Changing times creates need for more hours maintaining households
Illustration courtesy of KRT
Credit: Steve Schirra
With her face powdered to perfection, she flutters her pretty eyelashes while positioning a succulent turkey in the oven. As her puffy, baby-blue dress swishes around, she glides across the kitchen floor gracefully with a mop in one hand and duster in the other.
She greets her husband with delight as he enters the room. He is amazed by the spotless appearance of his home. The tantalizing aroma of a home-cooked meal wafts through the air. Without further hesitation, the woman attends to preparing the meal and setting the table. In the end, her husband reaps the benefits of her efforts.
But times have changed. According to an article from www.USATODAY.com by Sharon Jayson, today’s housewives are “style-conscious women with brains, who may also be quite sexy.” The article also said TV shows such as “Desperate Housewives” have contributed to this change.
Furthermore, Jayson discussed how women are making the conscious decision to be stay-at-home mothers. Jayson reported about a 2004 study that showed 86 percent of the 4,000 teen girls surveyed said they plan to take time off from work in order to be with their kids in the future. The study was conducted by the Simmons College School of Management.
Maureen Blankemeyer, associate professor of human development and family studies, said contrary to many people’s beliefs of housewives, more hours are being spent doing housework today as opposed to 100 years ago. However, she also said housewives are getting more help from their husbands than they were before.
Blankemeyer said the reason for the extended periods of time spent maintaining households is mainly because our standards of living have become much higher than compared to past years. She also said we are more focused on material objects and making sure our homes are well-kept in appearance.
Blankemeyer said a 2001 study showed 45 percent of adult women preferred to stay at home and take care of their families.
“About one-third of married women with children are currently full-time homemakers,” Blankemeyer said. “Housewives are doing more than before.”
Furthermore, Blankemeyer said housewives tend to feel less accomplished when compared to career women.
“They have a lower sense of well-being, because the work is never done. There’s no sense of control or accomplishment,” Blankemeyer said.
Blankemeyer said women are often told they can juggle housework with a career. In reality, she said this is quite a challenge.
“They can’t do both extremely well,” Blankemeyer said.
Today many career women choose to take care of their children. Blankemeyer said this concept is an example of what is known as a “mommy track.”
“The boss knows, and she knows, that family is a big part of her life,” Blankemeyer said.
Domestic engineer, stay-at-home mom, homemaker. Call her what you want, but today’s housewife takes pride in what she does, and who she is.
Contact features correspondent Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected]