Error 404: Housewife not found – but always on the job

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

"When I grow up, I want to be just like mommy!" Parents are everything to their kids, however you will rarely find 'housewife' as the answer to the "who do you want to be?" question in a friendship fill-in journal. The little ones are trained to work for a career early on, aspiring to be veterinarians, astronauts, or ballerinas – professional successes stand at the top of the list of priorities for many people nowadays. However, far away from recognised disciplines, there are those whose work is so diverse that it is difficult to even narrow the title down to one precise profession.

Already back in 2004, the US series Desperate Housewives displayed with a lot of humour and drama what ‘the lady of the house’ does within her four walls when her husband and child(ren) are not at home. However, the portrayal of Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gabrielle from Wisteria Lane was not quite right, as being a housewife implies much more than just snooping around neighbourhood secrets. "When you put 'Stay-at-Home Mom' or housewife on official documents, it doesn't include everything we actually do" says Victoria Hodgson, a 43-year-old mother of two who has managed the household since her first pregnancy.

Cooking, cleaning, raising children, ironing, but also many activities that have nothing to do with the cliché image of a housewife – all tasks part of the everyday life that the former librarian chose for herself. As a teenager the English woman had already decided that she would one day stay at home for her family. "I’ve wanted to become a stay-at-home mom since career day at school. Of course, this came as a shock to my teachers and the job reps, as it set feminism back " Victoria says with a wink. For generations, feminists have fought to break free of the traditional imagery of women. A business suit instead of an apron, pens instead of a ladle, Lancôme instead of 'apple&pear’ from Hipp- this is the modern image of a ‘2.0 Woman’, or so it should be.

Politics unfavourable to housewives

However, Victoria exemplifies that there are still mothers in 2021 who prefer family life over officelife and are willing to give up their careers to take care of their children. Shilpa Chauhan isanother one of them. Born in India, she moved to Luxembourg in March 2020 and has been a housewife for four years now. Before the birth of her daughter, she worked in the IT sector, but sincelooking into her baby's eyes for the first time she could no longer imagine any job other than that of a mother. "Actually, I thought I would go back to work after one year. However, what I am experiencing with my daughter is almost like a miracle and I can see the difference when I am with her and when I am not" says Shilpa.

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Error 404: Housewife not found – but always on the job


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