Many modern men habitually complain about modern women: they are all lazy and entitled, lousy wives, bad mothers and homemakers etc etc. Yes, we modern women often fall short of the traditional Western ideal. What about men though?
According to this article, in the times when most women were successful and industrious homemakers, in the United States the work-week around the year 1900 was typically 60
hours. Men were frequently engaged in occupation and trade from Monday
to Saturday so they could put food on the table and keep their family
warm and free from the cares of the harsh world.
An average working week for many men nowadays is 40 hours, and in many European countries, even less. So if many modern women are lousy homemakers, many modern men are lousy providers. Since most married women in my country typically work between 12-20 hours, if the men went back to longer working weeks, their wives could stay home and engage in all things domestic, don't you think?
Of course, I do believe that even with shorter working hours for men, it's still possible to live on one income if you are prepared to be frugal. For instance, many newly pregnant ladies buy new prams which can cost anywhere from 800 to 1500 euros while it's possible to buy a second-hand pram online for 15. Yes, 15, and it was in a good condition, too!
While I don't agree that the meaning of Proverbs 31 is to command all wives to have a side business and earn extra money, I absolutely believe that the wife should be a good financial manager and spend the money wisely. A penny saved is a penny earned, after all, and efficiency in running a household is important.
Again, some folks (especially some men, I should say) claim to be traditional but are really confused about the role of a housewife in modern society. One issue which always pops up is that since we have a vacuum-cleaner and other domestic appliances, there is no housework left to do any more. The reality is that all these devices create more work simply by virtue of existence:
The introduction of electric appliances in the home sometimes had unexpected results. Electric clothes washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances
could make housework more efficient, but they also raised the minimum
standard of household cleanliness. Women who had previously cleaned
carpets once every season were now expected to keep them spotlessly
clean all the time with vacuum cleaners. Ironically, the overall result
of laborsaving electrical appliances was often more work for women.
There is enough work to do at home, and having one person fully in charge of all domestic affairs is more efficient and practical than most other arrangements, after all, the reason behind modern specialisation is the fact that it works.
While men probably have some reasons to complain, the truth is that theirs is the leading role. If the husband is a good provider, there is a good chance his wife will naturally become a good homemaker, after all, as some vintage lady author wrote, homemaking is in women's blood.