Says former desperate housewife Darla Shine to stay-at-home moms everywhere: What have you got to complain about? A modern-day guide to keeping house, raising kids, and loving life.
Darla Shine was once a desperate housewife. Being at home with two small children and a husband who was rarely home was enough to drive her crazy. She left her high-profile job as a television producer after her son was born, while her husband continued to move up the corporate ladder. Like many of her stay-at-home-mom friends, Shine employed a housekeeper and baby-sitters so she could spend her time running to the salon, the club, and out to lunch. Then one day she was whining to her mother about how terrible her life was, and her mother yelled at her to wake up and stop being so selfish. It was just the wakeup call she needed!
The desperate housewife craze of today is sending the wrong message to women and their children everywhere, says Shine. When did being a good mom and being proud to stay home with the kids go out of style? When did it become acceptable to cheat on your husband? When did mothers start dressing like their teenage daughters? Shine finds the standards of today's desperate housewives astonishingly low, and she has set out to teach women how they can be good mothers, look good, and feel good about the choices they make. Being a housewife does not mean you are on house arrest or can't be satisfied in your marriage. So step up, realize that you want to be home with your children, and embrace your life.
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About the Author
Darla Shine was a television producer who left the business to stay home with her children. She worked on several networks, including PBS and NewsTalk Television, one of the first twenty-four-hour cable news networks. Darla's podcast can be heard at www.darlashine.com. She lives with her husband and two children on Long Island, New York.
Read an Excerpt
Happy HousewivesI Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife--But I Finally Snapped Out of It...You Can, Too!
By Darla Shine
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Darla Shine
All right reserved.
Please Stop Whining!
Let's stop acting like desperate housewives
Snap out of it!
Count your blessings every day
Please, I cannot take another minute of hearing women talk about how desperate they are. What's going on? When did it become fashionable to be an out-of-control mother on the edge? When did it become in style not to have your act together? When did it become popular to be a desperate housewife?
What on earth is going on in this society when one of America's highest-rated shows promotes drug abuse, adultery, statutory rape, murder, bad mothering, and the basic breakdown of family values?
When did we women decide that we wanted our image to turn from happy homemaker to desperate housewife? Is this really the image we want?
Do you think I'm overreacting? I don't think so. I'm sick and tired of hearing women who have it all bitch about how hard they have it and how much more they want. I'm so disgusted with it all that I had to sit down and write this book. I want to help all women out there who think they're desperate to stop, smell the roses, and wake up before it's too late—before you lose your marriage, before yourchildren are ruined, before you destroy yourself in the process.
Let's Stop Acting Like Desperate Housewives
I want mothers everywhere to dismiss this horrible image of desperation and come together to promote the image of the happy housewife, the mother who has her act together, the woman who has a strong marriage, the mother who wants to be with her children, the woman who is proud to be raising her family.
You can do it. The first step you need to take is to stop whining. Stop complaining. Stop it now!
We really are tired of hearing how hard your life is. We're all struggling to do the best we can. All moms are in the same boat. We all want the best for our children. We all want to keep our marriages alive. We all want to be happy. We all want to raise our families without losing our minds. Hey, I know it's hard. It's a struggle. I work hard every single day to pull it all together, but you know what? I make it work.
I do think some of us work harder than others. I see a lot of moms who are at home but not really there. These are the moms who are out all day shopping, playing tennis (well, I do this, too, but there's a limit), and going to the salon, and yet they never seem to have time to play with their kids, cook a meal, or clean their own house. I have noticed that the women who have the big houses, the housekeepers, and money to burn are the ones who seem to complain the most.
I know. I used to be one of them. I had a housekeeper, I was going to the salon at least twice a week, I was going out every weekend with my husband, and mostly I was turning into a lazy, self-absorbed blob. I didn't know it then, but looking back now I can see how much time I spent complaining about my life, whining about being a mom, and trying to keep myself superbusy so I wouldn't have to face the dreary monotony of everyday mommy/housewife life. I left my career to be with my children because I thought I had no other choice, and I was full of resentment. I refused to let myself feel like a housewife. I rejected the idea of motherhood. I told myself it was all temporary, like a criminal sentence—and I was doing my time.
I began to get disconnected from my home and my kids. I hired sitters—any teenager Happy Housewives I could get my hands on—to come over to my house just so I could get out for a pedicure. I was so desperate one time that I brought home some twenty-two-year-old girl I met at the beauty shop to play with my daughter so I could take a nap. I got so lazy that if I spilled some jelly on the counter I wouldn't even wipe it up—I would leave it for the maid. I was out of control.
The saddest part was that even though I had all this help, and my husband could afford to give me new clothes and other pointless crap, I still wasn't happy. I still felt on the edge. I still couldn't appreciate any of the blessings in my life. All because deep inside I still felt as if I were too good to be just an at-home mom and housewife.
Then one day I said this to my mother. I called her while she was on vacation in Florida and asked her when she was coming back home, because I was exhausted and felt on the edge. I remember telling her that I wanted to drive my truck into a tree. I was being sarcastic, of course, but while I was whining and complaining, she began to flip out. My mother told me off good. She said that I had a lot of nerve. What the hell did I have to complain about? I had a beautiful house, two healthy kids, and a husband who loved me, and I should shut up and count my blessings. My mother proceeded to remind me about my cousin who was struggling every day to pay her bills, the woman in my play group who just died of lung cancer, my friend who had six miscarriages, my neighbor who had to deliver a stillborn baby. She told me that even though she and my father had me when they were only eighteen and lived in a tiny apartment with no money, no car, and no family support, she was happier than I was, and she never complained. She also reminded . . .
Excerpted from Happy Housewives by Darla Shine Copyright © 2006 by Darla Shine. Excerpted by permission.
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