There’s still a large misconception that the role of the modern housewife is the same as it was in previous centuries. For example, my husband asks me to iron shirts for him like I know where the iron is, I know how to iron correctly, and I care to iron, which I don’t. Because in my house the iron has been replaced with the dryer. It’s easier and just as hot. If you think about it, a dryer is basically just a giant tumbling iron.
Of course, like Madonna, the modern “housewife” has reinvented herself over the years. Most of us with our clothes on—not all, most. Some with a cone bra. To examine this idea further, let’s break it down into five groups of women who do not fit into the stereotypical housewife category. They are:
I was never able to watch this show on a regular basis because I was too busy operating the dryer for ironing purposes. But, from what I understand it was a lot of drama that I’ve never experienced as a housewife. The most drama I see on a weekly basis is watching my toddler throw an Academy Award-winning tantrum because her gloves don’t fit on her feet.
Real Housewives of Anytown, USA
These women wear dresses made by Italian designers—whose names I can’t spell. They drink wine out of the bottle, instead of a box and drive cars that aren’t littered with crushed crackers and dried juice on the upholstery. I don’t know how your household runs, but that’s not very “real” to me. Real housewives driving real minivans, with real throw up on their shirt, with real screaming kids in the back seat is what “real” really is.
Housewives by Night, Working Moms by Day
These women do everything that stay-at-home moms do plus carry the weight of a full-time job. They are the superhero equivalent of the modern mom. They also sew their own capes while washing dishes and changing diapers with only their toes.
Housewives with Help
Occasionally you’ll hear about a housewife who has a cleaning lady or a nanny—au pair if you’re trendy, domestic assistant if you’re into political correctness. Some people would ask if these women are really “housewives.” I would ask if these women’s cleaning ladies accept store-bought-baked goods in exchange for toilet cleaning because if so, I’m interested.
Gold Star Housewives
These moms somehow get twenty-eight hours in a day when the rest of us only get eight. They do all they’re expected to do and more with ease, grace, and finesse. They juggle routines, schedule play dates they actually attend and volunteer their time to organize bake sales. They have home cooked meals ready every night by 5:00 p.m. and do it all without having to choose between brushing their hair or their teeth.
And then, there’s me.
My house is always a mess; my laundry’s piled up, and dinner is never ready by 5:00 p.m., if we even have dinner. Which we probably won’t because the dryer just beeped and I need to get back to my “ironing.”