Friday, January 25, 2013

The Career Of A Domestic Goddess

What exactly is a Domestic Goddess? Fascinating Womanhood has a whole chapter dedicated to her in which Mrs Andelin does a really good job in covering the responsibilities of a housewife. It's especially helpful for modern readers, since there seems be to be some confusion about what does a homemaker actually do with her time at home (apart from eating bonbons on the couch, that is).

According to Mrs Andelin, homemaking is a career, and one of utmost importance, no less. A Domestic Goddess is a woman who embraces her career in the home and tries to achieve excellence in it. This lady's home is neat and tidy, her children are well-behaved, her cooking is delicious and her husband is the happiest man in town.

The chapter starts with describing the qualities of such a woman, and points out that to become a Domestic Goddess, you have to be skilled in traditional feminine arts, such as cooking or interior decorating, and be a successful manager of the home. To be a good manager, one needs to be able to balance various responsibilities, such as taking care of the house, and of the children, and choose what is the most important thing to do at the moment.

Mrs Andelin suggests that a housewife dresses up for her job, preferably in a housedress (a comfortable and pretty cotton dress worn with an apron). She points out that homemaking ultimately is a matter of character, and that a woman who fails in doing her domestic duties, shows a poor character as well. The housewife ought to have a keen sense of responsibility for her job in the home, not giving in to temptation to spend hours on the phone or watching TV, or just lazing around. If she is an efficient homemaker, she'll be able to also find time for pursuing her hobbies or helping others in their need.

The Domestic Goddess is also a good mother who delights in bearing and raising children. Her home is warm and happy and she radiates joy around, or, as the book states: "This warm presense is what every man needs when he returns from work, and what every child needs when he returns from school. The home should be their refuge, their source of comfort, understanding, and love." (p.229, Bantam books, ed. of 1992).

P.S. Here is an interesting perspective on women's work, while this blog post points out the duties of husbands and wives, according to the Catechism of Trent, and this article discusses what is true freedom for women. In publishing those links, I feel the need to refer you to the obligatory disclaimer.

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