Entitlement and the Housewife

We’ve all seen the old shows, portraying the typical housewife of the 50’s.  She dresses well, although she doesn’t have a lot of clothing.  She stays home and cooks and cleans, and is there when her kids come in from school.  When her husband returns from work, she has a warm meal and a big smile waiting.  Her children share bedrooms, and small ones at that.  She doesn’t worry about working or making ends meet, although she is frugal and doesn’t waste money.  Her family dresses well, but not in extravagance.  They own a car and a house.  If they’re lucky, they may own a little television.  She doesn’t have to worry about paying for internet, the biggest cable package, a cell phone bill, or a smartphone package because, quite frankly, these things don’t exist.  A new flat screen t.v. for every room, a smartphone, and a computer wouldn’t even come close to her list of “needs”.  Yet, for the typical wife of today, they do.

The typical wife of today has to worry about paying for internet (and preferably the fastest possible).  She see’s a cellphone, and even a smart phone as a necessity.  Ipods, laptop computers and wiis are all fairly necessary.  Their children must have the latest cell phone, video game, and mp3 player.  Each child must have their own room, and they need a big house in order to live.  In her spare time, she is constantly shopping for new items and clothes that are absolutely necessary!

How did we get to this place, where all these things are necessities?  The heart of the matter truly is that all of these things are not necessities, but because of the culture we have been raised in, we feel entitled to have them.  We all do this, in one way or another.  We all feel the pull to run out and buy the latest fashion, spend a fortune on the newest iphone, and get big huge t.v. for our family room.  We look around and think “she has one, so I should too!”

More and more women today are leaving their children with grandparents and babysitters and stepping out into the workforce because they have to to make ends meet.  Really, though, the extra income they bring in is used for such things as getting their hard dyed once a month, buying their husband a new laptop for Christmas, and going to the beach for a week each summer.  Their money is spent on things that the housewife of sixty years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of buying.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we have to live without all modern conveniences or that smartphones and new clothes are evil.  What I am saying, however, is that we as women need to get rid of the notion that we simply have to work.  Yes, there are some families where the wife’s income is crucial to survival.  However, there are a lot of working moms out there that, quite frankly, don’t need to be. 

Think about it this way.  Mom A works outside of the home at a typical 9-5.  When she comes home from work she stresses and rushes to put food on the table and get homework done, the children ready for bed, and, if she’s lucky, a workout in.  She hardly sees her children, her food is less than nourishing, and she’s tired and stressed all the time.  Yes, her family lives in a nice four-bedroom home, she wears lots of nice clothing, they have the latest technology, and they vacation in Destin every summer.  Her children struggle because mom just doesn’t have time for them, her husband rarely gets alone time with her, and everyone as a whole feels entitled to such a life. 

Then there’s Mom B.  She quit her 9-5 to stay home with the kids.  To do so, she and her family had to move into a smaller house where the children share rooms (oh horror!).  They sold her nice suburban and bought an older minivan, got rid of cable t.v., and use the internet at work and the library.  Her children do without many of the latest video games and clothing.  They go camping at a beach every summer instead of staying in a nice hotel.  And yet, mom is happier and freer without the stress of juggling work and home.  She has time for her husband and her kids, and the meals she prepares are always made with love and time.  And her kids?  They love having their mom around more, and through their parents frugalness they have learned that life isn’t all about material possessions.  They love camping at the beach more than the frilly hotel.  But most of all?  They know without a doubt that they are more important to their mom and dad than possessions or wealth.

So which mom do you want to be?           

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