I’m A Terrible Housewife And I Don’t Give A S**t
It’s 2015, yet the notion persists that being a female in a marriage means you take on the lion’s share of the cooking, cleaning, childrearing, and general homemaking. Cleaning products are still largely marketed to women. Cookbooks and food blogs still implore you to cook meals your man will love. So much has changed, yet really nothing has changed at all.
I was reading a post on Babble recently by a woman who admitted she feels insecure letting her husband do things for her because she thinks it means she’s not a good wife. The author isn’t a very good cook, and even though her husband is a great cook and enjoys it, she has a hard time allowing him to take over in that particular arena. And it’s not just cooking, she says. She has a hard time letting her husband take on anything she views as a traditionally ‘wifely’ duty:
“Because how often, as wives, do we feel we have to follow a certain ‘script’ to be a good partner? To be the epitome of the perfect wife? Aren’t we supposed to hum while cleaning, serve up a hot meal to our hardworking husbands, and always be creative in the kitchen and bedroom?”
While I was reading, I kept trying to think of a time when I felt like this in my marriage, and I have to admit I couldn’t come up with one. I don’t relate to that innate sense of duty at all. I’m a terrible housewife, and even more than that, I really don’t care.
When I got married and had children, I harbored no illusions that I’d be happily cleaning or humming while serving anything to anyone. Don’t get me wrong; I do plenty to take care of my family. It’s just that my husband does too. And I let him because we’re partners and we made vows to live together as equals. That means he does the laundry because I hate doing it, and I take over cleaning the bathrooms because he sucks at it. It means he gets up with the baby in the middle of the night because we formula feed and I let him, and I don’t feel guilty about it.
I work from home and take care of our kids, but I am not a homemaker. I feel no obligation to put in extra work making my home sparkle just because I’m here a few more hours a day than my husband. The dishes in the sink aren’t my job. They’re just another a chore that needs to get done, and the first one of us who gets twenty free minutes will do them. Stringent gender roles need not apply.
I’m sure there are couples who operate just like we do, and still more who do it totally differently. It’s okay. All that matters is figuring out what works for you. I happen to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad housewife, and so far it’s working for me. I’m exactly the partner I vowed to be and no one in my house would expect anything else.