Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Am I the Only One Surprised by This?

One of my favorite blog authors, Epiphany, recently posted about her domestic prowess: according to one rubric that tests a woman's mettle as a 1930s wife, she is "very superior." From what I read on her blog(s), I would concur: she is smart, witty, an excellent mother, an inspiring cook/baker, socially conscious (she composts! AND she has a green house!), and she keeps it all going while her husband travels extensively for work.

I consider myself to be a pretty good "wife" (even though PG and I are not married). I am better than average as an amateur home cook; I actually enjoy doing laundry, planning meals and shopping for groceries; I love throwing parties; I take the lead in caring for Zane; and I take great personal satisfaction in making sure my home is clean and tidy and comfortable for my family. I do all of that - and more - because it makes me happy (and because I am, quite possibly, touched by a bit of OCD...). Here are my test results:


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

What is so surprising about these results is not so much the result itself; any modern woman who is married with children would score "very superior" on this test. We are master jugglers and multitaskers. No, the biggest surprise for me is feeling proud that I would be considered "very superior" even as a 1930's wife, even on a silly internet test.
So often we get the message that the "old-fashioned" standards of womanliness are just that, old-fashioned, and we should aspire to be something "more" or something "greater." I think it is a flawed premise that "more/greater" and "very superior 1930s wife" are mutually exclusive.
I would never suggest that women were better off in the 1930s, or that we should return to a time when opportunities for women were severely limited by the expectations attached to traditional gender roles. I love the fact that college was always part of the plan for my life, no matter that I'm a girl; and that I earned a Master's Degree; and that I have forged a pretty successful career in legislative affairs. I love all of that and, yet, when PG and Zane and I sit down at a pretty table in a tidy house to share a meal that I have prepared, that's when I feel the true power of womanhood.


Keysgal@QuietWater said...

Excellent commentary. I can see that you would score Superior. I guess we all come to realize (hopefully sooner than later) that the value of family time far exceeds success in any other realms of our life. xoxo

Epiphany Alone said...

Aww, thanks, Paige. I needed this today after a neighborhood mom sat on my quite dirty kitchen floor trying to apply a bandaid to her screaming 6-year-old while I looked around at the piled up recyclables, overflowing garbage, and sink full of dishes. June is officially kicking my very superior tush.