What is a housewife these days?


Lori Welbourne / Guest Columnist

 Someone I didn’t know called me a housewife the other day and I immediately thought of June Cleaver. As much as I adored the perfect mom from the TV classic “Leave it to Beaver,” I never imagined I’d turn out like her. And golly gee, I sure haven’t.

I’m not a good cook, I don’t like to dust and I can’t remember the last time I wore an apron.

To me, a housewife has always meant a wife who doesn’t bring home the bacon, but fries it up in a pan and then scrubs the pan clean. The fictional June Cleaver did all that and more with a smile on her face looking as pretty as can be.

But I don’t think the term is quite what it used to be.

Shows like Desperate Housewives and the so-called reality series The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Miami and a threat of more cities to come, has changed the meaning forever.

So just what is the definition of a housewife these days?

“My mom always took it as a compliment,” said the fellow who referred to me as a housewife. “But the women of today take it as an insult.” That wasn’t my reaction, it just surprised me because it didn’t feel accurate.

“Housewives are lucky,” a newlywed told me later at a party. “I wish I could afford to stay home and lunch with my friends and go to the spa every day.” See what I mean? June Cleaver isn’t everyone’s version of that term anymore.

My mother stayed home with us for most of my adolescence and I had no idea how tough a job it actually was until I had my own kids. I remember wondering how my mom could possibly be so busy when she didn’t go to school like us or work like my dad. Now, I get it. The tasks of a stay-at-home-mom never end. I know, because I did it when our children were younger.

And I’m kind of doing it again. Able to do the majority of my work from home, I feel lucky to see my kids more often and be so available to them. That is, until they drive me bonkers and I wish our imaginary nanny would just take them to the beach for a while.

“You can’t consider yourself a housewife if you’re still working,” my friend told me when we were discussing the subject. “It’s not like you’re cooking and cleaning all day.”

True. But I still need to fit those tasks in at some point. Or my husband does while I lunch with my friends and treat myself at the spa.

The fact is that the term housewife has a broader meaning now. Technically, I am a wife who lives in a house – so maybe it’s more accurate than I realized.

Not even all of the housewives from the reality series can make that claim.

Just Posted

John Savage pleads guilty to manslaughter

Sentenced to 7 years for Stettler murder

Defending champions Team Scheidegger will fight to keep title

Stettler hosting 2019 Alberta Scotties provincial women’s bonspiel

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

New market opens in downtown Ponoka

Makkinga Market had a soft opening showcasing many of the different foods in store

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

UPDATED UCP MLA cries foul after brick thrown through office window

UPDATED St. Paul MLA Dave Hanson says ‘Over-the-top NDP rhetoric’ not based in reality

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Red Deerians can weigh in on proposed Bighorn Country investment tonight

Telephone town hall takes place 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Most Read