The Recipe Doctor

From low-fat recipes to recipes designed for persons with diabetes, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, shares recipes and advice to create healthy meals that are guaranteed to please. [Editor's note: Elaine no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]

Being a Full-time Housewife Isn’t Woman’s Idea of Retirement

Cleaning and cooking all day long

By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD

Dear Ellie:

I have spent more than 50 years in the workforce and have successfully pursued a number of careers. I have a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctoral degree. I am recognized widely for my work.

Throughout my adult life and marriage, I have worked hard to balance my family and work responsibilities and to provide a model to my children and other women that this difficult juggling task could be accomplished. Although I have kept a beautiful and neat home and prepared many meals, housekeeping was never my favorite activity.

Now that I am working at home and my husband is retired and home for the better part of most days, I find that I am drifting back to the role of homemaker even more than when my children were young. I am doing more cleaning and making meals all day long. To be honest, I don’t like it at all. Is this what our “retirement years” are going to be like? Belinda

Dear Belinda:

Isn’t it ironic that the women of our generation spent their entire adulthood developing new and innovative ways to “have it all”—marriage, children, and career—and now that many of us are retired from full-time office-based work, we find ourselves once again being expected to be full-time housewives and caregivers.

I’m afraid that you are correct. All I can say is that we may have to begin writing and speaking out about this phenomenon, just as we did in our 20s and 30s.

If we have husbands who are well, we are grateful for their good health. But then we are expected to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for them. If our husbands are not well, then we are expected to become full-time caregivers. And if our husbands are deceased, we are free to reorganize and reinvent our lives, but we may be lonely. It feels like a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma.

I plan to probe this issue with groups that I am speaking to and meeting with over the next few months. I hope to hear some innovative approaches to this issue. After all, the very freedom that we have fought so hard to gain should not be slipping away from us in our older years. Ellie

By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD
Dear Ellie Blog


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