Many people mock those “perfect housewives” guides from the 1950’s, but I do believe there is wisdom in having a few guidelines and parameters to help shape our calling as housewives.
However, as many know, at The Darling Academy, we are more about the heart and the motivation behind our lifestyle and the way we conduct ourselves than specific “tasks”.
Knowing the heart position required, and the motivation of why you should endeavour to become a better housewife is what I’d like to share with you today.
How to be a better housewife.
The way a lady approaches her own personal career as a homemaker looks different for many people. It’s no use me telling you, as a mother of one in a suburban house, how my morning routine or home-education journey works, and then expect you to follow suit - especially if you have six children, another on the way, and a gaggle of farm animals to take care of too. However I can more than help you with your personal approach to your role as a housewife.
You see, if we set aside the manual labour, tasks, routines, and challenges of the housewife - what we really haven’t been taught in recent years, is to be proud of what we do. The very essence of what makes a great housewife is her love for the job itself, because she can clearly see the benefits of the hours of input.
In order to become a better housewife, you may need to cultivate your skills, yes, but we must prepare the ground before we plant our seeds for harvest. If the soil isn’t fertile, then the crop will fail. Our media exposure over the past few decades has only shown women who find housework boring/stressful/suffocating - delete as appropriate. This is not the truth of the matter at all, there are millions of housewives the world over who are more than satisfied with their lives, and know that this vocation is their “true calling”.
I am proud to be a housewife, and you should be too!
I wonder if our desire to be a “perfect” housewife (and to be seen as such) is to prove something to a world that doesn’t value what we do. There truly is no need to seek perfection - once your heart and confidence is in the right place, the rest, will fall into place. Your homemaking will just become better, effortless, joyful, and above all, fruitful.
Once you throw away the idea of trying to prove yourself as “the perfect housewife”, your homemaking will become effortless, joyful, and above all, fruitful! Alena Kate Pettitt
Often I am asked if my life as a housewife is dull, but in all honesty, there is never a dull moment. There is always something to do, and best of all, I get to do it in my time. What is dull about a life lived to please and provide comfort to yourself and your family? I’m even free to write now, something I was never able to do in my 9-5, as I was just too exhausted. I know of other housewives who have taken up creative hobbies, some even bringing in extra income!
Let’s do some heart work, shall we?
Release yourself from the cultural expectations “to work”.
Modern culture as it stands in 2021, just does not understand how being a housewife can itself be work, or fulfilling, liberating, and above all - fun. It’s a sorry state of affairs that the most important work any wife and mother can do for her family in-home is mocked, yet the work she does when she leaves that nest is considered “empowering”, and should be celebrated.
I truly believe that many women are caught between their inner desire to be a housewife, and their desire, not to mention the expectation placed upon them, to please other people, and to fit in with what “the world” is doing. What I mean by “the world” is all those people, close to you or not, who question your choices and overlook you because of them.
The very first step in becoming a better housewife is to shed yourself of any cultural or modern expectations placed upon you as a 21st century woman, and embolden yourself to do exactly what you feel called to do as a housewife and mother. If you have your husband on-side, then why on earth should anyone’s opinion (yes, even your Mother’s) matter? When you set up home with your husband and started a family, you created a new life, one to be lived according to what makes your nuclear family happy, not one according to what you are “told” you should be doing.
If we constantly live according to other people’s expectations, are we ever truly capable adults, or free thinkers?
It is your duty as a wife and a mother to do your best by your husband and children, and if homemaking is your calling - then my darling, do it with pride! Rare is it, that a woman truly knows what she wants to do with her life. You are lucky in that way, because if you love what you do, then you shall never “work” another day in your life. Can your working sisters say the same?
Realise this is what you signed up for, and commit to it.
We often hear that housewives of yesteryear complained of boredom - yet, they were the ones who backed themselves into a corner of just scraping by, complaining about “their lot”, or not doing very much! Were the housewives of that era actually dissatisfied because they were non-committal and couldn’t see the blessings of what they already had?
If something had “always been that way”, then of course you’d wonder what else is out there for you, but now we know what that else is, is it actually better? Women of the past, and women who chase everything want more, but honestly more than likely end up stressed, and with less. More money and opportunity perhaps, but less time to themselves, and, dare I say it, less respect for their “second shift” at home. The proof is in the pudding. There is no longer any respect for homemaking on a global scale! The career woman has won the popularity contest, but what has she sacrificed for it? Sacrifice and commitment must be made for whichever choice you make, but you can only truly commit to one.
Why would you want two jobs out of choice? That’s not empowerment, that’s walking into bondage - and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To put it simply ladies, we cannot have it all. A side must be picked, and a choice must be made, else we’ll end up making ourselves ill. Something has got to give - thankfully as housewives by choice, our homes don’t have to be to the side that suffers, but you must remain committed to it, in order for it to be worth your while.
Put as much energy and passion, if not more, into your role as a homemaker as your contemporaries who work outside the home do in their jobs. You’ll walk away with so much more than just a payslip to show for it.
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With the efficiencies of modern appliances, our roles as housewives get easier with each coming year, but that does not mean we should rest on our laurels. We still have a job to do, and it’s not just cleaning! A housewife isn’t a maid, she is the conductor of the home. She sets the tone by which the entire family abide.
A commitment is expected of you as a housewife. Just as your husband is committed to working to put a roof over your heads, clothes on your backs, and food on the table, you have a commitment to make sure that under your roof, things run as smoothly as possible.
When the “commercial work” for your household or marriage is one-sided (i.e. he works for a salary, you don’t), you have a duty to work at home, on your home. The hours and tasks might be different, but it requires just as much effort - it’s what you signed up for when choosing this lifestyle. We see “housewives” in the current media as pampered women lunching all day (Real Housewives franchise), or worse, sitting around unwashed, and in their pyjamas watching daytime television. That’s what the world thinks we do, don’t prove them right.
If you are a committed housewife who takes pride in her work, then you probably don’t have much time for such things anyway. Your days should be full, busying yourself with the work of your hands. This needn’t be just cleaning, or cooking etc, but you should always be mindful of those parts of the home that you can tackle today, and not keep putting it off. Let’s face it, a woman’s work is never done - try not to eat the bread of idleness!
Even when you do see the bottom of the laundry basket, dinner is bubbling away on the stove, and the house is clean - a good housewife will then use that time to invest in her children or hobbies. A lazy housewife wouldn’t even get to that point - as she has been watching TV all day and indulging herself! This is a job ladies, not a holiday camp.
Don’t think your life is dull, you are blessed!
You have the luxury of seeing your world in minute detail and embracing every beautiful second of it! If you have children, you’ll notice every new achievement, be there for their first words and steps, for every school run, and be able to soothe every upset. You aren’t missing out on their all too fleeting childhoods by sitting in an office, and hearing it secondhand from a stranger who is raising your child during those hours you are absent.
You’re also able to notice the changing seasons. If the sun comes out, you can take your work (peeling veg, folding laundry, feeding your child) out into the garden! You have the freedom to down tools (that laundry pile can wait for later) and go to the park to feed the ducks! You can even shift laundry day from Friday to Saturday if the opportunity for a last minute playdate or lunch pops up.
Are your brood feeling a little under the weather today? Make the most of it with a snuggly pyjama day, cook comfort food that will not only heal, but bring smiles to their faces, watch movies and recuperate. You have the blessing of being the mistress of your own time (and not feeling guilty, or having to be apologetic about it), which many working women do not. That’s the biggest blessing of all!
Life as a housewife isn’t a monotonous series of 365 days that look exactly alike. Begin to see your world in weekly rotations, bake and craft something for St Patrick’s Day, and start planning ahead for an Easter menu. Spring clean your home and switch out the decor to bring a little visual change and excitement to your surroundings, then do the same come Autumn. Life isn’t dull if you break it down into weekly goals and live by the seasons.
Remember you are a Queen, and this is your Kingdom.
We must remain mindful of our communities of course, but never forget that within your four walls, there is a domain in which you rule, alongside your King. Life, and its ever shifting “expectations” needn’t exist in your home environment if you don’t want them to. You can live according to what makes you happy. As long as it’s healthy and benefits all.
I know in many instances for our readership, that this is living according to traditional gender roles, or the very least, traditional family values. In a world that is telling us it is harmful or “setting us back” to live according to the model of past generations, we are the ones that know the truth - that it’s actually quite liberating and harmonious! Having grown up in a world where men and women are at war all the time (in the workplace, the street, and especially at home), to know that your own little world is a haven, where everyone is committed to his/her part and not warring over who is/isn’t doing something is a glorious feeling.
You don’t have to share everything 50/50 in order to be happy! You both have your strengths, so play to them! Kings and Queens rule together, side by side - they are not at war between themselves. Bake that cake while he hangs a shelf. There’s no shame in it!
Ponder your future, and your old age memories.
What does your ideal future look like, and how do you want to feel about your life when you look back on it? People nearing the end of their lives never wish they had spent more time chained to their desks, or chasing career status and money. In fact, those pursuits are some of their biggest regrets!
They all wish that they had spent more time with those that they love, and this is the exact position you are in! Do you also want your children to look back on their childhoods and remember rushed evening meals, or letting themselves into empty homes after school?
This very last point is probably the most profound. When you look to the future, and question how your family will all look back on your life - it will shape your today.
The humble work of the housewife and mother today, is shaping a future generation’s tomorrow. Now that is important “work”! Alena Kate Pettitt
Being a family blessed enough to have a wife and mother at home will ensure your lives aren’t all about work, school, career, money, or status, but instead about memories, quality time spent, and a home full of life, grace, faith, and love.
When that is your driving force - working towards building that lifestyle and those future memories. That alone, will make you a better housewife, whether you’re amazing in the kitchen, or not.
You don’t need to work on your perfectionism darling, but you should consider the impact of your presence, the daily graces, and the small ways in which you serve your family. That’s something to be proud of over all the “doing and achieving”. That’s what makes you a better housewife.
It's a blessing to stay home.
Among the daily work of my own life as a housewife, I write these articles. I do so because I honestly believe we need to hear these truths - housewives of our day are not idle, oppressed, miserable, or “economically inactive”.
We are simply a multitalented bunch of ladies with different priorities to the current “norm”, and it’s ok to feel, act, and live differently to your peers. It’s ok to “just” want to be a housewife.
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