Laura Schlessinger, author of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. I found myself in good company: 64 percent of the Food Network's viewers are women, and of the over one million subscribers to Martha Stewart Living magazine, 79 percent are women. Dr. Laura's book is a bestseller. Clearly, I was not the only woman looking for a little advice on how to tackle this unfamiliar role.
My husband, Sujay, I should mention, did not entirely welcome my plans. He was worried that I wouldn't enjoy doing the housework, and that it would make me grumpy. As a product of the same generation, he never expected responsibility for housework to rest entirely on my shoulders. He was also petrified that other people might think he was the one encouraging this return to traditionalism. I promised that I’d explain to anyone who asked that it was my idea.
With Sujay then on board, I decided to go cold turkey: One Saturday morning I woke up, armed with a Barefoot Contessa chicken and garlic recipe and Martha Stewart's two-inch-thick homekeeping manual. To give myself extra motivation, I had invited our friends Mike and Pegg over for dinner. By 7 pm, I had to have a clean apartment and dinner ready, or I wouldn't just be a bad wife--I'd be a bad hostess, too.
I surveyed my surroundings. Shoes and grocery bags littered the area by the entrance way. The kitchen table was covered in dirty cereal bowls and various newspaper sections. My feet picked up crumbs each time I walked near the sink, which also seemed to be the source of a decomposing smell wafting into the rest of the apartment.
Start with 3 Cups of Lemon Juice
I dug in, ready to face the worst corner of the apartment, the kitchen. I relied on Martha Stewart's theory that lemons are one of the world's greatest cleaning tools. She recommends simmering half a dozen lemon slices in water for 10 minutes. In an effort to save time, I squeezed lemon juice around the sink and down the drain, which seemed to replace the bad smell with a fresh, citrus-infused one.
A clean sink: Check. That’s what appeals to me about being a housewife: Unlike at an office job, where the goals are often unclear and generated by someone else, housewifery involves very specific tasks that are met in quick succession: Sweep the floor. Make dinner. Do the dishes. I could cross them off my list.