I had two reactions to What Happened to the Girl I Married?: excitement that I get to participate in my first SVMoms Book Club and disappointment that this is the first selection. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad book at all. It’s actually quite a thoughtful book. It is just that it hits a little close to where I live — the life of the SAHM.
The book is about a husband’s journey of discovery. After a high-powered career, Michael Miller is let go by his company. Rather than jump back in to the job market, he decides to use his generous severance package to spend a year at home. He was the sole breadwinner in the family while his wife was a SAHM. During his time at home it is not clear whether his wife goes back to work or continues to stay at home. Perhaps he and his wife were both at home?
As a SAHM, I bristled at all of the author’s Mr. Fix-It-type suggestions. Of course dinner is not on the table on a night where two kids have back-to-back activities and a third kid is sick. In my head it is obvious that dinner would be a quick sandwich-soup combo on that night rather than a 5-course meal.
The author thought that he could find solutions for all the household problems. My thought upon reading that was “Good luck, buddy!” I found myself saying “Ha” at points in his description of how he found ways to fix things. But here’s the thing I would say to all those SAHMs reading this review who are thinking “I would hate this book,” the author does come to realize that no household task is ever easy.
In a house with kids whether the mom stays home or not, the floor never stays clean and the laundry is never done. Period. If a house was uninhabited by human beings 24 hours a day then the house would stay clean. Add people to a house and let the chaos commence.
The frustration for me about cleaning or laundry is that no end is in sight. Just when you think you are done with the laundry a child will take off the day’s outfit and just like that you are back to square one. Frustrating, indeed.
The author’s journey of self-discovery is two-fold: he learns that his wife is not sitting around eating bonbons and that cleaning and other household chores are thankless and never-ending. SAHMs, SAHDs, and their working counterparts can learn from this book that household tasks are more easily completed if everyone listens to each other and helps out.
Want to learn more about the book, check out: What happened to the girl I married?
that’s what gets me: the work is never, ever done. even after you’ve just done it, the floors are immediately sticky and crumby, the laundry pile is growing even while you put the clean clothes away. it just gets overwhelming…
Michael, thank you so much for answering that question! I was constantly trying to figure out if she was working full time, part time, or still home.
Just last week, when my dad was visiting, he commented on the sticky floors and that maybe its time to hire a cleaning lady. In this case Pop was the Fix-it Man. I turned to my mom in frustration, doesn’t he get that the floors will always be sticky and dirty when you have 2 boys running around? Didn’t he see that with his 3 girls running around? Thankfully, my husband finally gets it. But I may have to recommend this book to my father now!
I agree that he comes to the realization that it isn’t all bon bons and martinis as a SAHM — and I’m glad his relationship with his wife has improved. But I had a problem with how miserable he made life as a SAHM sound. It doesn’t necessarily need fixing. His attitude just did.
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