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A Personal Chat with Darla Shine in a one of a kind exclusive interview!
Jodie Lynn: Why did you decide to write Happy Housewives?
Darla: I decided to write Happy Housewives because I was tired of the show Desperate Housewives giving stay-at-home moms a bad image. I decided it was time to promote the mom who has her act together, who has a strong marriage, and who takes mothering, marriage and homemaking seriously.
Jodie Lynn: How many moms did you interview? Where were they located and how many referred to themselves as being desperate?
Darla: I never held formal interviews. When I went to the PTA meetings, to Starbucks, to my daughter's pre school, I just started to engage women in conversations about what it's like to be a stay-at-home mom. I called some of my girlfriends who live all around the country as well as some of my aunts and of course my own mother. I found the same statement in every conversation, 'stay-at-home moms get no respect.'
Jodie Lynn: What was it about being a housewife that attracted you?
Darla: I was never attracted to being a housewife. In fact I rejected the idea for a long time. I always imagined myself as a hot shot career girl. But, once I had my first baby I desired to be home with him. I refused to call myself a housewife and I became disconnected with my home and I became really miserable. It wasn't until I allowed myself to admit that I was in fact a 'closet homemaker' and that I really did want to be home taking care of my husband, baby and home that I finally started to feel happy.
Jodie Lynn: How important do you feel sex is with a Happy Housewives Hubby?
Darla: I think sex is very important. I think it's just about the most important part of a marriage. When a husband and wife continue to stay intimate, they are both a lot happier. And I am not just talking about sexual intercourse. Being intimate means holding hands, sitting closely, kissing each day, and all of this helps keep the bond and the attraction strong. In Happy Housewives I talk about how important it is to have date night. Mommy and Daddy need to get away from the kids sometimes and just have time to be alone. I think the best gift you could give your children is a strong, loving, respectful marriage.
Jodie Lynn: If the wife is tired, does she still give it up? If so, does she act like she enjoys it?
Darla: I say even if you are tired and your husband wants it you are going to have to give it up sometime. You can't always be tired. And I know if you follow my schedule and go on date night you will have the time, the energy and certainly the interest in sex again. I joke in my book about how I can tell if a woman is getting 'action' with her hubby. She is in a good mood, she looks great, and she is a lot happier at the PTA meeting.
Jodie Lynn: How are you handling all of the negative reviews of your book and movement?
Darla: I will tell you honestly that it is very hard to read some of the negative things being written about me and the book. A lot of women and some men think my message is too old fashioned and they are upset that I am taking on the feminists. A lot of the negative reviews are obviously from women who never even read the book. But, in comparison it is nothing compared to the positive and supportive emails and reviews I am getting. The numbers prove that there are a lot of happy housewives out there who love what I am saying and they are sending me the most beautiful letters. I feel very lucky. I have met hundreds of great women and that is all I really care about.
Jodie Lynn: How many moms write to you and say -- Go Girl -- we are all Happy!!
Darla: As I write this on my website I have more than 350,000 hits of women who have come to look and so far I have read and responded to more than three thousand women. Each one of them has thanked me for getting this message out there and for helping them realize it's okay to admit they are 'happy housewives.'
Jodie Lynn: Who is your mentor or hero?
Darla: My mother. She always had it right. She got married very young. Raised her daughters and never ever second guessed her life. I think we could learn a lot from the women of her generation.
Jodie Lynn: Did your mom stay at home as a housewife?
Darla: Yes, my mother was a stay at home mom and housewife. She cleaned, cooked, and was always progressive, smart, and looked great. My mother always knew what was going on in the world, she read the papers, got involved in her community, kept her girlfriends and raised me to believe I could be anything I wanted but mostly I should aspire to be a great mom and wife.
Jodie Lynn: How important is it to you to get moms to rethink their positions of working out of the home while trying to raise kids and doing it all?
Darla: I am committed to helping women rethink their positions of working outside the home especially when their children are very young. I am not saying you can't work part time or work from your home, but just like I write in my book 'what job do you have that is so important that you would drop your kid in day care for ten hours a day.' And of course I am not talking to women who can't afford to stay home. In fact I call on all women to force corporations to provide health care, on site child care, mom-work-share programs and more flexibility. We are educated, smart, multi-tasking women. We don't want to break the glass ceiling any more but we want to use our brains. I think it's time politicians and big business start paying some attention to what we soccer moms want.
Jodie Lynn: How do you balance your busy life?
Darla: I keep myself on a tight schedule. I get up and fix myself up before I wake the children. When I feel like I look presentable it is a quick pick-me up. I do my household chores in the morning, and make time for myself every day to do what I love which is sitting at my computer writing. I only sign my children up for one activity per semester outside of school and I only do one 'outside thing' per day. What I mean is if I go food shopping one day, that is the only big thing I will do. I never over book myself and so I don't feel over burdened. I get up, make the beds, get the kids off to school, clean the kitchen, sit down to co-host my radio program, clean up some more, run an errand, have the afternoon off, the kids come home, it's homework while I cook, dinnertime, clean up, playtime, get the kids to bed, then spend some time with hubby.
Jodie Lynn: What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Darla: I hope to be writing a second or third book. This has been an addicting experience. Since I started writing every afternoon while the children were in school I just don't know what else to do with myself.
Jodie Lynn: Any words of wisdom for moms who just can't seem to get organized once they do drop their careers to become a housewife?
Darla: I would tell all women that it is a huge step leaving a career to being home full time, and it will take time to adjust. When I first left my career I was a completely unorganized, strung-out miserable housewife. I could barely get through the day never mind keep everything under control. I felt overwhelmed and I thought I would never get it together. But, once I got myself organized, on a schedule, and committed to running my household as if it were 'my career' suddenly everything fell into place. I found that when the house was clean I felt proud. I got out of my pajamas, started dressing better and I felt more together. I went out and made some new friends and when I allowed myself to enjoy being a housewife my whole outlook changed and it made all the difference.
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