How to Piss Off a Housewife in 10 Easy Steps

1950s-housewifeDue partly to circumstance, partly to choice, I am a housewife.  No, it’s not what I imagined for myself.  It’s not what I went to college for or dreamed of as a young girl.  Cleaning up spills and brightening my whites is certainly not contributing to my Roth IRA.  But for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, I clean and cook and shop and fold and organize and plan and yada yada yada, blah blah blah.  I don’t bring home the bacon, but I do fry it up in the pan.  To the shock and horror of my English housewifery compatriots, I don’t iron, but barring the iron, the apron and the Valium, I’m not all that far from the stereotype, just slightly more updated.  Housewife Version 5.0.

When I worked full-time, there was nothing more infuriating than putting a lot of effort into a project and getting blanked in return.  A ‘thank you’, a ‘job well done’, or a ‘this looks great’ goes a long way in the workplace.  It’s the stuff of Management 101 class.  Being a housewife is like being blanked all the time.  Being a stay at home mother and a housewife is like that on steroids.  Imagine doing 6 or 7 mind numbingly boring, thankless projects at once and turning them in for approval just to be sent away with a back of the hand, I’m too busy flick.  There’s no feedback, no annual review, no performance analysis, no cost of living increase, no pats on the back, you should be proud, thanks for a great job.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.

That’s all fine, well and good.  I don’t expect a plaque or a trophy or a gold medal for vacuuming under the sofa.  I don’t think I deserve a new pair of shoes every time I make dinner or remember to schedule a doctor’s appointment.  But there is one thing that would make my current ‘job’ slightly more tolerable.

Accentuate the positive.  No, not me, I know the value in a freshly mopped and pine fresh floor, thank you.  I mean you.  Yes, you.

You want to know how to piss a housewife off?  Do any of the following.images

Comment on the size of the dust bunny behind the door.  Come now, you really should know better.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the size of the Easter Dust Bunny.  It doesn’t matter if it’s more a dust T-Rex than a dust bunny.  Pick the damn thing up and put it in the trash.  And then say something about how pine fresh the floor smelled that morning.  You see?  Accentuate the positive.

Complain there’s no food in the house.  Even if you are down to the emergency hurricane rations, the dented tins that came with the house.  Instead, the next time the fridge is full, try this:  “Wow!  Look at all that food! ”  And don’t ask if she’s planning on doing something with the wilted celery.  Throw it away, without comment.

Use any of the following endearments when talking about the house, the food, or the laundry;  honey, dear, sweetie, babe, sugar-buns, lamb-chop et al.  Preceding anything to do with the home with a syrupy term of endearment sounds patronizing and is asking for a punch in the throat.

Stomp around looking for something that’s still at the bottom of the laundry pile.  The next time she does an extra load after the normal 3 to accommodate the jeans that have to be washed at precisely 18 degrees, accentuate the positive.

Criticize a new meal that doesn’t turn out right.  Sure, maybe you will leave the table with a coat of salt on your tongue.  Maybe your heartburn will act up or you feel like you could use that piece of meat as a doorstop.  There will be time enough down the road to tell the truth.  Suck it up and drink extra water to balance out the increased sodium intake.

Start a sentence with “Did you remember to…?”  or “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”.  There is no quicker way to raise someone’s hackles than to start a sentence that way.  Sometimes in the middle of breaking up an argument in the dairy aisle of the grocery store while talking to your mother on the phone and trying to remember whether or not the washer repair man is coming in the next five minutes, things fall through the cracks.

Give unsolicited advice on how to clean the house, cook or wash a load of clothes.  It’s boring enough doing all that stuff most days.  The only thing that could make that worse is someone who doesn’t do it all the time coming along thinking that they have a way to make it better.  If you are male, and you value your testicles in their present state, don’t offer suggestions.

6458802_origSay things like “You look like you could use some help”.  Of course she looks like she could use some help.  Everyone could use some help.  But by saying that, it implies she’s doing a lousy job.  Sure, you mean well, but remember, accentuate the positive.

Ask what she does all day.  Ever, ever, ever.  (Hint:  we don’t meet up in costume in a secret location and plan how to make your lives miserable, I promise)

Belittle or criticize or patronize her hobbies.  When you are a woman who used to get validation from your work and now you are at home, sometimes part of your soul gets vacuumed up with the dust bunnies (even the big ones).  Finding something to keep your brain occupied, whether it be scrapbooking, book club, macrame or blogging, is crucial.  Making snide comments about pin-money and wasted time is just mean.

There are a lot of jobs out there that no one wants to do.  But even those workers get weekends off and unemployment benefits and holiday time.  If your toddler vomits in bed on a Saturday morning, you can’t call the union and make them pay you overtime.  You can’t go on strike or take a real vacation or even a lunch break.  So be nice and tell the housewife in your life you appreciate all she does.  In fact, do a good deed and spread the word.

Just don’t start with the sentence with “Honey….”

23 thoughts on “How to Piss Off a Housewife in 10 Easy Steps

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  1. I started a post this morning where I griped about the phrase “You look like you could use some help”- ha! 🙂 Love this whole post… though I think I would point out a t-rex sized dust bunny, even if it’s only to suggest we actually shape it into t-rex. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had some pretty big dust animals in the past. Big enough to endow with anthropomorphic abilities, almost. But I promise if I see another one approaching dinosaur size, I will stop and snap a picture for you ;-).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Agreed! I am probably the world’s worst at housework, and to have a cleaner house in 30 seconds I merely remove my glasses/contacts. If the kids see me cleaning up, they ask if someone is coming over.

    My mother used to complain that nobody ever noticed when she cleaned the house, but then she would smile and add, “But nobody notices when it’s messy either.” That’s the kind of family to have.


    1. The trick is to get everyone on board with what their definitions of messy/clean really are. I am quite neurotic when it comes to paper and toys, but my closet is a disaster. But I feel like cleaning is something I am always doing, and for no good reason!


    1. I think you should put a suggestion box by the front door for just such an occasion. And then you can show the offender in the direction of the door any time that phrase occurs.


  3. Great piece, Dina. It makes me realize that I’ve gotten off pretty lightly. The only time I’ve considered mariticide (had to look it up, but I knew there’d be a word!) was, while trying to jointly accomplish some task (possibly assembling something from IKEA), Mr. DW turned to me and without a trace of irony said, “Wow, it is a lot of work running a relationship!”


    1. Putting together Ikea furniture as a couple is right up there with the big relationship don’ts in my book. Don’t let your spouse teach you to drive a manual car. Or to ski. Or to play a competitive game. Or put together flat packed furniture. Running a relationship. That’s classic.


  4. Agreed! I thought this was really funny. I am an overeducated house wife about to start my third university degree and my second masters degree. I crochet and knit. Don’t knock it. I am also a single mum of three kids. I ALWAYS could use some help, but if anyone tells me so I swear I’ll give them the stink-eye!


    1. Exactly! Most of us would give our eye teeth and an arm for some help. But the suggestion has to come from us, not from someone else. I knit too (sort of). And kudos to you for raising one more child than I am with one LESS parent. Hats off to you.


  5. Even though I stay home I’ve cut a deal with hubby. He cleans the house (I hate cleaning with a passion) and I grocery shop, cook and coupon. He hasn’t cooked a meal in the last year and I haven’t scrubbed a toilet in just as long. For a housewife I am spoiled. I like it that way.


    1. You are spoiled! Though I admit that usually my husband does clean the bathrooms–it’s a tolerance thing. I can’t stand mess and disorganization, but I can usually overlook the water stains in the toilet or the rings in the tub. He’s the opposite. Most of the time, it works :-).


  6. Hahahahahaha. Omg. This is amazing. I love every word. Oh, and yes, yes, YES. Thank you!!!!!! 10000% agree.

    I am a stay at home mom mostly by circumstance and partially by choice. Nonetheless this is my life. I have my masters degree and there is nothing more irritating than people belittling me… and of course being blanked over all the freakin’ time.



    1. I am very grateful that I am able to stay home. Most of the time. But it’s a thankless job for sure. And it’s never ending. And monotonous. But the thing is, it IS my job at the moment and I do the best I can. But that’s life, I guess. No one’s going to give us a raise!


  7. Just recently I started working from home, which has taken away alot of my time from doing the cleaning up. Now i just have to make more money to pay a cleaning lady! Oh, and my peeve is when i´ve just magically managed to mop up the floors and here come the kids with crackers in their hands. Or its time again to overturn the toy bucket. Or I havent managed to organized anything in the living room / play room and hubby comes in and just drops his clothes in the middle of the floor, on top of the legos and toycars…..SERIOUSLY. Ive simply managed to live with the mess….Its better for my nerves.


    1. For some reason I seem to always cook/serve rice on days when I mop. It’s like I have some sort of subconscious desire to make my hard work moot. I find myself muttering, much like my mother, “I don’t know why I even bother….”


  8. My husband is OCD….you can imagine how much fun THAT is. But it’s also the reason I am the housewife. If he were the housewife, he’d drive himself absolutely insane cleaning and have no time for anything else! Like the hobbies that keep us sane.


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