn the fireplace on I flip a light switch. Secondly, and this is the part that led to a little acid reflux moment, catering to the man’s comforts are not exactly high on the list of priorities when dinner needs to be finished and kids are demanding all sorts of crazy shit at me. Oh, and don’t even think of plopping your ass on that chair in front of the fire during the witching hour unless you want me to go housewife crazy on you.
Point number seven made me LOL (this is housewife of the 2000s lingo, like “pin it” and “Facebook friend”). Making the children look presentable and having them quiet down upon daddy’s arrival. My husband is lucky if someone isn’t screaming or fighting when he arrives home. Oh and housewives of the 50s, so sorry but we now had super quiet appliances and so we won’t be needing to turn those off when our husbands arrive home.
I can get on board with this next point. I do love my husband and I also really NEED him to HELP me, so I am generally OVERJOYED to see him walk through that door.
Bullet point number nine is probably my husband’s favorite one. Greet him warmly and sincerely desire to please him. Wow. That’s what she said. I’m blushing. You 50s housewives are so naughty.
I’m definitely failing in a big way on the next point. Yes I do have a dozen thing to tell him and several things to complain about and I make sure I get it all out of the way within the first minute my husband walks through the door. I have been waiting all day to vent my wows and there is not a second to spare when he arrives home. So because of this, the next three points are also not happening in the house of this 2000s housewife.
“Don’t complain if he stays out late, or even if he stays out all night.” Now that is one naive generation. Come on apron clad lasses, don’t you know if he is staying out all night he has another lady friend on the side? Why else would he choose to stay out all night instead of getting some sleep before his next boring day of work? Newsflash! He is out all night because he is getting some sleep and a little extra something somewhere other than in your perfectly made bed in your perfectly kept house among your perfectly polished children.
“Make him comfortable. Arrange his pillows. Offer him a warm or cool drink.” Oh yes, I do this for sure. I am all over this once a year when my husband is very ill.
The second to last point is not a good idea for the 50s housewife since she is letting her husband go out all night and party and sleep with other women. It says that the housewife should never question the integrity or truthfulness of her husband. I can personally say that this housewife does not question the integrity of her husband, but he also does not choose to stay out all night or insist on relaxing after work. When you have children, the work day doesn’t end at 5pm. It never ends.
A GOOD WIFE ALWAYS KNOWS HER PLACE. If they are referring to that place up on the pedestal . . . perhaps wearing a crown and sipping on a glass of wine, then yes we do know our place.
I know my husband, as with most husbands, works very hard to provide for his family. I know it is not easy to be the one who is financially responsible for an entire family. But we must also consider that the role of the housewife dies a little more with each passing year. According to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009, 59% of women work or are actively seeking employment. An even higher percentage of women with children ages 17 or younger (66%) work either full or part time. Lets give it up for the working woman who also has to take care of the household at the end of the day!
There are many days that I would like to go to work. Mostly, though, I am forever grateful that I am able to be home with my children and raise them myself. With that said, staying home and raising children by yourself all day is the hardest job on earth, and I mean this with every fiber of my being. Therefore, I have re-written a piece that I may submit to Good Housekeeping called:
A Husband’s Guide To Maintaining A Happy Housewife
Rule #1: Make sure you have your housewife’s favorite take-out establishment is on speed dial. When you are on your way home and already received an earful about what a lousy, miserable day she has had, you will be prepared for peace by showing up with a fresh cooked pizza or perhaps Chinese food.
Rule #2: Make sure that the wine refrigerator is stocked. If you get home before 5pm and your beloved housewife is already drinking, don’t judge her. She has had a long day and needs your support and understanding.
Rule #3: Don’t come home and be grumpy. Remember, your housewife has probably had quite a boring mundane day mixed with children fighting and discipline issues. She could use some adult conversation and a cheerful attitude.
Rule #4: On your first walk through the house upon getting home, pick up toys and random paraphernalia that you encounter along the way and return it to its proper place. Your housewife has most likely been picking up tiny random pieces of toys, and stepping on them with her bare feet all day, and could use your help in the evening.
Rule #5: When you come home from work it is your time to spend with the children. Do puzzles, games and reading. Take them on a bike ride or walk outside. Give your housewife a break from the constant demands of children.
Rule #6: Be sure and listen to all the events of her day, even if they seem unimportant to you. Lend her a shoulder to cry on if need be, or share in her laughter. The key word here is LISTEN.
Rule #7: Make the evening hers. Don’t ever complain if she wants to go out with the girls for dinner and get really inebriated. If she is staying in for the night, get your hands lubed up with some cream or oil and give her a nice back or foot massage. Don’t forget to re-fill her glass of wine.
Rule #8: Don’t ever challenge your housewife on her parenting skills or discipline measures unless you want the silent treatment. Remember, she does it all day and by the time you get home she may be low on patience and it may look like she is Mommie Dearest instead of Mother Theresa.
Rule #9: It is wise to bring your housewife a freshly brewed cup of coffee in bed each morning. This act of kindness will start the day off on the right foot.
Rule #10: A good husband always knows his place.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.