Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I need a housewife

Of course I'm being facetious. But I've been thinking about the idea of one adult in a family staying at home. In a perfect world it's probably the best way to run a household. Let me explain.

I looked around my house this morning and sighed. It's a mess. The bookshelf needs dusting, last night's dishes are still in the sink, our wood floors have puppy paw prints on them, and I spied several dust bunnies in the corners. I'm not even going to mention the pile of mail that needs to be opened. Then, there are the errands that need to be run. I hope the dry cleaners hasn't given away those clothes we put in last month.

It takes a lot to run even our modest home. Here's the problem: My husband and I both work long hours and have long commutes. We make it home each evening just in time to scarf down a quickly thrown together dinner, spend time with my stepson, try to do a little something to restore ourselves (like blogging) and collapse. Then, on the weekends we try to make up for the work week, running to and fro, cleaning, dusting, doing the laundry, oh yeah, and spending time with one another. Everything always seems so hectic, because running a household is a full-time job in itself. In today's two-paycheck families, someone ends up doing both their outside job and trying to do their home job as best they can. Let's face it, it's (unfairly) usually the woman. Now my husband agrees that home responsibilities should be shared, but it still makes for a tiring life.

So, yes, I understand the traditional family set up where one adult works outside of the home and one works inside the home. What I don't believe is that the stay-at-home person must be a woman. I love my job and wouldn't want to give it up. None of this takes into account personal fulfillment. Hmmm, I wonder if Mr. What Tami Said is interested in being a househusband.

My family's reality, like that of many others, is that we need both paychecks. Now, one could say we need two full-time paychecks because of consumerism and all the things we've acquired. You might be right, but that's a discussion for another time. For now, the idea of either of us not working outside the home is impossible. So, we turn a blind eye to the dust bunnies, kick the laundry into the closet and go about our lives.

How do you effectively run a modern household, support a family, and ensure that both partners are doing work that fulfills them?


Mes Deux Cents said...


"How do you effectively run a modern household, support a family, and ensure that both partners are doing work that fulfills them?"

I think the answer to this post is in your post A Year Of living Frugally.

I have already decided that my goal next year is to downsize and to move. My rent is more than most people in other states pay for a house note. That's crazy. So I'm going to simplify my life.

I've already started (see today's post) and by next August I'm going to make a major move.


Luna said...

Your description of a typical day and typical weekend at yr household is almost the EXACT clone of day and weekend at mine--except that for stepson you can substitute 'various paperwork items related to the ongoing adoption of a baby' and for puppy prints you can substitute 'care of several felines.' I swore in high school I would never be a housewife. (Who woulda guessed that no one would ever invite me to be one.) Now having a day to cook and clean without the frantic rushing seems like a wonderful luxury and I enjoy domestic tasks and household projects. What's the answer...well, it partly may be living more frugally and striving for less. But, part of the answer is also about changing the way society assigns value to personal life and family time. There is a lot of lip service paid to the importance of family and home, but then at the end of the day, its all only important enough to cram it all into about 2 hours--at the end of the day. BTW I just found your blog via racialicious. I really enjoy your writing!

Tami said...

Welcome, Luna! You sound like me. If you had asked me in college whether I would ever yearn for more domesticity, I would have laughed in your face. But now that I am in my 30s, I see the value in home life and wish I had more time to attend to it.

I completely agree about society not truly valuing quality personal lives and family. We say they are important, then we worship power, status and material things.

I'm glad to have you on my blog. I hope you'll visit often and contribute.

Sage said...

I loved this post!

Like, you, my husband and I have f/t jobs and TWO toddlers running lose. (LOL)

We tend to make sure that the kitchen (can't cook in a dirty kitchen), bathroom (can't sit on a dirty toilet), and living room (those darned unexpected guests!) are cleaned on the daily.

The bedrooms (and laundry)...we get to them when we can (weekends usually).

Other than that...we ignore the dust bunnies like you! :-)

DMB said...

True! Whether folks want to admit it or not, the ideal (for most--nut not neccessarily ALL families) is where someone is home a large part of the day!

Unfortunately, we have succumbed to the materialism of a society that deems a household needs TWO paychecks.

I read an interesting book ( I forgot the title and author!!) that talked about how families back in the day were able to survive on one income--unthinkable in these days and times! (including things like having only ONE car per family and stuff like that....)

We can't imagine going back to basics in this day. Most would look at it as going backwards. But the truth is, such simpler living could potentially save a lot more families and produce happier children in the long run. Maybe.

Tami said...

DMB, you are absolutely correct about materialism. Could the book have been The Overspent American? I'm reading that now and it is excellent.

Welcome to my blog. I found yours through MDC and I quite enjoy it.


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