Raising a Daughter to be a "Good Wife"

According to this book, one of the five keys to raising a daughter is to be a good wife, because in doing so, you're shaping your daughter's future relationships with men. What the authors fail to leave out of this little gem is exactly what it actually means to be a "good wife."

If you asked my husband, he'd say being a good wife means permanently surrendering control of the remote, ordering pizza every night for dinner, and taking out a home equity line of credit to purchase a wall-mounted 52-inch LCD television for our bedroom.

But if you asked me, you'd get a much different response.

A few of the "Five Keys to Raising a Daughter," which I first mentioned here, don't seem all that difficult to put into practice:

"Be her mother not her best friend."

I've seen so many examples in my own life of mothers trying to do exactly this. Young girls need guidance, discipline, and a role model. Mothers who choose not to provide these because they're worried their children "won't like them" get a child who doesn't respect them or their authority in return.

(Not to mention that there's nothing more pathetic than a 40-something woman wearing low-rise jeans and a backless belly shirt to the elementary school to pick up her 4th grader.)

"Be a strong, confident woman."

For all my less-than-stellar personality traits, and believe me, there are many, one thing I've never seemed to lack, at least in my adult years, is self-esteem. I have a pretty keen awareness of my faults and of my talents. I know where I can succeed (sucking down an entire pot of coffee before most people finish a single cup), and I know where I will fail (math. Anything at all that has to do with math). I know what I stand for. Most of the time, I'm able to achieve what I set out to do.

I hope Isabella is able to see these traits in me (and that she can ignore the fact that her mother is stubborn, controlling, and tightly wound). I hope she never doubts her own self-worth, or questions her importance in the world.

But the "be a good wife" key poses some problems. If a girl is supposed to learn what this means from her mother, I'm not sure I ever did.

My own mother is an amazing person. She's a talented artist. She's a perpetual Pollyanna and has the uncanny ability to see the good in every situation, and in every person she meets. She was an incredible mother to my sister and me as we grew up, and she's still an incredible mother today.

That said, she's a three-time divorcee. She's currently on her fourth marriage, to the infamous #4. I have no good memories of a traditional and loving two-parent household. I never learned from her what it takes to make a marriage work (although I learned plenty from her mistakes).

Now, if you asked me if I think I'm a good wife, then of course I'd respond, "Hells, yeah, I am!" We've been married for almost six years, and together for over 10. We laugh together as we do with no one else. We encourage eachother to spend time apart with our friends. And he has a lovely dinner prepared by my great aunt and microwaved by me waiting for him each night when he comes home from work. Now, what more could a man want, I say!

But in all seriousness, I wonder about this. I wonder what Isabella will learn from me about what it takes to be a "good wife" and how she'll apply this if and when she ever decides to marry. I certainly don't think there's a universal set of "good wife" characteristics; each marriage defines these individually. So I'll throw this out there:

What do you think makes a woman a "good wife"? And, if you're married, what do you think your child will learn from your own marriage about what it means to be a "good wife"?

That was a little heavy for what's traditionally a big burger and beer day in the good ole' U.S. of A, so I'll wrap up with this: Even if I never really learned how to be a good wife, despite my insistence that I am a pretty damn amazing one, at least someone out there thinks I rock. Damselfy has bestowed upon me the honor of being a

And I hereby pass this honor onto the following people:

Who is knockin' on the door to her 30s and is hoping no one answers.
Who could use a hug.
Who recently went through Herculean efforts to potty-train her son with positive results!
Who just celebrated her 43rd wedding anniversary.
Who just adopted an adorable new puppy.

Isabella wishes all Interrupted Wanderlust's American readers a Happy 4th.

And because she loves Canada (especially Toronto) as much as her mother does, she wishes all the Canadian readers out there (Hi Ramona!) a belated Happy Canada Day!

Check out my shoes, Ramona. They finally fit!

9 Responses to “Raising a Daughter to be a "Good Wife"”

  1. # Blogger kenju

    I do hope you'll let her read this when she is old enough to understand. Kids need to know what we go through when raising them! LOL

    THANKS! for the designation. Although some might take issue with the word "girl" used to describe me, I take it as a compliment all around!

    The photos and the shoes are darling! I'd like some like that myself!  

  2. # Blogger sher

    Oh, I love those shoes! That is just precious. When she can't wear them anymore--make a collage of her shoes!  

  3. # Blogger kenju

    I linked to you tonight, Kristi. Thanks again.  

  4. # Blogger Ramona

    I think that you are a pretty darn good example of what a good wife is. You and Rich are friends and respect each other. You both keep a nice home and are raising a gorgeous daughter. I think in this day and age, a good wife, means being a good partner. Isabella will no doubt see this as she grows into a lovely young girl.
    :) I love those little shoes and am so glad that they finally fit!
    And, thanks for the award, too!  

  5. # Blogger My Wombinations

    Could that little munchkie be any cuter??? Thanks for the designation and as for being a good wife... hmmm... I think it is less about letting the man get his own way and more about providing intellectual stimulation and a lifelong challenge. As a model of strong womanhood, you are setting the best possible example for your daughter.  

  6. # Blogger Marie

    Good question on the good wife thing. I think I'm fumbling with that one myself! I think mutual respect & taking care of each other are key... You have to be able to depend on each other.

    Love the shoes on the little cutie!!

    Aren't you a peach for the tag, Kristi!  

  7. # Blogger Damselfly

    She looks *so* cute in that dress and shoes! And I'm sure you're a "pretty damn amazing wife," flat-screen TV or not. Just the fact you are reading books like that and thinking about it must mean you will do a good job raising your girl.  

  8. # Blogger sunShine

    Isabella is so darn adorable!  

  9. # Blogger Shannon

    It is so hard to prepare kids now a days... Jeremy and I were talking about this... I want Lore to be independent... but not so much she is a loner... I want her to know how to cook and how to change a tire... and then Jeremy asked what if we had a boy... I said the same thing... I want my daughter to be HER best... and everything that goes with it... btw... love the photos... the shoes are just too cute!!  

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