Friday, September 24, 2010

A Man's Place

You may recall seeing an old article, circulated on the modern-day internet via funny news, emails or youtube videos, entitled "The Good Wife's Guide," which described a women's ideal role in the 1950s. Several times this article has crossed my screen, and I have reviewed it in utter astonishment over how much things have changed.

Here is a link to a summarized version of the article, because this picture is too small to read. Some of my favorite entries are:

*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.
*Some Dont's: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

Overall, it's about being the stereotypical perfect house wife. And, who couldn't use one of those? Now, most modern folks, because of the feminist movement and our general progression further into enlightenment, would probably label this article and its opinions as strictly oppressive and degrading to women. And for the most part, I would agree.

However, a discussion of this article cannot exclude the comment that the 1950s were a different time entirely, and if my history is correct, most women didn't work outside of the home. So, as oppressive of demeaning as this article may appear, I have come to a place where I can appreciate to some small degree the advice (yes, I said "advice") given here.

For about 5 weeks now, Heather has worked as a pharmacist for Rite Aid before we venture to the great northwest. And for most of that time I have had little to do that involved generating income. I've stayed productive, of course, getting us ready to move and such; however, a large portion of my time has also involved keeping up the apartment. For several weeks now, I have had my first real chance to be a house husband.

On days she works, Heather usually has to work for 12 hours. This means she needs a lunch and snacks for the day, and she will be hungry when she get's home. So, most mornings I pack her a wonderful lunch with extra snacks to munch on, and I have to plan dinner for that night. I take care of the kids (dogs) and keep our place tidy during the day.

What I have noticed as I've filled this role for the past month is this: Though it may sound very oppressive for a man to expect or demand dinner on the table when he gets home after work, I have found that I want to have food ready for Heather to eat. Because, I know she's tired and hungry. Cleaning house as women's work may sound like beating a dead stereotypical horse; but, again, I like being able to gift my wife with a clean environment when she's unwinding at night.

Doing these things and a few others actually gives me a sense of accomplishment for the day. I mean really, how lame would I be if she came home after a 12-hour shift followed by a 45-minute drive and I was in my underwear on the couch playing video games with potato chip crumbs all down my shirt (or shirtless belly. Eww)?

So, while this infamous article about a woman's place and gender roles sounds pretty horrible to our ears, it may have sounded a bit different to it's original audience. After all, if I could read an article that gave me a few tips on how to better make Heather happy upon arriving from work, I'd gladly read it.

Suggestions anyone? I've got on my apron and am ready for action!

5 comments:

Robert L said...

You are a role model and a hero to all of the ideal stay-at-home husbands around the globe. All women should strive to find as loving and sensitive a man as you, who can appreciate their hard work and the stress they go through to provide for you while they are away.

Maybe you could hold group meetings weekly for the other husbands in the neighborhood to come up with ideas on how best to please your wives and make sure that when they get home, they will be able to unwind and rest up for the next day's work.

Love you guys. You are too funny. Going to miss you when you are in Alaska.

Alle Photography said...

You are such a great house husband Matt! haha....

Erin Miller said...

I am bringing recipes to our yaarunion! Oh wait, you only make things with bacon. OK I will bring you a jello mold then! I like your perspective on the "oppression" though. I bet there were many wives who made a career out of being great homemakers and were really fullfilled by it.
PS this might be a good time for you to watch Arnold S's movie Junior.

Anonymous said...

James Brown said, "It's a man's world, but it wouldn't mean nothing without a woman or a girl." I like your thoughts on this article. Being a "great house husband" is a wonderful gift to Heather. I wish you both the best in the great northwest. GJ

Vicki Hesse said...

Love the apron idea, maybe I'll use it with my beloved! Thanks for posting this and for continuing to gender-bend. I will miss you so much. keep on blogging and let me know how the cooking goes!