I am a failed housewife

I am a failed housewife

It’s true, I have just realised that when it comes to being a housewife I have failed my husband, really I am a failure to him.

I was a mess when it came to the house for most of my married life.

For me, I blamed my parents for making me do the housework when I was growing up. Well, you see I did it to get out of picking oranges. It was the better of the two evils.

If I’m honest I didn’t really place a lot of emphasis on it either. Why clean the floors when I could be doing stuff I liked, right? Everything got done eventually, isn’t that all that mattered?

I know, I know, my grandmother said I was lazy. Well, she said that and a lot of other stuff as well, but let’s not get into that now.

How do I know I’m a fail housewife?

The Woman’s Book of course, here is what it says:-

To a girl who is destined to begin married life in such humble circumstances that she will not be able to afford to keep even a general servant, ignorances of the rules of household work is apt to become something in the nature of a calamity. An untidy, ill-kept home, to say nothing of ill-cooked meals, is not conducive to the good temper or cheerfulness of a husband, more especially when he comes home after a hard day’s work to find chaos reigning supreme, and that atmosphere of discomfort which few can analyse, and only with those who have experienced it can understand.

Of course, you know I had to apologise to Dave. Then I read out this passage to him and he said it was inexcusable. What does it matter what he thinks really? I did have to point out that there were not a lot of ill-cooked meals, as I have always known how to cook.

Now that I am in my 50’s I’m trying again and I do think I am a much better housewife now. I am trying for housewife of the year, not sure how I will go. There aren’t many women who are dedicated housewives these days, but I am going to try anyway.

Who remembers this? When I’m thinking of housework it always comes to mind.

I am a failed housewife

The feature photo is some hot and sour soup that I made, see I can cook.

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  1. I am sure there is a book called Zen and the Art of Housework around somewhere. You need to get in touch with your inner Zen.

  2. Your headline really caught my eye. You probably know that I am a pretty broad minded thinker, so your headline through me.

    I grew up in a one bread-winner household, very traditional American family. Dad went to work, and Mom stayed home to raise me and take care of the house. Mom was an immaculate housekeeper. She loved me, but we had big issues.

    But in late 20th century America, younger families were typically two bread-winners. My wife and I both have serious careers. She owns a commercial construction company, and I have my investment advisory firm. We both work long hours, and we both share home responsibilities. Sheri is the cook in the family. I do a lot of cleaning, laundry and a lot of outdoor maintenance. We both do a lot of that as we have 2-1/2 acres of horse property.

    But a “failed housewife”? I take issue with this. You are an ambitious, hardworking person. None of us are perfect. But no man should expect any woman to be his servant. How any couple shares duties and earning responsibility is their business, but we are coming all responsible for our own happiness and well-being.

    Please never call yourself a failure at anything, especially at being a housewife. Your husband is lucky to have an intelligent, talented and hard working woman as his partner. And if your food tastes half as good as it looks, he is probably feeling like a king. Anybody can run a vacuum or do laundry.

    1. I was really just calling myself a failure in relation to that book. I don’t think I am one really. My house is MY house and I run how I see fit and I don’t care about anyone else. My husband doesn’t really do anything, but then again, he has always been the breadwinner here. I really don’t earn that much money, never have, not enough to share the expenses.
      He has been great though, he has never told me that I was too slack or that I was hopeless when it came to the housework. I really thought I had struck gold when I met him. His philosophy, I think, is if he isn’t prepared to do it himself, then why should he demand I do it.
      I do do a lot for him, and I run the house so he doesn’t have to worry about that either. We have a good partnership, as it sounds like you do as well. Thank you Tim.

    2. I am glad to hear that. Too many women think that they have to be the “be-all, do-all”, to be a good person, good wife, etc. No one can. In all honesty our house isn’t perfect, but we both work hard jobs with long hours. But, Sheri does a great job. I am glad that you were really just literally talking about the book. You are a fantastic person, and with a long, happy marriage — quite successful as a wife. Well, glad to know you are happy and having fun with the new side of your blog. It’s still you, and your food looks as great as your photographs. Too bad the internet has no taste or smell. Best wishes!

  3. Leanne you touch really interesting themes and I like that. I believe that the expectations of being a good or perfect housewife have been set on a very high scale from how we were brought up, that might be again a cultural or age issue. I had been a very good housewife with my ex husband ( well I am German, if that explains something), but he didn’t really care that much about it, he rather wanted me to do the things I really would enjoy ( Having in mind in our marriage I juggled working in two or three jobs to have ends meet). At times I felt like he didn’t really acknowledge all my affords. Being divorced since 9 years after a 21 year marriage, I now realize that I should have followed his advices to enjoy more of life, rather than being a perfect housewife. So now being single I am a totally imperfect housewife to myself and I enjoy it a lot.

    1. Your ex-husband sounds like my husband, he has never cared how the house looked as long as he didn’t have to do it really. I think being a good housewife is something that is universal, the woman’s role in the home and that sort of thing. I just never fit it really. Well, I hope you are doing what you want now and enjoying yourself Cornelia. Treat yourself on me. 😀
      Thank you.

  4. Leanne, Maybe thats the title of your new book… “Confessions of a Self Proclaimed Lousy Housewife and My Real Love as Fine Art Professional Photographer!” 😉

    hey, i dont know what your domestic relationship or situation is, but we all miss the mark in areas of our life that we think should be better but don’t beat yourself up over it.

    After 36 years of marriage it takes both of us to keep things going, maintained, and managed. Sometimes i get it right, sometimes Not!

    Like somewhere i read…”Manage things, Inspire others!”

    I’m still a “work in progress” like we all are.

    Take Care,

    1. Haha, it could be Jack, I definitely fit the title.
      My husband is actually really really good, he has never criticised me for how I do the housework. If I can’t be bothered he just shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn’t care. I know I said that bit about him, but we were really joking when I did that. I’ve heard of other men being horrible to partners who don’t do anything, but Dave has never been like that.
      We have a deal really, he goes to work, and I look after the house and we respect each others roles. It has worked well for us for the last 30 years.
      I think we all are still works in progress, lol.
      You take care too Jack and thank you.

  5. I’m with you regarding the floors. My dedication to floor cleaning is sporadic at best. The rest of the house, top notch. I cannot stand a messy kitchen or unmade beds, for example. But the floor? It’s not like anyone is going to eat off it, right? Yet, once I’ve washed them, I’m chuffed and always ask myself why I don’t do it more often – they look so nice, clean.

    1. The floors are funny ones, I love clean floors, or rather swept floors so I can do without shoes, but sometimes it just seems too much. I have discovered a clean kitchen inspires me to cook more. I love clear benches, I’ve become rather addicted to them. Great comment Tania, thank you.

  6. Leanne, you may not be old enough to remember home economics that all the girls had to take in school. I have a primer from one of the textbooks on what a good housewife should be and do for her husband in the 1950s. It is truly funny. Even more funny when you realize this was what our girls were taught. I think there’s a speech for Toastmasters in this subject.

    1. We did home economics, but really it was just all cooking. Not much else really, or it was based around the kitchen. That book sounds really interesting, you will have to tell me about it.
      It is a funny subject, I love researching it.
      Thank you Anne.

  7. Hi Leane
    From one “failed” housewife to another:
    (1) YUUM
    (2) I know what I would prefer if I had to pick a spotless home vs a satisfied tummy

  8. Hmmmmm. I can definitely cook. Considering the nature of my work, I guess some will see me as a failed housewife. And to them I’ll say “smh” lol

    1. Cooking can be fun, but I like to have a clean kitchen before I start. I have realised over the years that was the key. It doesn’t really matter in the end, I used to say to friends who said anything that they didn’t have to live in it, so why did it matter. Thank you.

  9. Good on you, but don’ overdo the housework. I have discovered as I have got older that a house can look okay with less cleaning than I used to do when I was first married. 🙂

  10. I am happy to find someone who has similar thought like me. At my young age I hate household work and cooking and any kind of domestic work. I always thought ‘I’ll do only what I want to do’. I never wanted to be successful as housewife, but now sometime I like to do cleaning, dusting and cooking. By the way, The soup looks delicious- share the recipe please.

    1. I couldn’t have written your comment, sounds so much like me. I think I am more houseproud now that I was when I was younger too.
      I will have to work on the recipe for the soup. I have changed it a bit, and will need to work out how to describe how to do it now.
      Thank you.

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