Domestic Divas: A March 2004 cover story in TIME magazine noted that the United States is experiencing its first-ever drop-off in workplace participation on the part of married women with children under age one. In 1997, 59% of such women worked outside the home, a figure that dropped to 53% in 2000. For some women, the decision to stay home is a response, at least in part, to expanded work hours and increased pressure to be the perfect mum who raises children that excel academically, socially, and in their extracurricular pursuits. That's not the Domestic Diva. The diva pays lip service to being the 2004 version of the perfect mum, but in reality she simply wants the appearance of it-and the accolades that follow.
The Domestic Diva wants flawless kids (courtesy of the nanny), a spotless home (courtesy of the cleaning service), and a reputation for being a fabulously put-together homemaker ('She makes it look so easy!'), says Salzman. What she doesn't want is the actual work that typically comes with these things. Instead of diaper-changing and laundry, her days are filled with scrapbooking classes, working out at the gym, school volunteer work (she's typically a class mother), and meeting with her book club, quilting circle, or mahjong group.
Defining characteristics of the Domestic Diva: Smugly disdainful of working mums; worried that the jig may be up if her husband's resentment at being the sole breadwinner grows too strong Role Model: Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch.
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