To the women who are "just a housewife" - Happy Mother's Day! Feature: "My Wife Doesn't Work"

My Wife Doesn't "Work"
By Gary Lautens

Is there anything more embarrassing today than being married to a woman who doesn't "work?"
Take Jackie.

She weaves, spins wool, attends classes twice a week at art college and is currently putting together a seven- foot tapestry she designed for the living room. She also whips up a hundred meals a week, irons a dozen shirts, waxes and washes the floors, walks the dog and throws a dinner party once a week.

But she doesn't "work."

She feels a minimum of two foreheads a week (to see if they're warm), listens to enough homework to get a degree from Oxford, runs the family budget, finds things in the basement no other living human being can find, reminds Richard to comb his hair every morning, cheers up Jane when she gets a zit on her face and refinishes furniture.

She does the shopping, locates the bargains, washes gym stuff, keeps track of everybody's underwear, answers family mail, makes certain nobody leaves a ring around the bathtub and takes care of minor medical problems.

But she doesn't "work."

She cuts hair, cleans the filter on the furnace, clips the dog's nails, provides waltz lessons for male members of the family, vacuums, puts treats in school lunch bags for a noonday surprise, hangs up coats, rubs feet when they get cold, provides laughs whether needed or not, removes splinters, gives instruction on the application of eye shadow, announces if it's a boot day, smiles through the recounting of old Monty Python skits and files class photographs.

She doesn't let anyone out of the house without a hug; she tucks Jane into bed every night (even though Jane is fourteen and almost as big as her mother); she knows the postal rates, moves sofas, listens solemnly when someone in the house says he or she is going to be Prime Minister, a famous athlete or just an astonishing detective (Richard's current ambition); she hangs pictures (eighty on our one wall), sews on buttons, visits art galleries.

But "work"? I'm afraid not.

Jackie lengthens jeans, unplugs plumbing, remembers to serve spaghetti once a week (the kids' favorite), picks out newspaper items that might make columns, does thirty sit- ups every morning to stay trim, explains patiently to Richard why he can't wear the same shirt eighteen days in a row and makes Christmas cards.

Mind you, she doesn't jog three times a week now, act as lifeguard at the Y, or take German at night school, and her university class on great books is over.

But she did broadloom Jane's bedroom, make our front- room coffee table (from an old dining-room suite), and (just last week) figured out how to replace the bulb in our slide projector when Daddy had failed.

That is, unfortunately, beside the point.

Jackie does not go to an office, perform brain surgery, drive a truck, belong to a union, type up letters, sell real estate, host a TV show or even wrestle.

In short, she doesn't "work."

Mind you, she did "work" the first three years we were married and trying to get a start, but she quit a month or two before she had Stephen.

So she's just a homemaker, wife and mother now.

Perhaps one day when the kids are a little more grown up, Jackie will "work" again, but in the meantime, I'm afraid she's too busy.

Thanks for checking in - and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's out there!!! Print Friendly and PDF