The societal definition of housewife has changed drastically in the last 50 years. This is an excerpt from Housekeeping Monthly from 1955. It is the guidelines as to what made a good housewife (click to enlarge).
These guidelines are from 60 years ago. A time where women were baby and casserole making machines and that was the end of it. After reading this I wondered what made me different from women who followed these guidelines so long ago. The first realization was, I am not a subservient wife. That’s not the breed of woman I am. I think it would freak Tim out if I started acting that way. In these modern times more men say they are attracted to strong women who know who they are. A woman who is willing to go toe to toe with him and speak her mind. When I was 16 my dad made me change a tire in a movie parking lot because his daughter was not going to be a damsel in distress.
While I’m not that breed of woman, what breed of housewife am I? I’m not subservient, I’m not a housewife/mommy, and I’m not Martha Stewart’s clone. Sorry I don’t keep lavender infused ice cubes in my freezer in case company stops by. The only way I could describe myself as a housewife is, I be who I be. I’m type A. I’m organized. I hate huge messes. I love my husband and am still in the honeymoon of my marriage. I get to things when I can. I make lists and try to stick to budgets. I take charge. I’m far from perfect. I like to sometimes just sit. I be who I be.
The point of that ramble? We all be who we be. There aren’t really modern day guidelines to a modern housewife because a modern housewife is a title you make. It’s not a title given to you anymore. We as women have so many options at our feet as soon as we turn 18. Schooling, military, jobs, marriage, being a mom, starts of careers, the list goes on and on. We may start a path we stray from and follow a different fork, but these days we get that choice. We don’t go to college anymore to get a degree in MRS. The cool thing is if you are going to college for that, then that’s fine too.
My husband and I are extremely lucky that his job salary covers us and the life we choose to led. If for some reason that were to change then I would go back out there and get a job to help support my family. Right now though I am helping my family in a different way. I like that our house is clean more often than not. I like that I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us every day. I like not having laundry to the ceiling. I like being excited to come home because I know it’s not chaos behind the door. I like that I can do projects that I want to do.
I guess when we moved to New Hampshire and I became a housewife I made my own guidelines as to what helps my family the most right now. I made a binder that contains all our bills, my to do lists, goals for the month, projects to do, calendars, cleaning logs, etc. I made it because I need organization not only for me but for my family. We do want children and I want to know and understand how to run a household before we get to that challenge of our life. I know no amount of planning will ever prep me enough, but I would at least like to feel that I’m in the shallow end and not drowning.
I’m a modern housewife who is here for her family. I am a housewife who makes decisions with her husband instead of being told our decisions. I am a housewife who cleans in Tim’s old football shorts and recycled t-shirts. I am a housewife who looks at the monthly budget almost daily and pays bills myself. I am a housewife just trying to live life every day like everyone else out there. If you prick me….just kidding it’s not that serious, but you get it. The great thing is, it’s no one’s damn business. You be who you be, and whoever that is, stand behind that version of yourself. Be proud of who you are and if you’re still figuring that out, give yourself that chance. I’m proud of the housewife I’m becoming and all I can really hope for is that I feel the same way in 30 years and that I be my kicky self the whole time.
Your weekly Emily Post about how to live life in a mannerly way. Let me get my white gloves on to type this 😉
“Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or as if you’ve just stabbed the food you’re about to eat”
At our house we eat at the bar and watch TV.