Claire Huxtable, Not June Cleaver
From as early as I can remember, I knew that one day I would marry, have babies, become an interior designer, movie star, lawyer, astronaut and concert pianist. I wasn’t sure how I would pull all of these things off, but I just knew it was possible.
I grew up in the ancestral continuance of a single, female household. I was surrounded by women who worked, mothered, took care of themselves, — impeccably might I add — and answered to no one, let alone a man. Some might view this as a disadvantage of sorts because there were no male figures around and of course, this could prove disastrous for a young girl who planned to marry.
Like most girls, I read the fairy tales that promised a “Prince Charming” that saved his princess from the tower and hence afforded her all the luxuries of her desires in a life of “happily ever after.”
Growing up, I had a television that gave me glimpses of housewives like “Mrs. Brady,” “June Cleaver,” and “Donna Reed.” These were women who didn’t work, were impeccably dressed and catered unceasingly to their husbands. And they were happy with their lives of service too.
At one point, my perception of what a married woman looked and acted like changed. I was introduced to the matriarch of my dreams. “Claire Huxtable” from The Cosby Show was the mother to aspire to. She was Black, she was a professional, had a working husband, and a boat load of children. She had it all!! THIS was who I believed I should emulate. She was everything. I planned to be her.
While “Claire” was a fairy tale, her portrayal aligned more with my goal-oriented, independent mindset. her character gave my imagination free reign to have the career I always wanted. With very few real-life references, this was my blueprint.
Fast forward to my adult life and I am now a wife and mother who has been ridiculed about how I choose to operate in my household.
“You should stay in more, you’re a wife.”
“How does your husband feel about you working so much?”
“Are you submitting to your husband? You don’t want to be too strong.”
“You modern women won’t keep a man with that type of attitude.”
For someone like me, these statements mean very little. I was raised to be a super hero of sorts that did everything and answered to no one. How was I supposed to fully submit and live only for my husband, while chasing success and embody a “Donna Reed” persona all at once?
Truthfully, I didn’t marry the type of man that expects me to iron his boxers and meet him at the door with his slippers and a stiff drink. He, too, is a modern man that understands the effects of working a 60-hour week. He knows that I should be allowed a night out with my girls and a NAP. Times have changed when women are required to dedicate their lives solely to their man. This does not mean in any way that women should neglect their families and focus solely on their careers and self. It just means that marriage is not as uneven as it was formally portrayed.
To be clear, I’m not against submission in a marriage. I know that if my husband requires a back rub after a long day, I’m not “weak” because I gave it to him. I’m simply stating that marriage is a partnership. There is no way to have a successful union and not understand the need for one’s autonomy.
“June Cleaver’s” way of life isn’t a reality. “Claire’s” isn’t a complete reality either, but it’s way more realistic than the wifely portrayals of 1963. So to all of the modern women who work or stay at home, I am here to tell you, be more like “Claire Huxtable” than Mrs. Cleaver. Find time for yourself, even when you don’t believe it’s available. It will make you a far happier person. Remember, a happy wife, is a happy life!
Laura Miller is the founder of The SistaGurl Blog at www.thesistagurl.com which she uses to empower women to be their true selves; Confident, Strong, Honest, and most of all POWERFUL. She is an Official Media Correspondent of The Six Brown Chicks and continues to utilize her empathetic nature as a tool to help and inspire the masses.