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We Tried Living As "Perfect Homemakers" For A Week And It Was Fucking Hard

"It's so hot. Maybe it's oppression I feel."

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'Sup. We are Morgan, Ochi, and Rose, and we are mom as the 2016 sense of the word mom.

We're deeply committed to sweatpants, use outdated slang, worry about chest colds, and do our best to keep our kids from being permanently scarred by social media.

But that mid-century domestic ideal that still haunts American mothers everywhere? Not so much.

BuzzFeed Video

Did you know that women were supposed to get dressed before they made breakfast in the 1930s? WITHOUT COFFEE. THE HUMANITY.

It started with this 1939 chart created by psychologist George W. Crane for husbands and wives to rate one another, thereby determining how they might improve their marriage.

Dr. George W. Crane

Dudes, this chart is crazy. You lose points for wearing red nail polish and falling asleep before your husband. (Here's what Dr. Crane expected of the men, if you're interested.)

So we, two full-time working moms and one stay-at-home mom, decided to see how we might measure up against Crane's midcentury expectations:

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BuzzFeedVideo / Via

Yes yes, my tongue has issues. Also that's not a crack, it's an old piercing scar.


Morgan: Working mom of 1

Morgan Shanahan / Via Instagram: @the818

Morgan: This was a kind of painful and upsetting experience for me. My family dynamic was shaped so much by the crippling postpartum mental illness I dealt with after my daughter was born, and it looks nothing like this chart. My husband Scott has become very accustomed to taking care of both of us and I knew in my gut that living as the "perfect homemaker" for a week was only going to highlight how much I don't do.

Going in to the week, I was pissed off that the rating scale ever existed, embarrassed about my own lack of self-care, and just really really anxious about the amount of work I was committing too. There was no plan to take any time off work, and I knew having to accomplish the items on the checklist along with working full time and y'know, breathing and stuff, was going to be a serious challenge.

In the end, I think it was an oddly cathartic experience for our family. I've been pitching in more, but Scott also reminded me again and again that I put the pressure to be "perfect" on myself this week. I'm lucky to have a partner that doesn't ask or expect that from me, and just loves me for who I am.

Rose: Stay-At-Home-Mom of 1

Rose Scobie

Rose: My first reaction when seeing the chart; WTF is this BULLSHIT? I’m a stay-at-home wife and mom, and I’m extremely fortunate to have such a loving husband who values my non monetary contributions to our family, but I still managed to score “poor” based on my day to day routine.

Even though I do make an effort to keep the house clean and orderly, I'd rather spend most of my day playing with my son. If it comes down to mopping the floor or going to the park with my son, I chose playing with my son. I also couldn't believe that I had to be the one to personally put my children to bed every night. My husband works all day and enjoys putting our son down at the end of the day.

The thing I was most anxious about the cooking element of this week. My husband is an excellent cook so he ends up making all our meals by default. To be honest, I never really cook because I'm intimated by his cooking skills and I feel that he won't like my food as much as something he would cook himself.

My biggest takeaway was that it really doesn’t matter if I’m not a gourmet cook — my family is so appreciative when I take the time to prepare meals for them. It’s just about being together. Going forward I am going to make all our meals during the work week. Although my husband did offer to make stews on Sunday that we could eat throughout the week. See!?! He's just better at it!

Ochi: Working Mom of 2

Ochi Scobie / Via

Ochi: I got angry reading the chart and all of the requirements that were expected of a woman in order to be a "perfect wife". Some of the reasons for getting demerits were ridiculous. Wearing red nail polish? Going to bed with curlers or face cream? I mean, can we live? After my anger wore off I got sad. These expectations were a reality for so many women including my Grandmother who was your typical all American Housewife during the time that this chart was created. I grew up listening to stories about her life and they always seemed so idyllic. I became emotional thinking about how this woman I loved so much could have been judged. Now that I'm a mom myself, I wish I had the opportunity to ask her about whether or not she felt any pressure to be "perfect" during that time.

My husband works from home so he ends up taking on a lot of the household responsibilities. We try to divide and conquer the morning and bedtime routines with the kids but he tends to do most of the day to day cleaning and make the family meals because if they waited for me to come home from work and cook, we'd all go hungry. On the weekends I like to make big breakfasts for the family. I make a mean huevos con tortilla.

First and foremost that I love my husband so much and I am incredibly grateful for him. He supports me in every way and I wouldn't be able to have the career I want without him. Secondly, I am so thankful to be alive in a time where women can make choices for how they want to live their lives. I know we still have a long way to go. But after trying to live up to these ideals for a week, I'm fortunate my husband loves me for who I am and he doesn't have any expectations about who I "should" be in order to receive his love.

Every woman is entitled to live the life that they want to have and shouldn't have to feel pressured to be perfect. I encounter that perfect pressure all the time. Do I spend enough time with my kids? Do I look too sloppy when I'm out with the family? Is my stroller cool? The list goes on and on... After this experience I've learned to be more forgiving of myself. There is no perfect way to be a woman, wife, or mother. All you can do is be true to yourself and live your best life.