The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Cuts Like a Wife

Two bloggers. Two different hemispheres. One vision (largely impaired by too much clutter, dirt and booze). Exposed for all the world to see as Housekeepers of Ill-Repute, Proprietresses of Dubious Maternal Instinct, and Woefully Neglectful Wives.

Here they are, flashing their dirty bits yet again in the third (and final) of three simultaneous postings. Click here to read the sister-post. 


We are stay-at-home mothers and wives, among other things. We’ve already come clean about our not-so-perfect attempts at housekeeping and child-rearing, and now it is time to spill the beans about our marriages. 

Marriage is hard. There are ups and downs. If it were easy, everyone would or could do it. But we all know what the divorce stats are these days. This is not something to be entered into or written about lightly. I knew I’d need some input for this post. 

I asked my husband, The Gatekeeper, for ideas on this topic and he just sniggered.  I prodded him: “Come on Honey, here’s your chance… I’m writing about what a shitty wife I am… let me have it! What should I say?” His response was, “Well, basically just write about what you do any given day.”  


“Very funny,” I chided. “Yes, your life is so awful, isn’t it?!”

“Did you say life or wife?”

“Dude. You are askin’ fer it.” 

“Yep. Am I gonna get it?” 

Cut to the Barry White music, dim the lights, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, and 30 seconds later we were smoking cigarettes and checking our pulses. Kidding. We don’t smoke. 

My point is, I think we have a pretty good marriage. We like each other most of the time, we have a few laughs now and then, we love each other unconditionally, we support each other, and we both seem generally satisfied with the status quo… or so I thought. 

But last night we were both reading in bed and he started laughing out loud. I found this interesting because he had just started to read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was a Christmas gift to him from my parents all about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. President Elect Obama said that if he could only take two books with him to the White House, one would be the Bible and the other would be this book. Now, I have a hard time imagining that this nearly 1000 page historical tome would be laugh-out-loud-funny, but whatever. I, on the other hand, was reading Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark. This ought to give you a clear understanding of how different we are. But you know what they say about opposites attracting.

Anyhooo, I was just dying to know what in that big ol’ boring book could possibly be so damn funny and asked him to share. He turned to me with a smirk and told me to listen to this journal entry written by Judge Edward Bates in the 1850s (Bates was one of Lincoln’s opponents in the race for the Presidency in 1860):

“How happy is my lot! Blessed with a wife & children who spontaneously do all they can to make me comfortable, anticipating my wishes, even in the little matter of personal convenience, as if their happiness wholly depended on mine. O! it is a pleasure to work for such a family, to enjoy with them the blessings that God so freely gives.” 

Yes. Well that is pretty damn funny, isn’t it.  And funny that it is from a book called Team of Rivals, because isn’t that what marriage feels like sometimes? 

But back to that quote… now, is it just me, or have times changed quite a bit? 

I mean, excusez-moi, but I don’t know a single woman or child who lives purely to provide comfort and joy to their husband or father. Am I wrong here? Or am I just associating with the wrong people? 

Not only do I NOT do ANYTHING to anticipate the wishes and needs of my husband, but it is not unusual for him to flat out tell me to my face what he wants and for me to still not do it. And yet, I think he has it pretty good. Sure, there is a shirt of his that has been buried under a pile on my ironing board for close to two months that I keep forgetting to iron for him. And yes, I sometimes forget to buy his favorite soap or deodorant at the store, to the extent that he has to remind me umpteen times and then often ends up going to the store himself for it. And of course, I have been known to secretly stalk ex-boyfriends on Facebook once in a while. So what. 

I had one of my Aunties visiting me a while back and she was watching the clock one day. It got close to 5 pm and she said, “Aren’t you going to go get cleaned up a little? Put on some makeup? Your husband will be home soon.” I laughed until I practically peed my pants. “WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Should I mix up a martini and meet him at the door with his slippers too? Hell no! It’s garbage night. He needs to take out the garbage when he gets home, walk the dog, and then take Nature Boy to scouts. In about an hour I will be busy wiping the food off the floor and walls that Bucket Head tosses all around the room while he eats. Why on Earth would I go get gussied up NOW?”  But again, it’s a different world today. The way I see it, marriage is an equal partnership. Serve and be served. Give and ye shall receive. The wife is not property. The wife has a lot more on her plate than merely anticipating and acting on every need and desire of her master husband. 

Remember how I recently said that my parenting sins aren’t so bad compared to others’ sins and how life is all about making comparisons and justifications?

Well, I figure, I may not be the most attentive wife on the planet, but my husband could have it so much worse.  

One of my best friends was telling me just the other day that her husband was nagging her about not getting the laundry done. Been there. When my husband gets on my back about me not meeting one or more of my homemaking obligations, it usually lights a fire under my ass and makes me want to show that bastard by getting it done faster/better/more whatever, so I can then say “SO THERE!” But not my friend. You know what she did? She secretly took her hubby’s dirty undies out of the hamper, folded them, and put them back in his drawer. That poor bastard is probably wearing dirty skivvies right this very minute! HA! 

I know another woman who once peed in her husband’s chicken soup because she couldn’t stand all his bellyachin’ when he was sick and he had been treating her like shit. No lie. 

And I can’t even count how many of my friends hate having sex with their husbands and joke about how they avoid it at all costs and can totally live without it. Or how about that poor woman on Oprah last week who has been faking orgasms for 24 years?! Lordhavemercy. See that… there are a lot of people out there with wives way worse than me. 

So you see, I think my husband has it pretty good. Yes, I’m not the best housekeeper or cook. No, I don’t knock myself out to look pretty for him at the end of the day… who has time for that shit?  I may e-flirt shamelessly with Facebook friends, and forget to pick up the dry cleaning, or buy the right snacks. But I make sure that my husband has clean undies most of the time. I cut his hair every few weeks. I call his parents just to say hi once in a while. I give him back scratches and bake him cookies now and then. And I love him… with my heart and with my body, and way more than the national average for married couples, thankyouverymuch. 

So husband, you go ahead and laugh about how absurd it is that over one hundred and fifty years ago there existed a man who wrote in a journal that his wife lived to please him. I agree. That is hilarious. I’d really like to read HER journal entry. Oh wait, she probably wasn’t allowed to learn to read and write. Yes… times have changed, haven’t they? And honey, would you care for some more chicken soup?

5 comments on “Cuts Like a Wife

  1. Pingback: Cuts Like a Wife « Not Drowning, Mothering.

  2. Not Drowning Mother
    January 14, 2009

    Aw, gee, Iris. You got me a bit misty-eyed there but then packed a punch with the chicken soup line at the end.

    I reckon the difference between your post and mine is this: your husband will read yours and then promptly cue up some Barry White on the stereo whilst my husband (should he ever read mine) will immediately forward the URL to his legal team.

    Write on, sister-blogger-girlfriend!

  3. faemom
    January 14, 2009

    Great post! And it kills me when I read about how women lived to please their husbands; but it also kills me to think some of my friends are to determined to make sure their husbands are well satisifed a week after they had a baby. *roll of eyes* I can’t wait until my husband reads that part in Team of Rivals. Again, awesome post!

  4. The Sober Fool
    January 14, 2009

    My husband does the laundry. From now on, I’m going to inspect my undies before donning.

  5. flyingheidigirl
    January 24, 2009

    i was laughing out loud at this post, my husband asks what’s so funny, and i begin reading aloud…and he stops me after i cite the Team of RIvals book…apparently, he just bought this.


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This entry was posted on January 14, 2009 by in feminist, married and tagged , , , , , .
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