If you ask, "What is a doctor?" or "What is a fire fighter?" To those questions one might answer, "A person who takes care of sick people, prescribes medicine, gives advice and direction" and "A person who puts their life in danger to save people in dangerous situations, puts out fires and stands in intersections around Labor Day holding a boot."
So really, what is a housewife?
Dictionary.com defines a housewife as, "A married woman who manages her own household, esp. as her principal occupation." It also lists it as "archaic" and "offensive to some" and suggests homemaker as a substitute.
I'm a wife, I pretty much don't leave me house. The word housewife isn't offensive to me, but I'm kind of old-fashioned that way. But what I do is so much more than merely "manage my household."
What I'm doing now is my dream job. Before we had kids I worked as a Pharmacy Technician in a hospital pharmacy. I was a cocktail waitress in my pre-kid days as well. I worked as a daycare teacher and I've been a secretary/receptionist, too. In recent history I worked in Child Welfare at DHS. All of those are rewarding jobs and I liked most of them, but doing what I'm doing now is what I'm supposed to do. My family likes me being here and I like being here. It works for us. We do without a lot, we've had our times where there wasn't enough money to pay the bills and there were even times I felt the walls closing in for lack of conversation that didn't center around Elmo, boogers or poop, but this is my job and it's the one I've stuck with longest.
Wanna know a secret? Hugs from kids that smell faintly of outside, puppy and dirt, spontaneous, rare smiles from a usually-sulking teenager, having someone tell you your kids are great, being available to pick up sick kids from school without having to worry what my boss thinks, hearing "Momma! Guess what?" and wearing sweats to work are what keep me coming back day after day.
Now, while I speak glowingly of my job, there are many, many requirements and downsides, too. However, all the kid puke, shower scrubbing and hearing the comment, "Oh, you're just a housewife," is worth it to be doing something I love and to be able to wear sweats to work. HUGE job perk, those elastic waistbands.
Now, before you trade in your retirement to become one of the ranks you might want to research this position a little more. Here are the specs on this particular housewife:
Cook/Chef/Baker - Daily, many times. Green things are limited to green beans and only four of us eat those. There's lots of spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes and animal crackers on the menu around here. Casseroles and I have a deep, meaningful relationship. I can hide vegetables in anything.
Dust-er - If by dusting you mean being able to write my name in all horizontal surfaces, then yeah, I do that.
Vacuum-er - I actually have an eight year old that loves this task. Score.
Sweep-er - I have a 13 year old for this. She hates it, but she hates to hear me harp at her even more.
Mopper (rarely) - Mopping is stupid. The floor just gets dirty again. Duh.
Cobweb Removal Specialst (rarely) - This happens usually once a year, right before the family gets here for Festivus.
Silly Putty on the Bedspread Removal Specialist - Only once, thank God. Silly Putty has since been outlawed in this house.
Turner offer of the weather radio - Because someone *cough cough the man I married cough* thinks storms are awesome to sleep through.
Setter of alarms/Waker upper of children - Because I am the only person in the house that responds to an alarm. Hope I'm here if the house catches fire.
Loader of the Dishwasher - I'm the only one that can do it right. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Shopper of the Groceries - Because if my husband did it we would live on microwave burritos and frozen pizzas and would have a closet full of really, really awful toilet paper and the tissues without lotion.
Organizer of the Calendar - Mine is color-coded and everything. A gigantic desk calendar mounted to the dining room wall - best thing I ever bought myself. I can manage three kids' schedules, two of whom played basketball in different towns on the same day at four different times while keeping track of school pictures, field trips and church dinners. My husband was once found in the fetal position after I asked him to check the calendar during basketball season. It ain't for sissies.
The Getter Upper in the Night with Puking Children - Those alarms he "doesn't hear"? Yeah, he "doesn't hear" sick children either. Convenient, huh?
Checker of/Helper with Homework - However, my expertise ends when the children get into Middle School Math. Then they are their father's responsiblity.
Payer of the Bills - He knows where the bank is located and that they will give you suckers if you just say there are kids in the car. That's pretty much it.
Sewer on of Buttons/Hot Glue-er of Broken Things - Those are pretty much the extent of my sewing skills, but I do own a sewing machine and someday hope to use it.
Creator of Valentine Boxes/Halloween Costumes/Career Day Ensembles - I have made a two foot tall 3-D SpongeBob, two robots and a TV out of styrofoam cooler (complete with antenna AND power cord) for Valentine boxes. I found a shopping cart so my daughter could be a bag lady for Halloween. I came *this close* to showing cleavage for Krispy Kreme paraphenalia for my son's Career Day until he changed his mind and went with actor, which pretty much required him to just use his hands a lot and look morose.
Worrier Over Fevers/Rashes/Tummy Aches/Dental Visits/Calls from the Principal - I excel at this particular one.
Receiver of Dandelion Boquets/Pictures Drawn with Your Own Sharpies Which Bleed Through Onto the Dining Room Table/Enough Refrigerator Art to Open Your Own Museum/Coupon Books at Christmastime Good for Clean Rooms That Never Happen and Free Hugs - Better than a 401k any day.
** Monday MckLinky is something the Real Housewives of Oklahoma will do well, every Monday, so make sure you visit the Real Housewives site every Monday morning so you can play along! (Yes, today is Wednesday. Go with it, okay? It's launch day and we're all aflutter.) All the cool housewives do Monday MckLinky, ya know. And you know you wanna be cool.