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We Could All Use A Wife


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February 08, 2007

We Could All Use A Wife

Cathy Arnst

For the six years my amazing nanny Cheryl worked for me, people would always ask me how I could possibly manage as a single working mother. "Easy," I said, "I have a wife." Cheryl not only did a fabulous job raising Jesse (really, I learned how to be a mother from watching her), she also kept the apartment clean (though not in her job description), often cooked meals for me as well as Jesse (also, not in her job description), kept a running grocery list, found repairmen for me, and every season went through Jesse's closet, weeding out the things that were too small and switching off the summer and winter clothes. I often joked that I should have hired her years earlier just to take care of me. Unfortunately, once Jesse hit 2nd grade I really couldn't justify paying a full time nanny anymore, and although Cheryl is still very much a part of our life as a friend, I'm on my own at home. I still haven't recovered.

It seems I'm not alone in wanting someone to keep those home fires, well, clean. In a blog called A Cure For Hiccups, a medical student whose husband is also in med school (now that's a stress-filled household!) writes about Why Female Doctors Need A Wife .

A 1950's style wife - well, at least my personal stereotypical 1950's wife... you know... a pleasant person who is able to wash and iron your clothes each day, ensure the sheets are changed weekly, the tub is washed, the toilet scrubbed, and the floors vacuumed. Oh - and someone to cook healthy dinners, and make your lunch for the next day at work. I would like to be able to do the above things with a smile on my face... but I don't (no smile, no ironing, and DEFINITELY no smiling during ironing!). Not often enough, at least.

A few years ago I stumbled across a Home Economics textbook from the 1950's... I've found an online link that is similar for you enjoyment. My favorite statement, in teaching the wife how to behave for her husband is:

"Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to

take off his shoes. Speak in a low soothing and pleasant voice."

Now, wouldn't it be nice to have this when you arrive home from a long shift dealing with low urine outputs, digital rectal exams, requests for morphine from drug seekers, and 2am requests for chlorpromazaine to "cure hiccups"?

The blogger does an informal survey of 7 doctors-in-training and their spouses, and ALL agreed that a wife would be a highly useful addition to their households.

Interesting, not all of the above subject polled were married, making it obvious that regardless of sex or marital status, a wife would be highly appreciated.

She then goes on to write about Grey's Anatomy, a great alternative to doing housework, I'd say.

12:47 PM

Work/Life

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