Re-thinking the ‘perfect housewife’

Cover of The Compleat Housewife

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When I first started The Undomestic Housewife (exactly a year ago yesterday!), I was on a journey to become domesticated.

Earlier this week though, I was reading D @ Unpolished Parenting’s post, Not Your Typical Housewife, and she got me thinking, what does being a ‘perfect’ or ‘domestic’ housewife mean to me?

I’ve made no secret my plan to become the perfect housewife.  Besides it being a completely unrealistic goal, I don’t think I really mean it, at least not in the traditional sense.  I don’t want to be the 50’s housewife that stays at home all day to clean and cook and turn out a perfectly cooked gourmet dinner every night at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, while making sure I look wonderful for the husband who is returning from work.  I expect my husband to help out, and I’ve been pretty blessed with AMP as he is even more neat and tidy than I am, and does help out quite a bit (most of the time).

But, I just want to be able to do domestic things. 

I grew up with around a gaggle of perfect Italian housewives.  While there were times growing up where my mom worked outside the home, for the most part, she was a stay-at-home mom.  Our house was always clean and dinners always delicious.  My dad has always helped out around the house is some form or another, but my mom mostly took care of everything.  You’d think with such a perfect example to follow, I would have picked up some good skills…

My only saving grace is that I can clean.  Mom made sure of that.  That’s not to say I’m neat and tidy, but I can make the house look sparkling with the best of them… I just can’t seem to keep it looking that way for longer than a couple of hours. 

But, with cooking… That skill is lost on me. My dad has always been a picky eater, so I happily let mom worry about cooking, which now I realize was probably foolish.  Perhaps some practice when I was younger would have made me more confident in the kitchen now.

But, I’m not.  I have no confidence in the domestic skills area…

And, I know I’m always full of new ‘goals’ and resolutions, but I’m thinking that I need to rearrange my priorities…

Right now all I think about is babies…And well, that’s not getting me anywhere.  If I’m going to be a mom someday, I want to learn to be a little more domestic – I want to be the mom who teaches her daughter to make lasagna from scratch, and the best way to clean the bathroom quickly, and how to sew on a button.  I want to be a stay-at-home mom like my mom – the kind of mom who made homemade healthy meals every night of the week…

So for my new challenge, to keep things interesting, I’m going to start scouring cookbooks for recipes, and start practicing.  I’m going to create a cleaning schedule and stick to it.  I’m going to slowly become more domesticated.  Not so I can be the one solely in charge of all things domestic (I know AMP will continue to do his share as always) but so I can finally have some confidence in that one area of my life.

This post inspired (in part) by prompt no 1 at Josie’s Writing Workshop.


14 thoughts on “Re-thinking the ‘perfect housewife’

    • Oh probably – we are our own worst enemies after all.. Lol. I’m sure you’re amazing – I couldn’t imagine moving as far as you did into a completely different culture.

  1. Are you me? Ha ha you sound just like me, and since having Baba I have got better. I can now make a few things from scratch, shepherds pie, toad in the hole etc real traditional foods. My house well I can still make it spotless but within a couple of hours, I blame the two year old and dog, it will never be clean and sparkling all the time. I have learnt to live with it xx

    • Haha. I don’t have a 2 year old or a dog, but I do have my 22-year-old brother-in-law and his cat -and that’s enough for me right now.. And they certainly don’t help in the spotless department. I’m sure one day, with practice, I’ll have pretty good domestic skills.. :)

  2. Have you ever checked out Flylady’s website? I wish I had found her sooner, but in the 5 years I’ve been using her (FREE) system I’ve felt more “domestic” than ever.

  3. I think it’s great you want to become better in those areas. I never really showed any interest in making recipies from scratch and my skills at cleaning leave something to be desired, but there is a sense of accomplishment and pride when I do those things well. FlyLady is a great place to start – she’s got some great tips. So far the only this I follow from her is my spotless sink. Seriously, I’m OCD about that now!

    • Thanks D! I’m trying – like today, I’m going to attempt to make a Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake, from scratch (not out of the box like I usually make it) and see how that goes lol. I’ll have to check out Flylady – you’re the second person to mention it.

  4. My mother is a fabulous cook, had her own catering company, has produced for weddings, banquets and many gorgeous events. My brother is a chef and has won awards for his initiative.
    I’m not l;ike them and feel quite inferior to them when I host Xmas or family get togethers BUT I do my best and I can capably rustle up evening meals and dinner for 10 on New Year’s Eve so, accept yourself, start with something easy and then just go for it. If you make a mistake, you’ll know to correct it next time
    good luck

    • Yea, I think it’s just a matter of my getting over it. I psych myself out and get all worked up, when nobody is expecting me to produce a gourmet meal.. I’m glad someone else understands tho.

    • I make myself a list everytime I’m doing a major cleaning – that way I also feel like I’m accomplishing something when I get to cross it off my list. I really should make a weekly cleaning schedule – my husband tried to make us one (he’s a good cleaner!) but it never stuck.

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