Myths about housewives and stay-at-home moms are not rare in our society. In fact, they’re so prevalent that even people who should know better, including myself, hold lots of unconscious prejudices about them and spend years assuming that the work they do is “simple.” Despite decades of advancement for women, images of stay-at-home moms on TV, in movies, and in advertisements still show unrealistic women with immaculate hair and cheerful smiles, who chuckle about how tough their lives are. Depictions of these women also tend to be overwhelmingly white and, of course, middle to upper class.
When I say that I should know better, it’s because my sister recently had a baby and has transitioned into being a full-time mother. Observing her at work quickly shattered any illusions I had about modern-day housewifery. She works harder than anyone I know, and she’s complained more than once about how the media portray her job as one that should be accomplished with ease and elegance. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been before today’s modern conveniences, especially because being a present-day mom who stays at home seems so much tougher than most of us realize.
Myths about housewives go way back but still persist today, even among feminist circles and, until recently, my own brain. Let’s get to busting them.