Musings Jan 2012

January 5, 2012 

I'm not your typical housewife. And by that, I mean that I'm not actually married; which I understand is a requirement for that title. But I do understand the whole marriage thing because I've watched a lot of sitcoms. Despite my years of experience though, I decided it would be a good idea to do some research just in case. During my search for marital knowledge, I came across some excerpts from a 1950's home economics book giving advice to young ladies about how to be the perfect housewife. I was quite intrigued by this and soon found myself wondering if I could be a 1950's housewife. I'm sure I have a set of pearls somewhere.

✿ 1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs.

Let's see. Does a ham and cheese Hot Pocket say, "I'm thinking about you"? Thanks to the modern marvel of preservatives, no one really has to worry about planning dinner too far ahead. I wonder what June Cleaver could have done with her day if she had only had access to a microwave. Mrs. Brady probably wouldn't have needed a maid if convection ovens had come along a little sooner. By the way, why did Mrs. Brady need a maid? That house wasn't that big and she didn't seem to work outside the home. It never was sufficiently explained why an able-bodied woman with six energetic kids needed live-in help. I always suspected it was because Alice was getting a really good deal on ground chuck because of her tawdry relationship with the butcher. Six kids are a lot of mouths to feed after all.

✿ 2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking.

I've never owned a hair ribbon, but I think I still have a Union Jack doo-rag from back in high school. It's probably not very fresh anymore. Seriously, this point is not very realistic at all. The best you can hope for when I'm at home is that I'll wear the good pair of sweatpants that doesn't have a hole in the crotch. And if by fresh, you expect me to take a shower sometime over the weekend.....

✿ 3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order.

I'm confused. According to Point #2, I'm supposed to be napping for 15 minutes before he arrives. Am I supposed to be dusting or tying a ribbon in my hair? Anybody who knows me knows that it would take considerably more than a dust cloth to make my home into any kind of haven of rest and order. That would take a wheel barrow and a dumpster.

✿ 4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces.

Again, how many minutes am I taking to prepare things? Now I have to wash the kids' faces too? What about their hair? If I have to tie ribbons, I'm going to need another ten minutes. Is that supposed to come out of my nap time or my dusting time?

✿ 5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile.

Hey, if I've spent precious nap time fiddling around wiping some kid's nose, I won't be greeting anyone with a warm smile. And did anyone laugh out loud when they read the part about encouraging the children to be quiet? I haven't officially checked, but I'm certain that it is quite illegal to give your children a shot of whiskey. Of course, it was the 50's. They hadn't done all of those studies yet about bad things like smoking while you were pregnant or holding a baby in your lap while riding in the front passenger seat of a car.

✿ 6. Things to avoid: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner.

The beauty of Hot Pockets is that they can be prepared at anytime in just minutes. As long as I've already eaten, there's no need to complain. Now, my son might complain about having a ribbon in his hair, but who could blame him? Is asking my husband to pick up some extra dust cloths on his way home considered greeting him with a problem? If I'm not allowed to complain then he's not allowed to complain about a little dust.

✿ 7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice.

If an able-bodied grown man asks me to take off his shoes, I probably would consider arranging a pillow for him afterward. Just remember, I will deny I said that if asked in a court of law. It should also be noted that kicking back in a chair while I'm tending to everything is not a good way to ensure that I'll be using my inside voice. Don't ever ask me to speak in a voice that requires four adjectives to describe it. I can do soft and soothing, but that's it. You want any more than that, marry a Teletubby.

✿ 8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

This is an excellent point. I can't tell you how exhausting it is to have thoughts and feelings of my own.

✿ 9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

Sure thing. There's nothing more relaxing than watching someone else a recliner...with a nice beverage...with a comfy pillow and bare feet....watching a football game. Besides, why would I want to go out of an evening when I've got fun things to do like preparing tomorrow night's dinner and handwashing my hair ribbons so I can keep them fresh?

✿10. The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Why not? After a relaxing day taking care of a house full of kids it should be relatively easy to do. Like I said before, I don't have any personal experience doing any of this stuff, but I've seen it done on TV; usually in less than an hour if you allow for commercial breaks. Imagine how much table dusting and nose wiping can be done in a whole 24 hours.

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