Life can be wonderful for the keeper of the home. We get to cook meals that people enjoy. We get to have happy homecomings each day as our husband walks through the door. We get to have a pile of children on our laps for story time. Little ones that follow us as if we were the most glorious and important human in the world. We get to make our house a home with our special feminine touch. There is no greater calling for a woman than that of the housewife.
I would like to share an excerpt out of a home economics textbook from the 1950s with you. Today these guidelines are laughable to most women, showing the decline in the value of this calling. It used to be thought of as a privilege, not a yoke.
Girls were taught from their mothers how to be a good housekeeper and a good wife. My grandmothers were both exemplary in this area. It was the norm. They grew up knowing this was their privilege. My grandmother never once complained about serving her husband and home. She considered it her duty, rising before the crack of dawn to throw a load of laundry in and begin to fix breakfast for grandpa. They would sit at their humble table, quiet, and joyful. The aroma of coffee and ring bologna still brings me the visual of early morning breakfasts with my grandparents. Grandma whirling around grandpa, cheerfully serving and honoring him all of her days.
This is not the norm today, in fact, it has not been normal since the 1950s. Women's liberation has influenced many of us, especially when we think of how often we cater to ourselves and ignore these guidelines. I know people say this write up is a hoax, and that could be, but it still causes me to ponder. And I do not feel one bit oppressed as a woman to read this and consider...
Have dinner ready.
I think I have struggled with this the most earlier in our marriage. Most days when my husband would come home after a long day of work he would look around and smell. Nothing. I would look at his hungry face and ask, "What would you like?" His answer was always, "I do not know." He would have to help me cook just so he would get to eat sooner. I know. This is really terrible. My whole life I forgot to eat. I just do not feel hungry like others do. As the children sprang forth into our home, they let me know when they wanted to eat and it taught me to be mindful of the dinner table. Later in our marriage, I recognized what a blessing it was for him to walk into the smell of food cooking and know that it will only be a few moments before we would be eating a meal together as a family.
Rest and freshen up? That sounds nice. I guess I never tried this. 15 minutes before my husband gets home, I am always cooking up a storm. I bet the more relaxed and planned way about this would be to have dinner ready and sitting in the oven on warm until he enters. I could freshen up and relax a bit so I am not glued to the stovetop. My hands would be free to give him a great big welcome home hug. :)
Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.
I watch the dog greet him when he comes home. So overly happy and excited. The tail is just wagging out of control. I think the dog is happier to see him than I am by the looks of it. I want to be like that faithful beast that stops what ever I am doing and just runs to be the first to greet him.
Clear away the clutter.
I hate clutter to begin with. When the kids were little, my husband would kick toys out of his way and he would say, "They have too many toys!" I learned to designate a toy area in a corner of a room where if there would be a toy spill, my husband would not even notice it. As the children got older, I taught them to have their toys in their rooms all organized and if they play with one, they can not take another out until they put away the first. It was a great habit for them to get into. My husband is blessed to come home to an uncluttered home. You can see it in his face. He is just so much more relaxed.
During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.
We have always had a wood burning stove, so I can relate to this. Often times my husband would come home and the house was cold. He would open the door of the stove to see the coals were out. When you have a wood burning stove, you know it takes a long time to get the fire going again. Now that Miles is older, I remind him to keep that fire going all day. It is just nice to have a warm house and a happy husband who appreciates not having to make a fire when he had been working all day.
Minimize all noise.
Well, our kids are not that quiet and I do see the frustration when my husband had been gone all day and he comes home to a bunch of noise. He will shout out "quiet!" and I know it bothers him. I have been trying to get the children to be more peaceful in the home. I tell them to go outside, since it is really nice out, to wrestle or talk loudly.
Be happy to see him.
I truly am happy to see him when he comes home. When I see that truck roll into the driveway, I just get such a joy in my heart and a sigh of relief. I am so thankful he made it back home safely and I get to see him another day. What a blessing to me.
Listen to him.
Yeah, sometimes I zone out and do not hear all that he is saying. I have this tendency to latch onto a picture in my mind after he says one thing and I keep going on that thought. I do not hear the rest of what he is saying. I have to work on focussing on each word instead of traveling down a bunny trail that I dream up in my mind. I am such a dreamer!!! :)
Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
I agree with this although I do have a habit of tattling on the children when he comes home. I tell him what things they did that upset me. I am sure that i
s not a fun thing to come home to.
Make him comfortable.
He seems more concerned about my comfort when he comes home. He sees me standing there at the stove and tells me to sit down and put my foot up. He is just that kind of person. I like to see him sit down and relax after our meal. It is fun to curl up next to him.
Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.
He would never have me take his shoes off unless he was injured. He likes to keep his shoes on because he has chores to do. I have had to work hard at not complaining about him keeping them on! I was brought up in a home where mom always made us remove our shoes before entering the home. My husband made it clear that he would like to keep them on but that he brushes them off really well first. He really does. The kids like to walk in with their shoes on, and they say "well, dad does", I say, "Well, dad pays the bills. When you start paying the bills you can leave your shoes on as well." Case closed.
Speak in a low, soothing, pleasant voice.
Well, I have a louder kind of voice. I do try to tone it down and be more meek but it just doesn't always work. Every time I try to be like someone else, it always backfires because he likes me just the way I am.
Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity.
I agree. I think he is a good leader and he usually always makes wiser decisions than I do. I defer to him because he is practical where I am more flighty at times. I think if I would question his integrity, it would be very degrading. I would feel the same if he was questioning my integrity. It goes both ways. It is just not very nice either way.
And lastly – A good wife always knows her place.
My place is with my family! I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband and just a nice family. True happiness comes with wanting what you have! I want what I have and I am happy!
I thought this was fun to go through, myself. I know it is complex and some people will feel oppressed reading this. Coming from a very women's lib background, I can say, life is wonderful when you embrace the gift of being a homemaker and wife! It's a wonderful life.