Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The happy homemaker, male edition

I liked this Slate article from a full-time homemaker (with no kids) who calls himself a "stay-at-home dude." As someone with a life that often feels rushed and chaotic, the author's contentment with making sure the household runs smoothly appeals to me.

Many of the comments are predictably awful (one just reads, "soooooo gaaaaay"). At first I thought, how typical and sexist. But then I thought about how I would feel if a woman wrote the same article, and I think I'd be more judgmental about it. Which is just as sexist, but in the other direction. When a man writes about how he feels fulfilled by staying at home and delaying his own ambitions by supporting his spouse in her more powerful and higher-earning career, I think, how liberated of him. If a woman wrote the article, I'd probably have a lingering suspicion that she was trying to justify falling back into traditional gender roles by claiming she was happy about it. Maybe it's because I like the idea of having somebody who's happily homemaking... but I don't want it to be me.


  1. As a former professional who has been slammed for being perfectly content by mostly "just staying home" when my first baby was born, your post hit the nail on the head. Over the past 7 years, I have had to feel apologetic for being happy. It gets old. :-)

  2. If I were "homemaking," I'd be sitting on my ass watching TV all day, getting even fatter, which is exactly what my mother did for 17 years until my parents got a divorce. (As a result, I can tell you every storyline on all ABC soaps since about 1983.) Good for people who can be useful members of society without paid employment. If not for paid employment, I probably wouldn't leave the bed, let alone the house. As in all things, knowing your limitations is important. Mine is being unbelievably lazy.

  3. Cagey: I get it a lot more now that I have small kids and a full-time job... quality of life is important. I don't think I thought about that so much before the chaos of two full-time jobs and kids hit, and it really hit home when my husband and I each took turns staying home for a year. Life was SO much easier and better. Of course, after that we had lots of versions of this conversation: "Hey, wouldn't it be great if one of us stayed home?... YOU do it."

    Proto: I know, I read all these blogs of women who spend their days refinishing furniture and making clothes for their kids and stuff, and I think, if I were home all day I just couldn't see myself having the energy for all that. But having a job forces me to be productive.