Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The New Breed of Housewife

There has been a lot of talk about change in the last few weeks, and it is my belief that most of the changes that have occurred in the last few decades have been for the better. When my mom was in grade school her school was segregated. When my dad turned 18 he was nearly drafted. Neither of my grandmothers ever worked; they stayed home and raised children and tended to the housework. Now, schools are no longer segregated, the draft is no longer used, and us wives do anything but stay at home.

A lot of women still stay home and raise their children and tend to the housework, but it is still vastly different than it was 40 years ago. Women who stay home today do so because they want to, not because they have to. They also have identities other than mom and wife because they have friends that don't stay home with their kids. They go out and do things for themselves without their kids. For those of us who either don't have the means or the desire to stay home with our kids, we are no longer looked down upon. We are the new breed of housewife.

The new breed of housewife could hardly be called a housewife. We work in jobs outside of the house. We drop our kids off at daycare every morning and commute to work to sit at a desk. When we return home, we are just as exhausted as our husbands are and just as unwilling to make dinner or do the dishes. For Halloween this year, my "housewife" co-worker and I dressed up as '50s housewives. The irony in it is that we are not even a little bit like these women. My dress that I wore needed to be ironed, and when I went to iron it the night before I realized that I didn't even know how to turn the iron on. My coworker baked a casserole for the work potluck that day and as it turns out, it is the only thing she knows how to make. I hate cleaning, and I only do it now on Sundays, which is way more than I used to. In my house we take turns doing the dishes, and I bitch the whole time. We also take turns making dinner. We each have our specialties and certain things that each of us is always in charge of (I seem to always undercook the rice and it turns out crunchy). My coworker never cooks. Her husband does all of the cooking, and he is pretty darn good at it. She does all the cleaning. It is a fair trade for 2 people who both work full time jobs outside of the home.

These fair trades are popping up all over the place. There are dads that stay home with the kids, there are mom's that are the breadwinners, there are stay-at-home moms who drink wine together while their children play so that they get a taste of life outside of mommyhood. We moms and wives all over the world are being who we want to be. We think what we want to think, say what we want to say, do what we want to do, vote for who we want to vote for. We are changing the way the world sees women. It is a change I believe in and I am glad to be a part of it.

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