I’ve always been interested in the idea of the sister wife. No, I’m not a Mormon. No, I’m not advocating polygamy. No, I’m not needing a psychiatric evaluation. I am just simply pondering the idea of having an extra set of eyes and an extra set of hands to help accomplish the daily mundane tasks of life. The mundane that can quickly pile up and paralyze.
We apple sauce-stained, sleep-deprived, zombie-like females are some of the most over worked, under appreciated humans on the planet. We command a vast battalion of men and women, some under four foot tall with minds and wills of their own, on a daily basis. We make beds, and we make lunches. We clean dirty bodies, and we clean dirty houses. We work mind numbing hours at actual work, and then come home to an entirely different sort of to do list. We bandage knees. We mend broken hearts. We remove unidentifiable stains in hard to reach places. We birth actual human beings like a scene from an alien movie. And then we forget about it like it was a bad case of the flu. We are the central command center for all the parts of this life that make it worth living. Yes, we are that important.
Now, with all of that on our plates and more, every one of us could use a helping hand. And that’s where the sister wife idea comes into focus. We all have a good friend. A best friend even. One you can call at 4:30 in the morning with your worst news. But your BFF never says to you, “Call me with your worst news anytime day or night, AND I’ll come over and mop your floors while I listen.” No mere friend would agree to that arrangement. Oh, sure, those best friends we have, they have some long suffering ears, and boy, am I grateful, but sometimes I just need a friend who likes to sweep under refrigerators, preferably mine. Where is the line for that type of friend?? Exactly, they don’t exist.
Now I’m not ignoring the fact that having a sister wife would make things super awkward and strangely complicated at home, but I am saying that binding someone to your family in a semi-legal, semi-religious sort of way would commit said sister wife to the menial tasks that you hate the most, especially since she came second. She couldn’t opt out of laundry duty just because she felt like it or because friends don’t do that kind of thing. Instead, you would be able to divide up all the household chores with her based on your least favorite tasks:
1. A home-cooked meal after a long day of work? Sister wife.
2. Ironing clothes? Sister wife.
3. Spring cleaning? Sister wife.
4. Toilets in a house full of boys? Yes, definitely toilets. Sorry, sister wife.
5. Can’t finish grading that last set of research papers? No worries. Sister wife has a degree in English.
Now, I’ve thought long and hard about this. A sister wife could diffuse those tense stand-offs that happen from time to time in marriage. Imagine this. Wife loves Double Stuf Oreos. Husband does too, usually as a late night snack. Sense her frustration level when wife finds the stay fresh seal only partially closed overnight, leaving her chocolate therapy hard and stale. A small marital spat erupts. This time, sister wife steps in with a calm, matronly tone while producing a new package of Double Stuf Oreos she picked up while doing the weekly grocery run. And what about when your child has inexplicably said your name 420 times in the past five minutes, and you can feel Space Shuttle Crazy Eyes is a go for launch, but just in the nick of time, sister wife enters with an even tone, “Yes, child. I can help you. Now, leave your mother alone for a little while. She needs to finish her spa treatment and bubble bath in peace.” Can you see it?
When you strip away all the negative cultural ideas about this practice, we women all know somewhere down deep inside that we would be better at being us with the help of a sister wife. We may have even conjured her in our minds. Mine is an older, sweet grandmotherly type. She possesses qualities that are a cross between the common sense of Alice on Brady Bunch and the street smarts of Mrs. Garret from Facts of Life. Sprinkle in a touch of Aunt Bee’s culinary skills and a dash of her Southern charm minus the busybody. There she is, ladies. Can you see her? Her name is Rhonda. And she comes complete with her own room off the garage.