What would women want if their options weren’t so hotly debated?
Actually, there’s no simple answer.
@AlpacaAurelius, an anonymous account on Twitter with over 300,000 followers, recently posted a photo of a beautiful woman in a moment of domestic bliss.
In the picture, she’s cooking, with an adorable baby in a carrier hanging from her.
Fresh herbs and flowers are in the perfectly crafted shot.
Many pointed out her very, very expensive stove in the background.
The caption, “ladies, theres [sic] nothing wrong with you if you want this over becoming a partner at a law firm.”
The tweet had 12 million views as of Thursday.
The woman in the picture is Hannah Neeleman, a former ballerina and beauty pageant contestant who was Mrs. Utah in 2021.
She and her husband, and their seven children, live on a farm where they raise Berkshire pigs and Angus cattle.
Her Instagram account has 6.1 million followers.
Neeleman doesn’t use the term “trad wife,” but her picture boomeranged around the “trad” community online.
The “trad” trend encourages a simpler, traditional life, where men and women adhere more strictly to their longtime gender roles.
Women tend to the house and children; men earn the money.
For a long time, shows like “Sex and the City” did their best to portray a glamorous life for the working woman.
Cocktails after work and brunch with your girlfriends on weekends.
No boring children around to soil your clothing or scuff your Manolo Blahnik shoes.
When children are introduced, they’re either inconvenient or in the way, way background.
Men are disposable.
The pendulum had to swing back.
And so it has.
Trads say no thanks to all that.
They’ve noticed that even the women on that fictional show don’t seem that happy.
Women in real life fare even worse, as female happiness has been on a downward trajectory for decades, the same decades that saw the women’s liberation movement make huge strides for “women’s rights.”
As Naomi Schaefer Riley pointed out last year, “one in five women between 40 and 59 are taking antidepressants. They are more than twice as likely to be on these drugs than men.”
When “tradwives” make the news, it’s usually to mock or criticize the families involved.
The women get accused of romanticizing sexism, while the men are portrayed as cavemen who want their women at home barefoot and pregnant.
Mommy wars are nothing new, but this is something different than the usual stay-at-home-mom vs. work-outside-home-mom story.
Trad life is also a rebellion against the roommate marriages so often portrayed in our culture.
Whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher?
Who will fold the laundry or wake up with the baby?
In trad culture, the answer to who does what is obvious.
With the roles clearly defined, say the trads, romantic love becomes easier to come by.
No one asks “what is a woman?” here.
Womanhood, in general, and motherhood in particular, are celebrated.
It’s a nice world.
But is it real?
The problem with “trad” or with any life choices portrayed online is that made-for-social-media content doesn’t tell the whole story.
The snapshot of the gorgeous mom, baby in tow, baking can be real.
But moms, trad or not, have 23 hours of far less quaint scenes during the day when they’re not lovingly baking a pie.
We’re yelling at children to do their homework.
Picking up single socks strewn throughout the house.
Organizing all the water bottles that never seem to have matching lids or straws, especially when running out the door to sports practice.
It’s not always photogenic.
The reality of the current economic times also makes it hard for families to exist on one income.
The picture of the wife in the home might be appealing but it isn’t a reality for many.
The answer for women is the same as it’s ever been.
Be grateful if you have choices — but know there is no easy one.