Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Accidental Housewife



Growing up I never aspired to be a housewife. In fact I didn’t even know anyone who would admit to such a thing. My aspirations were to be rich and powerful. True they haven’t changed much though I try to squeeze sanctity in whenever I can.

In fact I told my future husband when we were dating that I wanted to be fair to him and felt obligated to tell him that I wasn’t interested in marriage and that my career would always come first. After I was well established (and naturally rich) I would adopt handicapped children. They would be cared for lovingly by a well chosen nanny during the day and doted on by me in the evenings and on weekends. They would be driven around in a Mercedes station wagon. Black of course



Somewhere along the way I got a clue, married the prince from Cinderella and began to have children. A fair number of them. We don’t have a black Mercedes but a Suburban dubs in very nicely. And I find myself irretrievably, inexplicably and inescapably a housewife.

Just when the feminists thought that they had driven every housewife from the shores of the new land something very strange happened. Home Comforts, Martha Stewart, Desperate Housewives, Crafts, Scrapbooking, and homestyle honest-to-goodness- from scratch cooking




Housekeeping is nearly all the rage. We long for antique textiles, time to quilt, crochet and knit, reproduction sewing patterns, vintage aprons, speckled ironware, a Kitchen Aid mixer and a commercial oven. Stainless steel of course.

Introducing the blogs that make housekeeping cool and elegant and feed our appetite for frivolity and romance- all at the same time.

Brocante home- this I call my guilty pleasure. You’ll understand.

Martha Stewart-
love her or hate her she started the revolution and we must acknowledge that even though she has gotten very, very rich in the process.

There is power in knowing that you can whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies at 10:30 at night that will melt in your mouth and elevate you to goddess status among your children and husband, or sew a costume for an upcoming dance recital that will have the audience amazed, or celebrate a birthday lunch out with your girlfriend and realize that you could horrify your sweet young waitress by announcing that between the two of you- you have 18 children. (I didn’t do it).

Acknowledge the power in the hand that rocks the cradle and rules the world and the kitchen and the laundry room and the parlor. Reign over your home like a queen, for that is what you are.





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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post!!!

Edward said...

I'll say the wife is a queen!
And mine is Queen Victoria, the happy Matron of our little empire of 6 (living) princes and princesses.

(I suppose that makes me Prince Albert in the can.)

ablondeblogger said...

It's funny, but I've always wanted to be a wife and mother.
When I got pregnant, and married at 17, people felt sorry for me, but in all honesty, I never felt I was missing out. I was happier than I'd ever been in my life. Still am!

Radical Catholic Mom said...

I had to laugh when I read your post. It is funny because while I always knew I wanted to stay at home like my mom stayed home for us, I did not want to be a "housewife."

It may seem like I was REALLY clueless and boy was I, but it took awhile for it to sink in and for me to accept that this "housewife" business is a lot of work. Once I accepted it, I decided to tackle it like I would all the other jobs I have held.

I am much happier and much better organized and I am at peace.

Nârwen said...

Of course, housekeeping is work. It's, IMHO, too d*** much work, which is why it should be split between two people.

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Narwen,

When I worked before I had my baby, my husband & I shared everything, if not equally, at least fairly, if that makes sense.

But, I feel if I am staying at home this is my job, not his, especially because he works just as hard as I do during the day.

This doesn't mean he doesn't help out with the kiddo, but I try to get things done so we can relax at night.

Nârwen said...

Well, if some women want to stay home, they're welcome.
Of course, in the era of no-fault divorce, they're playing financial Russian roulette.

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Very true. I know many women whose husbands left them, but most states have alimony so that is not an issue or should not be. Most of them were financially set even after their divorce.

But I know after working as a high school teacher that a parent in the home is worth more socially than any other job. As a teacher, I could tell the kids who had a parent staying at home. It was that obvious!

HSarsfield said...

"Well, if some women want to stay home, they're welcome.
Of course, in the era of no-fault divorce, they're playing financial Russian roulette."

As a Catholic wife and mother, I don't think this is a very Catholic attitude to have. Yes, even good Catholic couples split from time to time, but I don't think it's something we should be preparing for, "just in case". My children DESERVE to have me, as their mother, at HOME with them 24/7. I owe it to them. If I decide to work outside the home "just in case", then who on earth is going to raise my children?

HSarsfield said...

"Of course, housekeeping is work. It's, IMHO, too d*** much work, which is why it should be split between two people."

Working outside the home for 40+ hours a week, away from your family, to keep food on the table is also work. Far be it from me to inform MY husband that now that he's done that, he also has to "help" me clean the house. Sorry...I don't think so.

Edward said...

Sometimes the husband must help around the house because...well, not every wife is perhaps 'up to the task', if you will. And I know that there are things about me as a "provider" which my wife could well and justly complain.
But we each cover the other's blindness and shortcomings.
I'm not saying it's easy - picking up the slack. For both of us it's at times aggravating and frustrating.
But there's a shared and determined reason why it all somehow just gets done, defined and augmented by God's good grace in little, everyday necessities.
It's called love, and it really does work: if by our cooperation we are willing to set it to task.

Thomas Shawn said...

"Well, if some women want to stay home, they're welcome.
Of course, in the era of no-fault divorce, they're playing financial Russian roulette."

Well, with tht attitude, you better stay on the job and keep that resume updated.

Nârwen said...

Maybe it isn't a Catholic attitude, but it's an attitude shaped by how the 'working world' treated my own mother when she became a widow with a young daughter. "Hire you ? You haven't worked in more than 10 years, lady !"
The job she finally got was more difficult, and paid a lot less, than the one she had dutifully given up as a new bride.
Sure, being a SAHM is great for the kids- but if the bottom drops out, through divorce, death, illness, or long-term unemployment, forget it.

Lynne said...

I grew up in the 70s so I was fed many lines, including a woman should have a 'career'. I got a 'career' in Data Processing (now called IT), great money. They (feminists) neglected to tell me that once I got married, I'd have 2 jobs, one outside of the home and the other inside the home. Well, maybe you shouldn't get married, say the feminists.

Then, you only have one oe two kids because otherwise, how could afford daycare?

It's not a job (raising kids/running the household) that is done well by men. They just don't have the level of detail/interest in it.

I predict a big backlash of women choosing to stay home and raise their own kids.

M. Alexander said...

It's funny you should say that Narwen. The same thing happened to my Grandmother- she had to get a job and raise 3 children alone. The local bank would not allow her to open a savings account without her husband's permission. She had a difficult time but she raised her family and they are all great adults. Strangely not one of them thinks that mothers should not stay home with their families in spite of the difficulties their mother faced. You don't take a hard case exception and let it destroy home life.

hopingforheaven said...

I was also a liberated feminist choosing a career in a field mostly dominated by men. I did marry but waited 8 years before having my socially acceptabel two children. And I had my tubes tied. My Catholic doctor had no problem with that. My pastor said those things were a 'matter of conscience'. I had no conscience was the thing, going 19 yers between confessions.

Then Our Lady got a hold of me!

My marriage is my path to sancitification. I homeschooled for a while. My career is VERY part time. My prayer life is all the time.

Thanks be to God for rescuing me.

HSarsfield said...

"Sure, being a SAHM is great for the kids- but if the bottom drops out, through divorce, death, illness, or long-term unemployment, forget it."

And it's those times,most especially, that the children need YOU and not someone else raising them, being there for them, nurturing them. Throwing them out to the wolves is not the answer.

Nârwen said...

< It's not a job (raising kids/running the household) that is done well by men. They just don't have the level of detail/interest in it. >
And your point ? Let them do the best they can. If they don't do it, it doesn't get done. Simple enough.

Anonymous said...

Narwen said: "Let them do the best they can. If they don't do it, it doesn't get done. Simple enough."

Simple enough for you - sure, but you're not the one suffering. The kids are suffering, and that's hardly fair.

Get a life.