I admit, I’m prejudice against housewives. It’s an uneasy confession. I truly want to believe that I am the sort of feminist that values women’s choices and I’m a firm advocate of putting family first. So why does my inner critic scoff every time I hear about the travails of a stay-at-home mom?
I know I’m not alone. We live in an era where it’s just not cool to be a housewife. I flaunt my inability to clean. I know other working moms who leave a weekend’s worth of dishes and laundry for the nanny to handle on Mondays.
Even most stay-at-home moms I know wouldn’t identify with the term housewife and prove it by keeping themselves occupied with a dizzying number of child- and home-related activities. A New York Times article recounts how Swedish journalist Peter Letmark, working on a series about modern day parenting, could not find a housewife to interview. “Housewives are a near-extinct species in Sweden,” Letmark told the New York Times, “and the few who still do exist don’t really dare to go public with it.”
Despite my disdain for housewife-ry, I still fantasize about being one. Most of my female friends juggling double duty of work and kids do the same. The blogger of “My Big Fat Secret” recently posted on the same desire.
After admitting to these aspirations, most women follow up with the disclaimer: even with all the money and domestic help in the world, there are many things I would love to accomplish that don’t necessarily come with a paycheck. Translation: I would still work, but not for cash.
I know I’ve uttered that sentiment in the past. But I think we need to wake up and smell the Javex. If you’re not being paid for your work or talent, and you are at home with the kids, cooking dinner and folding laundry, doesn’t that make you a housewife? Twist my imaginary apron, I believe it does.
So this is the question: What the heck is wrong with it? Why are those who step away from corporate life so quickly disdained? What’s wrong with leisurely dropping the kids off at school and then (cue scandalous music) grabbing a coffee and reading the paper instead of tripping over your outdated Jimmy Choos to get to work on time?
I’m not referring to those professional stay-at-home moms that are busier than God and need a BlackBerry per child to keep on top of their social schedule (I’ll leave that tirade for another day.) I just want to know when housewife became a four letter word….not that I want to be one, are you kidding? No. Never.
Category: Career Girl