Many of you have seen "The Good Wife's Guide," which was published in Housekeeping Monthly in 1955. If you haven't, it is a must-read.
I remember the first time I read the guide. I was taking a Marriage and Family class at OSU-Tulsa, and the professor handed it out and everybody began to laugh. What crazy ideas!? I remember laughing myself, but at the same time thinking how wonderful it would be to live that kind of picture-perfect life. At the time, I was due to get married in about 6 weeks. I was 21 and ready to be the perfect bride and even more perfect wife! This would be my guide, with a few updates.
I thought I would follow these guidelines:
- Have dinner ready. Easy enough. I am still pretty good at this one, even with three small children. I usually have dinner ready by 6:15- and I make his favorite meal regularly (probably because it is Jack's favorite meal too). Step one to being the perfect housewife- check!
- Prepare Yourself. This sounds so wonderful, and I do put on makeup or a spritz of perfume occasionally. Although these days it is more like- "Get dressed so he doesn't know you stayed in pajamas all day." Maybe I will aspire to do this more often.
- Clear away the clutter. This also sounds easy enough and ideal. Everyone likes to come home to a clean house, right? Well... between accomplishing step 1- having dinner ready- and having 2 toddlers running around (and an infant) this one is a definite failure these days. Maybe someday (like when the kids are in college).
- Make him comfortable. While I never planned on fluffing a pillow and helping him take off his shoes, I did have the picture in my head of greeting him at the door with a drink and sitting down for a few minutes. This comes from tales of my mom's parents. My grandmother would greet my grandfather with a drink and they would have at least 15 minutes alone together (without kids) in the living room. If she could do it with 6 kids, why couldn't I? Well... my grandmother had full-time help. Maybe if I had a maid who cooked my family 3 meals a day and cleaned the house I would greet J.P. with his favorite drink everyday too. Another big, fat failure!
I knew, even then, that I would never follow these guidelines:
- Make the evening his. Yes, my husband goes to work all day. I know work is stressful, and it is nice to come home and unwind. But, the fact-of-the-matter is, I have been home with 3 kids all day and the minute he walks in the door means I finally have some help.
- Don't complain if he comes home late... even if he stays out all night. This one if just ridiculous, even in 1955. They still had phones, didn't they? Really!?
- He is the master of the house. No, I don't think so. Enough said.
- A good wife always knows her place. In my case, my place is the same as the women of 1955- barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen! J
I started out with the intentions of being the perfect wife, mother and housewife. I would love to be able to do all of the things I envisioned, but it just isn't going to happen. Maybe someday I will be able to have a few minutes of peace and quiet with my husband when he gets home from work. In the meantime I will do my best to merge these ideals with the realities of the 21st century.