by Patricia Rush

What is it about househusbandry that is so gallant that articles are written about wives' coming home from work 28 minutes late and househusbands' coping with an "empty nest syndrome"? Why, after reading these articles, is my first response: "What a great guy, to give up so much and stay home with his children"?

Maybe he really is a great guy and maybe I personally enjoy the article because I am--dare I say it?--a housewife. I also enjoy them because I can show my husband written proof that even men feel the way I do sometimes.

My suspicions lie here: if I had written an article about my husband's arriving home from work 28 minutes late and my poulet saut,e's having been ruined or if I were suffering from empty nest syndrome, and if I signed it Patricia Rush, housewife, living in Fairfax, would it be accepted by a newspaper and published? Would I be a folk hero? I doubt it.

There has never been any doubt in my mind that anyone who stays home with children and manages a house has a stressful job. But when asked, I still cannot tell a "working person" that I am a housewife without choking on the word or without explaining what my plans are after the kids are in school. I always say, when asked what I do: "I'm in early childhood development."

Being a househusband sounds so much better, especially when you can divide your time between psychotherapy and housework and still have the laundry drying at 10 a.m.