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The Perfect Housewife: A Great American Myth

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When a high school teacher found out she was pregnant with her third child, she did what she had always wanted to do: she quit her job to stay home with her kids. Armed with an idea of what life as a traditional housewife looked like, she “expected to have a spotless house, nutritional, home-cooked meals, happy, pleasant children…” Instead, she found herself with “laundry coming out [her] ears, a never-ending supply of dishes in the sink, and children who alternated from happily playing to yelling at each other every few minutes.”

“What am I doing wrong?” she asked.

Read more at Darling Magazine…

4 responses »

  1. i love love loved this!!!!!

    • Thank you! Part of my mission at Experimental Wifery is to find a healthier way for women to balance their needs against others’ needs. We often forget, when we resolve to take care of our families, that we’re an important part of our families, too.

  2. Thank you! I was just talking about this very thing to a group of homeschooling mothers (add one more major hat to wear!), and they stared at me like a bunch of deer in the headlights. I thought it made a lot of sense- I feel like things are just so disordered these days! Not only did women have inter-generational surroundings and specialties that they shared, but help was far more economical to hire. The other main thing I’ve come to believe is that, since women didn’t really enter the workforce (and if single usually stayed home with their parents), there was a wealth of single, jobless women that had lots of time, useful hands and were enthusiastic helpers! Now, even if you have single sisters, relatives and friends, they all have JOBS. Ugh.

    It’s like Elizabeth Bennet telling Jane that she (Liz) will remain single and teach Jane’s 10 children to embroider and play the piano ‘very ill.’ Haha.

    • Great point. The wealth of single, jobless women is actually the root of the now-pejorative word “spinster.” These women were originally called “spinsters” as a label of respect for the ones responsible for keeping their families clothed.


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