10 golden rules for happy housewives

Calling all stay-at-home mothers! It’s time to stop apologising and feel proud of the great job you’re doing, says Darla Shine.

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THE TIME HAS come for us to admit that feminists were wrong. There’s too much pressure on women to have it all. Something has to give. It’s either our career, children, marriage or sanity, but something has to go on the back burner. A couple of years ago, I attended a black-tie function with my husband. At this party, packed full of high-powered executives, I found that no one wanted to talk to me. One particularly rude woman actually turned her back on me after I told her I was at home with the children.

Another lady had the gall to say, “How sweet” when I told her I was a housewife.
I think the anger and frustration I felt that night forced me to prove myself. I wanted to show everyone that I was more than “just a stay-at-home.” But why did I feel this way? Clearly, the word ‘housewife’ has an negative stigma attached to it. People seem to think stay-at-home women are slobs who spend the whole time slumped on the sofa, watching daytime TV, eating chocolates and wearing slouchy tracksuits and slippers. What a damaging cliché. Well, not any more. I say, lift up your spatulas girls and start demanding the respect you deserve with my definitive 10-point plan to help you become a happy housewife and mother…

STEP ONE Stop Whining
If you are lucky enough to be able to stay at home and look after your children, you should stop complaining about it. Remember that all mothers are struggling to do the best they can, and most of us are in the same boat. Ultimately, we all want the best for our children and have to work at keeping our marriages alive. Raising a family without losing your mind isn’t easy, and sometimes, it can be a real struggle. I am certainly not immune to these difficulties, and I still have to work hard every day to make family life run as smoothly as possible.

STEP TWO Be Proud
Not many stay-at-home mothers will tell you it’s total bliss looking after their children. Being at work isn’t nearly as hard as being at home raising children. That is why so many women stay in their careers, because they just can’t cope with full-time mothering. You have to be strong, confident and selfless to be able to give up your career and pre-baby identity for your family’s best interest. But it’s worth remembering that you chose to have children, and ultimately, it’s your responsibility to bring them up.

STEP THREE Look After Yourself
I think one of the biggest reasons housewives have a bad image is that a lot of mothers have let themselves go. Admit it, girls. Most housewives are in desperate need of a makeover. Dated hairstyles, jeans that should have been thrown out years ago, and worst of all, what I really cannot handle, no make-up! Unless you’re flawlessly beautiful, please don’t leave your house without at least a touch of lipgloss. Give your wardrobe regular updates, indulge yourself with occasional beauty treatments and take regular exercise to keep your energy levels up.

STEP FOUR Have Sex!
You’ll never be a happy housewife if you’re not physically close with your husband. If you don’t make intimacy a priority in your marriage, you’ll drift apart, and you’ll become an irritable, dried-up old hag. Many women I know sit around waiting to receive more attention, love, respect, and sex from their husbands. Here’s what I say to them: take control and talk to your husband about how you feel. Having said that, I find it’s mostly women who push their husbands away and lose interest in sex. You can’t always be too tired for a bit of bedroom action.

STEP FIVE Bond With Your Home
I believe one of the most important things you can do for your family is to create a beautiful environment for your children to grow up in, and for you and your partner to enjoy. Does this mean you have to mop floors and iron your husband’s shirts everyday? No. It means you need to create a home full of wonderful memories and family traditions. Gathering around the kitchen table, marking your child’s growth on the walls, being part of a community, establishing family roots and filling your house with lots of love and laughter will help give your child a happy and secure start in life.

STEP SIX Get Back In The Kitchen
I find it hard to understand why women refuse to cook. All the preservatives and rubbish in processed food is so unhealthy – both for you and your children. It’s easy to serve your family delicious, home-made, nutritious meals in no time at all. Heating up chicken nuggets full of preservatives and chemicals and serving them with tinned sweetcorn is really a cop-out. Preparing some tasty fresh food for your children doesn’t take that much longer. It’s funny, lots of mothers I know go out of their way to buy their children the best and most expensive designer clothes, yet they feed their children the cheapest, poor-quality food. What’s more important to you, what your child wears or what she puts into her growing body?

STEP SEVEN See Your Girlfriends
Dealing with motherhood for the first time can be a lonely experience, and after a while you become desperate to meet other mothers. Slowly, I allowed myself to let my guard down. I learned that other women at the school gates were just like me. They were smart, successful, beautiful, strong, and more in control than I was. They became my heroines and continue to be my strongest support system. It’s the women in your life, “warrior mothers” I call them, who you’ll be able to depend on when you’re depressed, arguing with your husband, losing your patience, and about to snap. It’s so important to have a female support system, so make time to nurture your friendships.

STEP EIGHT Make Time For Yourself
There’s ironing to do, my wardrobe is a disaster, the car needs a wash, and I have a dozen calls to return. But I can do it all later. Right now, I’m enjoying time alone with no children, no husband, and no pressure. I need this time. Does that make me a bad wife or a rotten mother? Just the opposite. When I spend time doing something I enjoy, something just for me, I’m a much calmer mother, a more attentive wife, and a happier homemaker. You must make time each day just for yourself, even if it’s just ten minutes having a relaxing bath or reading a book. ‘Me’ time is critical in order for you to keep your sanity and not lose patience with your children or husband.

STEP NINE Don’t Take It Too Seriously
It’s OK to admit that some days are an absolute nightmare. When you haven’t had a minute alone and your children are jumping off the walls, when your house is a mess and your husband isn’t around to help, or when you have a migraine and just want to curl up in bed. Days like this make you want to go for a drive and never come home. There’s no denying that, sometimes, life as a housewife really stinks and there’s no shame in feeling sorry for yourself. But you have to find a way to laugh it off. In the grand scheme of life, does it really matter if your children trample mud onto the carpet?

STEP TEN Appreciate Your Life
How disgraceful is it for any of us to complain or say that we’re desperate? Think about the true desperation and poverty that exists around the world. If I hope to do anything, it’s to inspire mothers out there to do more with their lives. We all spend so much time worrying about our own problems and waste so much time complaining, whining, gossiping, and nagging about nonsense and trivia. I hope we can stop.

I want to encourage all mothers to sit back and take a look at their lives. Think about how lucky are you to be able to read this magazine in peace in your own home without a soldier with a gun staring at you. Consider how fortunate you are that your children will be tucked safe and sound in their warm beds tonight.

Reflect on your life so far – all the wonderful memories you have and all the dreams and plans you have for the future. Just take a look at your children sleeping peacefully at night and be happy.

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