By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK
The blogosphere's been buzzing lately about Michelle Duggar and her retrograde, submission-heavy "Seven Basic Needs of a Husband." I admit her advice was making me squirm, but then I started thinking: Wait, what about my basic needs? I mean, I kind of think my family's needs are pretty well-considered these days-but as the decorative potholder says, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Thus, I present you with the Seven Basic Needs of a Wife.
1. A wife needs a husband who respects her as a woman. This means never, ever saying things like "Is it PMS?," "You bought another sundress?," or "When you're done breastfeeding the baby, can I have a turn?"
2. A wife needs a husband who believes in and respects her god-given responsibilities. After all, Mad Men is not going to pour a glass of wine and watch itself.
3. A wife needs a husband who will continue to find her beautiful no matter how long she wears her stretched-out yoga pants and maternity shirts without washing them. Little House on the Prairie-style flannel pjs should be greeted thusly: "You look so hot when you're comfy!"
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4. A wife needs quality time to be alone with herself and, if applicable, the Lord. (See #2.)
5. A wife needs a husband who can lovingly appeal to her when she is going beyond her limitations, which happens pretty much all the time for any wife and mother. Therefore, each night, husbands should do the dishes, put the kids to bed, draw a hot bath for said wives, and not speak until spoken to, at which point they are free to share witty jokes or any praise they might have for their wives.
6. A wife needs a husband who is grateful for all she does for him. In practice this means a constant stream of praise, adoration, gifts of flowers, and an hourly recital of the sentence, "How do you do it all?!" But you have to say it like you mean it, or it doesn't count.
7. A wife needs a husband who will praised by her friends for being so much better than their husbands, in the case that these other friends have somehow not received these instructions.
Husbands and wives everywhere: You are welcome.
Amy Shearn is the mother of two small children, and is the proprietress of Household Words, a blog about babies, books, and Brooklyn. She also writes for Oprah.com and MommyPoppins.com. Amy is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean From Here (Shaye Areheart/Crown 2008) and a forthcoming novel about, what else, a Brooklyn mother, which needs a title and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.
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