Celeb’s Decision to Become a Traditional Housewife Totally Baffles Me

Say What!? 42

woman in apronMy mother-in-law loves to say "how modern I am" and she doesn't exactly mean it as a compliment. She was a very traditional wife. Dinner on the table every night. Spotless house. She even ironed her husband's boxers on especially chilly winter days so they were warm and toasty when he put them on. Even though she did eventually get a job once her son went to grade school, her priority was always cooking and cleaning over career. For me, it's the opposite. I love my husband dearly, but I'm not the traditional homemaker type. I know I am not alone in this. Many women are just not fulfilled by domesticity. But fact of the matter is, many young women are -- even those we don't typically expect to be. Case in point, volleyball champ and model Gabrielle Reece, whose philosophy on having a successful marriage sounds a bit stone age to me.

She's no Marissa Mayer/titan of industry. Still, there is a strength and type A determination I've always associated with her, especially given that she was a professional athlete. Right or wrong, those are not always attributes historically associated with someone whose goal is to be a traditional wife -- yet that is exactly who Gabby has chosen to be. While promoting her new book last week, My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper, she revealed the woman she became in order to have a happy marriage, and I haven't been able to get her comments out of my mind.

Gabby said that she is the woman and her husband Laird Hamilton is "clearly the male." She talks about serving her family -- and she means that literally. Dinner, laundry, and organizing her man's schedule fill her days. Though most surprising was her statement about the way men communicate: "I think the language that men understand and they receive -- is through food and through sex." Makes them sound a bit like cavemen, if you ask me. But I have to at least think about Gabby's perspective because she is obviously doing something right -- they have been married 17 years. Not many couples make it that long.

This dynamic works for them, but can it really work for the rest of us? I have no doubt that my husband would LOVE it if I took on those duties with the same vigor and pride instead of always groaning about what I consider annoying chores. But could I be happy putting these things above my other goals? Honestly, I don't think so. It's not what I busted my ass for in college and grad school. I feel energized and invigorated by making work a priority. Actually, calling it work is not really correct. It's something I enjoy. It's something I get up looking forward to doing and I feel very blessed to feel that way.

I will even go as far as to say I am a better wife and mom because I am able to contribute to something beyond my family. I get a sense of pride from it. And yes, that means I don't have time to be the perfect homemaker. And honestly, nor do I want to. I think it's important to note that while Gabby puts domesticity first, she was able to achieve most of her professional dreams years ago. Many of us are still in the process of climbing that ladder of success. I'm fulfilled by having a career -- a busy career. Again, that is not for everyone, but it's right for me. And as my husband always says, "Happy wife, Happy life."

Do you think taking on a more traditional wife role is the key to a happy marriage?


Image via browniesfordinner/Flickr

commitment, marriage


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nonmember avatar Rory Gilmore

I think if it works for Gabrielle Reece, more power to her! The beauty of feminism is we, as women, are able to choose our own destinies. For some, that's a demanding corporate job with nannies. For some, that's the traditional housewife role. For others, it's somewhere in between. She's a strong woman and made this decision because its what is best for her. I don't have a problem with it at all.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I don't think it's the key to a happy marriage because every marriage is different. During the week when my boyfriend works I cook, clean, and take care of everyone. When I work on the weekends he does all those things. He works hard so we can enjoy our lives so I say thank you by making sure he can come home and relax. And vice versa. That routine works for us :) 

nonmember avatar kaerae

I guarantee the woman he's cheating on Gabby with is not submissive. Submission may make for an easier marriage, but it damn sure isn't sexy!

Keran... Kerannmer

Yes, you can go as far as to say you ARE the better wife and mom, but only as it applies to YOUR husband and YOUR kids...maybe you'd suck at both if you had to live in her shoes. Or mine. Or anyone's shoes that aren't yours.

Aeris... AerisKate

I think it just depends on what makes you happy and your marriage.  If you had told me 10 years ago that I would go all the way through law school (and pass the bar exam) and then just a few years later give it all up to stay at home, I wouldn't have believed you.  However, things change when you get married and have kids.  Having my first child really made me realize what my purpose in life was and it wasn't being a lawyer.  I had been unhappy in my career, but wasn't sure why.  Now I know.  Staying at home and being "domestic" is what fulfills me and makes me happy.  That said, what fulfills someone else can be totally different because every single person is different.  I don't expect every woman to feel like I do.  I do not regret for a single moment quitting and coming home.  In fact, sometimes I wish I had met my husband sooner so I never would have gone to law school.  I get my academic outlet by volunteering and writing articles for a non profit organization. 

miche... micheledo

The idea that working outside the home means you are investing in more than your family is sad. It downplays our children, all children. I stay at home in order to invest in my children and society in what I believe the best way. Teaching, training, loving, raising my children all day every day is contributing to society. I believe/hope it does in a HUGE way.

That is not to say that you aren't, but please don't fool yourself and other women into thinking staying at home means you aren't contributing to society.

lulou lulou

I dont buy it. She wrote a book, what appears to be an extremely boring book, so obviously had the itch to do more.

aeneva aeneva

For some Gabby's way is what works for others it is not.  In our house we both work full time, but DH is self employed and is the one to get the kids on the bus and off the bus and more likely to attend school functions during school hours.  I was a SAHM while my children were still home all the time and loved it, but once they started school I wanted more.  To each their own is the way I look at it.  There were many women back in the day who longed to be out working, but it was frowned upon.  It should not be the other way now, but it tends to be somewhat frowned upon to be a SAHM.

amazz... amazzonia

The only important thing is to do what you enjoy, do it well then al the rest is just talk. The only important thing is to feel better with yourself 

redK8... redK8blueSt8

I love how you write that your mother in law " did eventually get a job..." As if mothering and homemaking are beneath her and not legitimate choices. 

Feminism today is such a crock. Telling girls they can be whatever they want, and then either subliminally or outright conveying that raising your own kids full time is not good enough and she's wrong for wanting to. It's flip flopped from the 60's when girls were told that it was wrong to not stay home with your kids. 

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