For years, I have been daunted by the question: “what do househusbands do all day?” Although there is no exact answer, I have decided to put down here my best guesses—and I would like to invite you to join me in this effort.
I spent my working life in the corporate world, then followed my wife to the academic world, and finally landed in the somewhat-serene world of ‘househusband’dom, which I think I have found the perfect middle ground. I manage my schedule based on what my wife needs, not what I need—and I make my working hours flexible to meet her schedule whenever possible.
The first thing that needs to be said about the Diary of a Serene Househusband is that it is essentially an autobiography. It will be about my life, and how it has changed since I started blogging and I will share with you my experiences and my thoughts. But it is also a book about housework. There are some things that we just cannot talk about.
Photo: Getty Images When I was laid off in 1992, I became a 55-year-old housewife. This is an etymologically redundant title, as husband refers to a person associated with the house, either as master or servant. Huisman has the gendered sound of a modern coin, but the Oxford English Dictionary indicates that it was first used in 1858. When my wife and I both worked, we shared the shopping, cooking and cleaning. Now I’ve done all three. I love shopping and cooking, but not cleaning, so over time we hired help. My wife, who has been retired for 10 years, does the gardening, gift buying and cooking for special occasions, so maybe I should be called a mixed race man. When I started doing this unpaid work, I sometimes felt depressed because everyone I knew had well-paying jobs in government, academia, medicine or business. But these negative feelings were short-lived, because soon I was not only busy shopping and cooking, but also reading, writing and playing tennis. My sense of accomplishment is not unique. I know a man who became a housewife long before me. His wife, who has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University, was an economist at the World Bank and traveled frequently to Africa and Asia. Years ago, he and my wife took turns taking our kids to the same private school. I have known this man, who is also a freelance writer, for four decades, and he has always known me to be a happy man who loves what he does. I run into him at the supermarket sometimes. Housekeeping gave me plenty of time to write essays, mostly about eighteenth-century British writers I admired. I also found time to play tennis at the gym every weekday morning. My tennis game has gradually improved and I am a better player at 80 than at 60. That’s what my tennis partners tell me. Are there any famous writers who were housewives? At the end of the year George Orwell All his life he was something of a landlord on the remote island of Jura. With the help of his sister Avril, he raised his adopted son Richard. (Nine months after Richard’s adoption, Orwell’s first wife dies during elective surgery.) Orwell devoted himself to gardening, fishing and hunting. He also repaired things. He discusses a book on home improvement and says I’ve gone through all the household ailments of the past year and found all the ones mentioned except mice, which hardly fall into the repair category. In another essay, Orwell explains how much he hates doing the dishes. Orwell argues that the British were resilient during World War II because they stuck to their daily routines. Faced with terrible dangers… People are content with their lives, in a kind of twilight dream in which they perceive nothing but the daily cycle of work, family life, playing darts in the pub, walking the dog, mowing the lawn, getting the beer back before dinner, etc, etc. If something I write gets rejected, I rarely think about it. I still do housework and play tennis. Nothing makes you feel like life is as good as hitting an ace. Mr. Miller is the author of The Conversation: History of decadent art. Newspaper article: The best and worst news of the week by Kyle Peterson, Mary O’Grady, Mene Ukueberuwa and Dan Henninger. Image: Talking Sports/Photoshot/UPPA via ZUMA Press/AP Composite: Mark Kelly Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8 Published in the print edition of 7. June 2021.It’s a fact of life that not all men do housework. But, how many of us do it well? A recent survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics in Spain found that housework is one of the top three chores that men dislike most. But, even after admitting that they don’t like to do it, only a mere six percent of men have actually stopped doing housework altogether. So, why do men hate housework so much?. Read more about becoming a house husband and let us know what you think.
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