I have a confession to make. If I meet the right man within the next few years, get married, and he's in a position where I can stay at home and earn income on my blogs and freelance writing either full-time or in conjunction with a part-time job outside of the home, I'd be thrilled. I'm also perfectly happy cleaning the house and making dinner for him while he works full-time.
In other words, there's a part of me that fantasizes about being a housewife, albeit a modern (and hopefully not desperate) one.
Is that shocking? A sexist view? Do I sound lazy? Way too old school? (Well, this is a retro blog, after all.) Am I setting my sisterhood of my fellow gender back about a century with that revelation?
I don't think so. In recent years I've come across blog posts...and entire blogs...written by modern housewives. Young ones, too; younger than me in most cases. And they're happy, and they love it. Some of these women don't even have children and they love the arrangement. And they assure their readers that it isn't a case of being controlled by their husband; this was a choice (albeit one they made after confirming that it was financially feasible for their household.)
I think that's the key word: choice. A lot of feminists may not be thrilled by the idea of women devoting most of their time to minding the children and keeping the kitchen floor shiny (without any yellow waxy build-up, the very thing that plagued Mary Hartman.) But if there's one thing feminism accomplished in the 20th century, it's that it gave women choices. That includes a choice of going to work outside of the household, or staying at home.
I realize that not everyone can do it. The cost of living in America has skyrocketed--especially in particular states--compared to when my parents were married and raising my siblings and me. I consider myself very lucky that I always had my mother waiting at home to greet me when I came home from school. By the 1980s, many of the kids in my school were living with a divorced parent and often coming home to an empty house while their mom or dad was still at the office.
And it isn't that my mother didn't want to work. Before I was born, she once got a job at a florist and the store manager was going to train her in floral arranging, and my father made her quit. What the reason was, we don't know exactly, but I believe he was self-conscious and didn't like relinquishing part of the financial power to her. To this day, she still resents it, and says she would have had a nice nest egg saved up as a result. (Later, when I was a teenager and in my 20s, she did do sewing work at home for a woman that ran her own children's clothing business.)
My dad was a control freak, and that makes me a bit resentful, too. The WWII generation was a different animal compared to the guys of today. Great in some ways, but behind the times compared to today in others. My dad never changed a single diaper in his life; today, I don't think I've met a single father that's never helped out in that department.
She probably wouldn't think of herself as a housewife or homemaker; after all, her passion that takes up most of her free time is helping the dogs. But I think she is, just a modern one that again, was lucky enough to have that choice.
I would imagine that for couples where one spouse/partner stays at home, that things have to be relatively less stressful then households where both partners work full-time. Maybe not so if you have babies and/or toddlers or a special needs child, but when the kids are in school I would imagine, in general, that there's more time for a stay-at-home mom to be able to exercise, take a nap, or meet a friend for lunch. I don't have children and yet there were many work weeks where I felt frazzled and like there were too many responsibilities at home that needed to be tended to before the weekend came. I would think to myself how easy I had it compared to a mother that needs to take care of her children's needs on top of working 40 hours a week or more.
And let's not forget that there are a lot of househusbands out there today as well. I saw an article earlier this year about the unfair judgement these men often receive from their female counterparts at the playground and bus stop. These guys have said that they are frowned upon, and often viewed with less respect than stay-at-home moms. Many have lost their jobs and are taking care of the kids while their wife works and supports the household. In my opinion, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this arrangement; they should be commended for stepping up to the plate and raising the kids. It's not like their masculinity has taken a hit because they're home with their children full-time.
There was a time when I thought I'd be bored out of my mind if I didn't have a full-time job. But now, after more than 20 years of bouncing from company to company and trying to prove myself, sometimes to really overly egotistical people, only to find myself downsized...well, the archaic housewife dream doesn't seem all that bad. Maybe it sounds like I'm setting women back, but I don't think there's anything so bad about wanting to keep a house decent looking and providing a hot meal for a husband when he gets home (provided he chips in on the weekends with cooking and household/yard chores.)
And if I do get bored and want to return to a full-time job? I would still want to have that choice.
Well, this is just my opinion, anyway. I have a lot of respect for housewives, both past and present. And if there are any happy housewives (or husbands) that read my blog and feel like chipping in with their two cents and how it's working for them, I'd love to hear it!