As of late, some of my new friends here in France have asked what kind of life we had back home. Our life was set up in a very traditional manner. I found this old article I wrote for an online magazine years ago, and decided to share with our readers.
The Happy Housewife – The Last of A Dying Breed
By Eva Hamori
The traditional 50’s housewife has dinner hot on the table when Pop gets through the door from a long day at work. Ma looks flawless, hair in place, tidy clothes and never bothers her husband with the trivial details of her long day. She provides a soft place for her husband to fall at the end of his stressful day and has drink in hand for him to take the edge off.
She prepares the kids before his arrival with clean clothes and homework completed. She’s dealt with all the mishaps of their day. She calls, “Everyone he’s almost home! Places please!” A smile goes on. “And don’t you dare bother your father. Let him relax.”
The housewife role has changed somewhat for most of us stay at home moms of this generation. I had the privilege of being home with my kids for two years with each, and then worked only part time since.
The discussion to stay home with my kids was met by great disappointment from some of my female friends. They figured I would go back to school, having so much time on my hands when the kids were babies; write a book, (why not a stay-at-home-mom wrote Harry Potter after her child went to sleep); or start a new business. Of course moms eat bonbons and watch TV soap operas all day so I guess if I gave up my idle behavior, I could have time to solve world peace as well.
However, for me, being my kid’s mom was the most important role I had ever played. Nurturing my kids every step of the way and bonding with them. To help them learn and develop into happy people was in fact my life’s calling and an important job that I did not take lightly.
My children were bed babies, a controversial idea where the infant stays in our bed until weaned. There was no screaming in the night, nor sleepless nights; it was a calm environment. The transfer to their beds was so easy; I couldn’t have planned it better. Daniel was ready for his bed with no feedings through the night under 2 years-old, which was just in time for Angelina’s arrival. I believe that the compound of my breast milk changed in the last trimester carrying Angie and it triggered a response in Daniel to naturally move away from me. Angelina stayed longer, as she was a premature baby and did not eat any food until one year of age. She stayed for the two full years and then moved herself into her new bed. Not one scream came from the children, just one day they moved to their own rooms.
Becoming a mother was filled with contentment those early years but idle never. I cooked whole food meals from scratch, grew an organic garden, took care of all the errands, volunteered at their schools, had the play dates each week, baked the cookies, but never did I think I wasn’t working my tail off. Never did I think, I’m so under productive, maybe I should pawn my kids off on a daycare to use this time for my own self-growth. It was their time with me, I chose to have these beautiful babies, and I wanted to give them my undivided attention.
My husband came home to an organized ship. Clean clothes, house stocked, food cooked, and life’s issues completed by the time he came home.
My traditional role wasn’t competitive with the breadwinner, but supported our family in all aspects of our life. I had no intentions of being the man, and being his wife was in fact an equal role. We were in balance and we were both content with the arrangement. I did not feel beneath him or that in some way that I wasn’t a feminist. This was my personal and educated choice, and I hope the kids are more bonded and better for it.
Not everyone feels this way. I know. Trust me I have heard it all. And even judged severely.
My productivity in those early years was equal to the work my husband did, even though I wasn’t leaving the house getting a paycheque.
This allowed him to be the best he could be. His brain space was freed up from the family intricacies, allowing him more attention towards his business. And he flourished in this time.
There was no battle of the sexes. There was no ‘who does what?’ discussions. The roles were carved out centuries ago. And if he saw that I was struggling to complete my chores, he picked up the slack, and if he needed more from me, he got it. It was a partnership not a struggle for women’s rights.
Anyways it worked for us. Maybe I’m old fashioned or just the last of a dying breed, the happy housewife.