Being a “mere housewife” is no longer the downtrodden, poor little woman of thirty years ago. Today’s frantic, two-income; the kids-have-to-go-to-college household precludes being a “mere housewife.” It is a luxury not many women are able to achieve. It means your husband is making enough that you no longer have to join the rat race, and you are now free to take care of the house and the kids, if any. It is the perfect time for some serious personal and interpersonal development. The image of the housewife as one cut-off from contact with the outer world is a thing of the past. With cable television, DVD, the Internet and DSL, a stay-at-home mom can be all things at the same time, yet find time for the family. Here is a typical day a housewife as it can be today.
Keep fit. With the kids gone, you can switch on your exercise program and burn off a few calories while waiting for the washing machine to finish the cycle. With the clothes in the dryer, you can munch on some fruit or raw vegetables while you check your email. Folding is done in a thrice while you watch the latest reality show on cable television. Telecommute. With clothes folded, you download the files you will need for the transcription job you do on the side while you vacuum the floor. An incoming e-mail lets you know that the headphones you ordered is on its way. Another e-mail gives you your blogging assignments for the week, and you note it on your scheduler, squeezing it in between lunch and picking up the kids from soccer practice.
Take up a hobby. The doorbell rings as you finish cleaning the bathroom and the courier hands you the pattern for the cross-stitching you are doing for an online store, which specializes in personalized cross-stitching. It will take you maybe two weeks of waiting for dinner to finish cooking and watching TV with your husband after dinner to finish the project. In the meantime, the stuff you had posted on eBay has been getting hits and the bidding will end soon. That is one way to get rid of the clutter.
Make friends. Your Skype and YM are both ringing but you put them on hold while you tick off the things you will need to get from the grocery. You send e-mail to your sister in Australia informing her that the family reunion is going on as scheduled and to email you back pictures of the kids so they could be included in the electronic album you are making and burning into disks as a giveaway. Someone from Japan wants you to add her to your contacts, and you think this is a good time to find out more about Japan and you add her, together with contacts in Germany, India and North Korea. The English can be a little funny at times but at least you are starting to learn a few words in German. An old high school friend comes online and wants to chat. You stay online for half an hour, declining to use the video camera because you have face cream on. You tell your chat room you need to sign out and turn away to start dinner.
Is this fantasy? Hardly. Limits are only set by the mind, and with technological innovations for instant communication and online transaction the possibilities are endless. Pretty soon, husbands will want to be househusbands. That may be a good thing. At least that will get the mowing done while he is on a conference call with his boss in Taiwan.