Wearing the Housewife Title Today With a HUGE Dollop of Irony…Sarcasm

Since I’ve kept my job in Munich (for now) and I’m only allowed to do 50% home office , I now have Fridays off.

This is a mixed blessing as, along with the free time and the long weekends, I still have a husband who has to get up and out the door on Fridays and as this SUCKS, I do get reminded. (Like when I try and get him up after the 5th time hitting snooze. I’ve learned not to take this course of action. Although it does get him going, it’s in a decidedly wrong direction, mood-wise).

Otherwise, a four-day work week is plain old FUCKING AWESOME. It’s the perfect balance between work and play. I will try to enjoy it as long as it lasts (which won’t be too much longer). Everyone should try this at least once.

Very important for someone living in Germany: it means you get to do some of that stuff you otherwise would be forced to cram into your Saturday because Germany is still, almost everywhere, on the “housewife plan”. Meaning that all stores have opening hours that assume you have a wifey sitting at home just waiting to run all those errands before it gets all un-Godly late at like, I dunno, 5:30 or so. For working people to get anything domestic done during the week, you almost have to take an afternoon off.

Have you seen the down side to this though? Yeah. It does mean that I have to do all those errands. So my free day becomes this guilt thing I have to make up for by running domestic errands because unlike SOME people, I am lucky enough to have the time.

So, so far at least, I haven’t managed to have even one of those lazy luxurious Fridays where I put on a beauty mask, take a bubble bath and give myself a pedicure. (What? That’s not selfish if you don’t do it all the time.)

664373 palmolive

I’m also doing more housework than I’m accustomed to* because for several complex reasons (and a few simple ones like being lazy or having no time depending on how you look at it) we still haven’t gotten a cleaning lady. I’m cautious on this topic because although 1) at 80% salary, I admittedly earn less, and 2) I have more time, 3) I really suck at cleaning and 4) I get really grumpy when things aren’t done right although for some reason I can’t for the life of me do it right myself. I also don’t want us to spend the time we have together doing stuff like this. So I’m theoretically saving us time and money now by more of the cleaning myself, but I don’t do a great job and end up really grumpy and pissed off about it.

Plus, I have this “housewife” issue. I don’t want to feel that I am one. There I said it. Hate me. I have power issues and am not cool with anything that makes me feel surrendered. And housework does that. Don’t get me wrong, I do my share, but once things progress past the point where the other person no longer feels like they have to thank you for doing it and it just becomes one of the obvious parts of ‘your job or share of the work around here’, I get allergic**.

But until we get a cleaning lady, I am still doing understudy work, so I do little things to keep the hives at bay and remind myself that this is not permanently my new role. A week or so before we went on vacation Oliver came home early to find me in slim black cigarette pants, peep-toe high heels and a sassy halter-top apron, vacuum cleaner in one hand, gimlet in the other.

ironic

My thought was, ‘why not let housework be an opportunity to flaunt gender roles by taking the stereotype to the extreme by pulling a June Cleaver and break in my new shoes at the same time?’

It worked like a charm, so I made a ThisNext list about it. My apron of choice is not available right now, but there’s plenty of others to choose from:

ironic

And now that I’ve wasted a few good hours of my Friday complaining telling you about it, I’ve got to get back to cleaning and errands. TGIF everyone! 😉

*(see I am being very careful not to say that I am doing most or close to all of it because SOMEONE else sometimes cleans the kitchen, pushes the occasional mop, but never empties the dishwasher…anyway)

** Oliver is also on the record not wanting me immersed in domestic duties, at least not any more than he is, because we BOTH suck and these are the kinds of things best left up to the professionals. I concur darling… I so do.

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4 responses to “Wearing the Housewife Title Today With a HUGE Dollop of Irony…Sarcasm

  1. OMG, that is the only thing I do not miss about living in Germany – store hours. Wow, how did we manage?
    I am a German living in the US since 1981 and miss our Gemuetlichkeit. But never mind, this is not about me, I love what I have read here today. I’m coming back for more 🙂

  2. Some things have not changed much since you left and shop hours are definitely one of them. At least now stores are open until 8pm on Saturdays (used to close at 4!).

    I don’t exactly want to see strip malls and 24 shops everywhere but I’d trade a mid-day pause for an extra two hours in the evening.

  3. Wow, I so identified with this post.

    When I agreed to cohabit with my partner and then telecommute for work, I resisted doing any housework because I didn’t want to resemble a housewife at all. I certainly didn’t want to give any indication that I would go down that road, now or in the future.

    There has been a bit of whipping to share responsibilities. Believe me, it ain’t easy with a Greek man. But the turning point was when I left for a three-week vacation alone, and nothing got done. Totally helpless. There’s a lot more gratitude and lot less complaining now. 😉

  4. Hmm. Maybe I should ditch the gimlet and give that a try.

    I went on strike once and simply didn’t get all OCD and do things everyone should do for themselves like putting away clean laundry, putting things away, PUTTING THE EMPTY TP ROLL IN THE RECYCLING, etc.

    and what happened? Nothing. Not for weeks.

    He started wearing the clothes right off the drying rack and the TP roll is STILL ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR.

    (I think I have to clean now…where’s my gimlet?!))

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