From Huffington Post:
Blogger Jennifer Ball attends a Cabi party.
A contented housewife annoys Ball by confessing to still “just”, being a housewife and being there for her husband and grown children who are living adult lives.
Ball: “Now, as I have stated before, I’m not one to judge a woman by what she does all day. Or so I thought. Because when I overheard one mom, who happens to have two adult children (her youngest is my oldest’s age, 19), reply to that question by saying, “I’m still just a slave to my family!”, I felt something so foreign and cold and icky… no, it wasn’t my ex-husband rubbing up against me…
It was judgment. I heard her say this, and something in me bristled. And a shrew-like voice in my head actually said these words:
WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU DO ALL DAY???”
This was never spoken out loud”
“(To clarify: I didn’t say this out loud. Thank God.)”
Almost immediately, I felt bad. I felt shameful and regretful and worst of all, I felt mean”.
Yes. Thank the heavens.
Her fellow Anne Klein shod housewives may have roundly kicked Ball, if she’d given voice to this sentiment.
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Housewife Scorned.
And American Housewives take house-wiving seriously. Unlike some other nations where house-wiving is an adjunct to a career; to be a housewife in the U.S. is to be a Professional.
But a lifestyle of relative discomfort separates Ball from her compatriots. Ball has had it rough. Her husband turned out to be a loser and she has since scraped from payday to payday to make ends meet for teenage children.
Indigence was a nasty surprise. Her childhood sweetheart dumped her when: “he decided that the co-worker he had started screwing in parking lots after Happy Hour was his soul mate.”
Ouch. And Double Ouch. Ball’s internal monologue continues over the course of the CAbi party:
“That’s when I want to stand up, toss my fork aside and proselytize to these women, to all women who were and are like I once was: comfortable and safe and complacent in their roles as stay-at-home moms. I want to shake them and sit down with them and make sure they have a Plan B. And a Plan C, D, E and yes, even a Plan F. I want them to look at me, and my life, and the shit I’ve slogged through and see that you can Opt in or Opt out or Opt sideways and somehow still find yourself struggling just to make it from paycheck to paycheck.”.
That is a given. After the massive social upheavals of the 70’s through the 90,’s it is imperative that women work on being financially independent even if we remain mostly financially reliant on the Lord and Master. But I think Ball’s inner voice is giving her fellow Moms grief for her own lack of judgement.
I suspect Ball had an easy upbringing. If her parents had a settled, stable life she may have expected just to follow in her parents footsteps
Perhaps she thought a life of ease would be handed to her on a plate.
Life can be a cutthroat exercise. You’ve got to be able to adjust.
Ball is now aware of this:
“Don’t ever make the same mistake I did and put your life in someone else’s hands. And always, always, ALWAYS have a Plan B.”
Some learn this truth earlier than others, One good thing about a tumultuous childhood is that, thereafter, you are deeded Low Rat Cunning in spades.
If the nuclear family¬† deserts you,¬† it becomes a given that others are fallible.
You always have a fallback plan. From your early years you learn that a lot of people can’t be fully trusted. This goes along with wariness of others and a constant search for new opportunities.
Just in case. Not necessarily in case of being deserted or bullied. Life can hurl shit sandwiches¬† at you by way of ill health and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And at the end of the day, no matter how dearly we love them, people have a habit of dying. Whatever the age. The ultimate loss and betrayal.
They may die suddenly, leaving you insanely bereft, or after a long protracted struggle.
Despite thinking the inevitable won’t happen, we are humbled to find we can’t follow them.
So it is imperative and probably unavoidable, that at some stage in our lives, we work on our financial independence but that we also develop an independence of spirit.
So I completely disagree with Ball.
Being a Housewife can be surprisingly satisfying in many areas of
the um bedroom. Umm, I mean Life.
Before you can attempt any Herculean task, it is imperative that the home front be orderly.
My advice to others would be:
Mama, if they must be Housewives; Grow your Babies up to be Good and Cunning Housewives: