What’s the difference between a housewife and a slave?

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According to my daughter? Not much.

So, as you may have already gleamed from previous posts, I am a housewife/stay at home mom. I feel weird saying that I am a stay at home mom because my daughter is actually a teenager and at school all day. I don’t think it’s fair to moms that stay home with babies and toddlers all day to put us on the same level, know what I mean?

Anyway, I usually refer to myself as a housewife, not a stay at home mom.

The thing is, the members of my household have very different ideas about what that actually means.

My husband doesn’t really see my being a housewife as any different from when I was working – because I did most of the housework then too, or the maid did it. (Yes, I had a maid that came twice a month. Don’t hate, I worked long hours!) My husband is one of those people that doesn’t demand much; he could care less if I cooked dinner or we ordered take out. He could care less if I did the laundry, made the bed, etc. He is sooo low maintenance!

But my daughter?

That’s a whole different story. 

Last week, she was working on a project for school and we were both sitting on the couch while she did it. I was working on a blog post and she was working on her little craft for school. She asked me to get her a napkin and I told her that I was busy working on something. She got upset because she felt that I could very easily stop working on my post and do it for her…while I felt that she could just as easily stop what she was doing and get it herself – after all, she was the one that needed it.

The endless requests for me to do things for her all. day. long. are getting old.

“Mom, can you get me a drink?”

“Mom, can you get me a napkin?”

“Mom, can you go find my phone for me?”

“Mom, can you turn off the TV for me?”

Mom, can you go in my room and get my hair band?”

Do you notice the trend? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do get up and do whatever it is that she asks of me if I am not doing anything. I don’t mind getting my teenager a drink when she asks nicely. But I don’t HAVE to do it, know what I mean?

However, she disagrees. We got into a disagreement last week about my responsibilities as a housewife. According to her, because I “don’t do anything all day” (re: I don’t have a job outside the home), that my job is to do whatever anyone in the family needs me to do.


Yeah, I’ll explain.

She thinks that in addition to all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the pets and errand-running, I should also wait on her hand and foot. Oh, and clean her room.

Yeah, that’s not happening.

While she does appreciate the things I do for her and the family, and frequently tells me thank you and how lucky she is to have such an awesome mom (okay, I’m paraphrasing), I hate it that she expects me to do so much for her just because I don’t have a job.

I fear I might be raising a sexist daughter.

We had a long talk about respect, about what parents are supposed to do for their kids and what they can do if they choose to – we’re talking the difference between my cooking dinner for her and my cleaning her bedroom. One thing is my responsibility as her parent – the cooking dinner and providing food for her. The cleaning of the bedroom? She’s 14 years old and it is HER responsibility to pick up after herself.

So, I’m hoping that the next time she is being too lazy to get up and get herself a drink, and asks me to do it for her, she might have a better attitude when I say “no.”

But even more so, I hope she’s learned a little something about respect – I’m her mother, and yes, I am a housewife…but I am not her slave!

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  1. says

    I needed this… my 9-year-old son treats me like a slave, too, and I realize that I need to make some changes now, so he doesn’t grow up with that attitude. It’s just been so easy with one child to just do things for him. But I’m really doing him a disservice. Great post!

  2. says

    ooooooh nooooooo! My kids know know damn well I don’t “Do Nothing” all day. In fact I’m not a housewife, I’m a SAHM and WAHM. The cleaning and chores and errands get done after the bill paying work gets done. The kids have their own list of chores to do and it will stay that way until we get a maid too :)

  3. says

    My husband helps out so much around the house and we try to make the kids do certain little things to help also. I don’t think you are wrong at all.

  4. Megan says

    She sounds like me with my husband. Lol. Maybe I need to get off the computer at night and get myself a drink. But I can’t massage my own back!

  5. says

    Ugh – kids. I have a 15 year old step-son and if he ever asked me to get him a drink instead of getting up and getting it himself, he’d be in for a knuckle sandwich. Same goes for my 4 & 7 year olds. LOL.

    • says

      LOL Knuckle sandwich! I love it! My dad used to say that when I was growing up but I never hear anyone say it anymore!

  6. says

    Oh the joys of the teenage years! :) I worked full time as a nurse for 7 years and being at home all day everyday is MUCH more demanding. My kids try to pull this one on me all the time too. Although they are a little younger I know that most of the time they can do many things on there own.

  7. says

    Teenagers know exactly how to drive you batty – My daughter tries to pull this kind of thing on me (she’s only 11) and it annoys me. She gets huffy when I tell her she can do these things herself. My teen son hardly ever asks me to wait on him and when he does, he’s usually joking.

  8. says

    I was almost in tears this morning because 99.9999% of the time I am the only one who does anything around the house. I have got to put my foot down and get some help from my husband and kids because it’s not fair for it to be all on our shoulders kwim.

  9. usa2elsewhere says

    If you’re able-bodied and minded but supported by your husband and you deliberately took on the role of homemaker, your job is to do almost all housework. Skipping a day per week, or any small amount should not be what keeps you from feeling like a slave. Don’t you realize a homemaker doesn’t have the power of the breadswinner? and yes, it IS close to slavery.. Of course no one is owned and free to leave, but where would many women go???? Sounds very close to slavery. Do yourselves a favor, all financially supported people — get a great skill, then use it, knowing your responsibiliry is to make a living, just as much as any man. Chuck the stupid gender roles! Money is power, like it or not.

  10. S. Cooper says

    You guys are a bunch of house slaves posing as if you do just as much as field parents. Making excuses for your mediocrity. You all do realize that most parents do everything you do, and more (!) while mailing a REAL job, besides being a sex sl*ve. You have neither anything of your own, or any power. You’re flat out lazy, and with everything to lose, which is exactly why you stay in line.

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