Judy Brady’s I Want a Wife is her personal take on the value of a companion who is willing to handle a tremendous amount of the daily grind for a man. Brady discusses a conversation that she had with a man who stated that he was looking for a new wife. This made her think to herself that she, too, would like to have a wife. It led her to define the role of a wife and what it meant to have one.
A wife, according to Brady, would be highly convenient because the wife could help her with her daily chores, take care of her social schedule, handle her emotional needs, cook the food, clean the house, raise the kids, and do almost everything in-between. To Brady, this would give her the opportunity to be free to pursue her own goals and interests – a freedom, according to her, that is afforded to those people who have wives to handle the “other stuff” for them.
To me, this essay brings up important points about the way that daily life can hold a person down. People usually have goals and things that they would love to accomplish, but they might be burdened by doing too many things for other people. Brady writes of the freedom that comes along with having a wife when she writes, “I would like to go back to school so that I can become economically independent, support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent
upon me” (Brady).
The flip side of this, of course, is that when one does not have a wife, one does not have the freedom to go and pursue a wide range of different goals. Having a wife gives one the freedom to think about the future. This makes me think about all of the things that are currently keeping me from achieving my long-term goals. It is much easier, I believe, to think about the future when the present is fully accounted for. For me, the daily grind of survival and dealing with the people around me can take my energy and my time. I might have liked to think more long-term, but sometimes, I am consumed by things that I have to complete right now.
Likewise, Brady’s work made me think about all of the things that I perhaps take for granted. Brady is essentially lamenting the fact that wives are often not appreciated for what they do. She writes, at one point, “When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit working and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care of a wife’s duties” (Brady). The typical conceptualization of a wife, then, is to do what she can to ensure that the man has his needs taken care of.
Often, it can be easy to forget that other people do lots of things that make life easier on me. They make sacrifices and put my needs first so that I can achieve the things that I want to achieve. My family would be a primary example. So many times, they have done things that have been good for me but more difficult for them. From financial sacrifices to other similar sacrifices, they have been willing to put aside their needs, at least for a short period of time, so that I could go on to achieve. The author laments this in a way, and it is something that I should be more aware of as I go through my own life.