Genevieve Kinecke has posted some interesting thoughts on the "Wifely Duty." She's exploring the toll that the two-career marriage has had on intimacy. And there are certainly some very good points there.
Most of my readers here aren't from two career families. They are moms at home, many of them homeschooling. So, the tendency is to reason that Genevieve's post has nothing to do with us. Ah, but it does. There is a mother-at-home corollary. And it's far more insidious because it creeps up on you when you think you are doing your duty and you scarcely know you are falling into its terrible claws.
Genevieve quotes the following, writing about the husband of a wife who is at work in the world all day:
So pity the married man hoping to get a bit of comfort from the wife at day's end. He must somehow seduce a woman who is economically independent of him, bone tired, philosophically disinclined to have sex unless she is jolly well in the mood, numbingly familiar with his every sexual manoeuvre, and still seething over his failure to wipe down the worktops after cooking the kids' dinner. He can hardly be blamed for opting instead to check his email, catch a few minutes of Match of the Day and call it a night.
I offer another scenario: The husband, home from a long day at work, checks with his wife via cell phone. There is no inviting smell meeting him as he walks through the front door. She is not at home, cooking dinner. Instead, she is shouting instructions over a bad cell connection to order pizza. He is to pick up two of their three children from soccer practice at the school across the street. She wants him to feed them, bathe them, and get them to bed. In the meantime, she will gather their daughter from band practice at school and rush her to her evening dance class. She'll dash through the grocery store during dance lessons and be home around nine. From there, the scenario will look much like the one quoted above, except for the economic independence.
Ladies, we don't have to be employed outside the home to lose the focus on hearth and home. We don't have to be employed outside the home to leave our homes devoid of a feminine presence. We can be lured away by the busy-ness of suburbia. We can be persuaded by coaches and teachers that one more class, one more practice, is completely necessary. We can feel insecure as we compare what our children are doing to the many and varied activities of the neighbors. We can find our own meaning of success in the extracurricular successes of our children. This just might be a trickier problem to solve. We want our children to have extracurricular opportunities. We want to be able to offer them chances to grow and explore. We want them to "succeed." But how do we do that without completely destroying the fabric of family life, making family dinners all but extinct, and rendering ourselves so exhausted and so unavailable for intimacy or conversation that we can do little more at the end of the day than roll over and go to sleep?