I hear it time and time again: The image of the traditional housewife is unrealistic and unobtainable for any woman.
The argument is that no woman on the planet is capable of stepping out of the pages of something like The Good Wife’s Guide and being the immaculate traditional Housewife that women are expected to be; that the expectations are unrealistic and are ultimately unobtainable for any single person in existence.
The argument does have some merit and might indeed be true for some people. Not everyone can do it, after all, because ultimately there are disabilities, careers, mental illnesses, finances, and all number of things which may prevent someone from actively taking on a domestic role- including a person’s own desires (and the desire not to be a traditional Housewife is just as valid as the desire to be one). It is unfair to expect or demand that these people take on such a burden- or worse, tell them that they are unable to do it because they are simply not trying hard enough.
And I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect; that I do not perform perfectly a hundred percent of the time. There are days when only a few things get done around the house, or nothing gets done at all- days when my Chronic Fatigue means I can barely get out of bed, my Depression makes me think that it is worthless to even try, or my OCD is so bad that not doing anything is much better than attempting to do it all. Expecting myself to be perfect all of the time is really the unrealistic bit. Life happens, Mental Illness happens, and everyone needs a day- or week- to themselves every now and again.
But when I am able, I can attest to the fact that being a traditional Housewife is genuinely not as difficult as it is cracked up to be. There certainly are some requirements and it is not a lifestyle for everyone, but as a general concept it is not near as unobtainable or unrealistic as people think it is; you can actually wear your heels, skirts, and pearls, put on your makeup and do your hair, clean the house, and have supper on the table when your spouse gets home.
In my own adventures I have found that a few key things really make or break the traditional Housewife. Those things are ultimately one’s personal drive, a good set of time management skills, and knowing when to take a break; the want to perform well- as well as the right schedule and routine- makes all the difference.
The biggest factor in one’s drive to do something is their want to do it in the first place.
Ask yourself if you want to be a Housewife- but more importantly, ask yourself what kind of Housewife you want to be. Are you ok with just doing basics occasionally? Do you really want to go the extra mile and become that perfect traditional Housewife? Or do you fall into a gray space somewhere between the two?
Being realistic about what you are capable of is another important factor. This sort of ideology and image is not easy for some people to obtain- and for others it really is outright impossible. It may be that you have to reconcile the want to be the perfect traditional Housewife with the reality that there are mitigating factors outside of your control which mean that you are stuck being the Housewife that maybe mops the floors once a year if you are lucky.
There is no shame in this. Be realistic about how many hours a day you can dedicate to it, how many spoons you have, and more- and if you simply cannot do it, you are no less a Housewife, a person, or a spouse because of it. Do not expect more of yourself than you can actually handle, or ultimately you will end up miserable.
And if you don’t want to do it to begin with? Then don’t. If there are other options available to you, never be afraid to say no. Ultimately you have to want to be here, and you have to derive some sort of personal joy and satisfaction from it- otherwise it simply will not work; hands down, if you do not want to do it then you will fail at doing so.
Time Management and Routine
The reality is that getting everything done in a day- and looking good doing it (or at the end of it)- is a skill that is learned through trial and error. The main key is how you manage your time- which ties in to creating a routine that works the best for you, allows you to get everything done efficiently, and gives you plenty of time to invest in your Spouse, your hobbies, work-from-home opportunities, or anything else that you would like to do.
If you want to be the Housewife that looks well put together, then try to find ways to make your personal appearance a morning priority before anything else gets done. If you are the Housewife that wants to have dinner on the table by the time their Spouse gets home, try investing in Meal Planing and Meal Prep, and familiarize yourself with your Husband’s schedule- when he usually gets off work, how long his commute is, and more.
There are certainly several options to make it all work, you just have to find the options that work best for you. Regardless, without good time management skills, you cannot create an efficient or effective routine. Without a good routine you will become exhausted and you will be overworked- and ultimately you will eventually fail at the task you set before yourself.
The lack of organization and routine, though, is not the only thing that will lead to the degeneration of your dream. Set aside two days a week at minimum– and this really is not negotiable.
Of these two days, the first should be set aside to focus solely on you. This means hanging up the Apron, leaving the dishes for another day, burying your nose in a good book, breaking out the bubble bath, digging into the icecream, and binging on your favorite shows all day… Or whatever else “you time” means to you.
The second day, however, should be devoted to you and your Spouse. You both spend the rest of the week working so hard that sometimes it is hard to find time for each other as a couple. Turn off your cellphones, have a Penny Date, play a card game together, talk about your marriage, or just generally spend some time around each other.
You need a little you time, if you know what I mean- and you and your Spouse need a little you time, too. Without it, becoming overworked and exhausted (and miserable by extension) is almost guaranteed. Yes, even with the most immaculate routine in place and all the drive in the world.