Real Housewives of Everywhere – this one’s for you

I know housewives everywhere are all dying to have their (hoarse) voices heard but no-one has the balls or the energy to say it out loud. So I’m going to take the liberty and say it for all the ‘Real Housewives of Everywhere’.

This motherhood/homemaker gig is tough.  But what makes it even tougher is that no-one seems to take this job seriously.  Well, I would like to set the record straight.

Coming out of the corporate world and into this foreign world of snotty noses, nagging, tantrums, dirty laundry, incomplete filing and overdue tax returns, soaking dishes and food-stained floors.  Yes,  my office was a haven compared to my new domain.  But this housewife role is by far the biggest challenge for me.  For all of us housewives.  It’s relentless and stressful and more demanding than any real job out there and I challenge any husband to do it as well as we do it with seemless finesse, charm and humour.

Real housewives are not the housewives basking in the sun by their home pools while their cabana boys serve them cocktails and fan them with peacock feathers while the chauffeurs pick up the kids from school.  No, the real housewives are managing the kids as the primary carer 24-7, making sure the home runs smoothly, pumping out fresh meals 3 times a day, packing fresh school lunches after sleepless nights and umpiring sibling bashings round the clock and then, at the end of the day, appearing unaffected and even cheerful when the husband eventually rolls in from work.

So how does the real housewife keep it all together?

For me, I get through the day by always having chocolate (and lots of it) at hand. A good glass of wine works wonders in washing away stress if it’s been a particularly trying day.  And I also try to avoid putting myself in situations which I know will push my kids, and me, over the edge – like grocery shopping at 5pm or visiting unenclosed parks adjacent to busy main roads.  No point in setting myself up for failure unless absolutely crucial.  I also make sure that I don’t push myself too far at the end of the day and if I really can’t fold the clean laundry then it will have to just sit in its basket for another 2 or 3 days until I can face it.  I’ve also had to teach myself not to rely on people (read: family members  and booked babysitters) anymore because the let-down, resentment and disappointment can set me back days.

We all have our ways but I think it’s super-important to make sure that above all, we ignore all the social norms and expectations out there, especially the public perception that mothers are just mothers and should manage their kids in public areas by keeping things under control for the benefit of all the other people around them.  For me, that is one of the hardest parts about this job.

It’s also important not to set such a perfect bar for ourselves as housewives.  It’s so difficult not to get caught up in the competitiveness of housewivery but once you’re able to block all that out and just do your own tailored housewife thing you can really master the art and maintain your sanity.  So, if you’re like me and are still trying to not to punish yourself for things you do just to keep sane in this housewife job, remind yourself that all these things are perfectly OK if they work for you and make your life easier, and that you’re not a terrible failure if you have to get real about the situation:

  • buy takeaways every night while your husband’s away on business just because you can’t face cooking and cleaning up at the end of each day
  • pay for convenience and pay extra if need be
  • throw yourself on the bed if your baby is sleeping (but always set the alarm so you don’t sleep through the after school pick-up)
  • talk on the phone and get things off your chest with a getting-through-the-day-friend (everyone needs one) during the course of the day
  • celebrate all the victories (sometimes the tiny ones are the most rewarding  – like a dry preschooler bed after a long week of sopping bed linen, an empty lunch box to unpack after school, children playing in quiet camaraderie on the floor, an extra half an hour of sleep in the morning, an undiscovered box of chocolates at the back of the pantry, a school enrollment acceptance form or a sunny day after weeks of torrential rain).
  • cancel arrangements if you truly can’t fathom the logistics
  • reward yourself with whatever makes you feel good occasionally
  • come up for air and get out of the house for a break on your own
  • don’t feel forced to entertain (no-one is going to burn you at the stake because you haven’t hosted a dinner party in 3 months)
  • turn your nose up at critical strangers and advice-givers who rub you up the wrong way (I personally used to snap back at them but I find that a smirk and a royalty-like swish of the arm coupled with a “Pfft, whatevahh” if far more effective these days and doesn’t send my stress levels sky-rocketing afterwards!).
  • give yourself a break, mentally – don’t beat yourself up on your shortcomings, rather praise yourself for the goals that you have achieved.  Every small task that gets completely is a victory.
  • if you have the choice, don’t do things you really can’t palate and absolutely cannot do.  It’s never worth trying to please others all the time, I’ve learnt.

I salute all the Real Housewives of Everywhere out there.  Even if no one says it out loud, we are all doing so well and deserve to be congratulated, praised and thanked for the sacrifices we make every day.

So, here’s to keeping it real, well, most of the time, if we can.  Chardonnay, my friend, here I come!



2 thoughts on “Real Housewives of Everywhere – this one’s for you

  1. Loved your article makes me feel so normal. I’m so sick of hearing how perfect everyone else is and how perfect their children are. I’m living in a real world they are not.

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