Thought push presents were bad? Now there is a ridiculous new trend…
Mothers can be their own harshest critics.
But if silently tracking your own motherly success based on the number of unprocessed food items that passed through your toddler’s lips today, or the number of readers completed throughout the school term, was not punishment enough, now husbands can turn these into measurable metrics to judge your worth.
In a disturbing revelation, some women are earning an annual “wife bonus” from their husbands depending on how well they have performed their spousal duties – if such a thing can be measured.
In a fascinating New York Times article, social researcher Wednesday Martin gave us a sneak peek into the lives of the Glam SAHMs (glamorous stay-at-home mums) of Manhattan’s hoity-toity Upper East Side.
According to Martin, these wives of rich businessmen shelved their expensive Ivy League educations and careers in favour of devoting themselves entirely to “intensive mothering” (which she defines as “exhaustively enriching their children’s lives by virtually every measure”), punishing self-care routines and running their many homes like CEOs.
“They exercised themselves to a razor’s edge, wore expensive and exquisite outfits to school drop-off and looked a decade younger than they were,” Martin says.
The author of forthcoming memoir Primates of Park Avenue described a segregated world where husbands and wives dined, socialised and holidayed separately.
A world with wife bonuses.
“A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.
Women who didn’t get them joked about possible sexual performance metrics. Women who received them usually retreated, demurring when pressed to discuss it further, proof to an anthropologist that a topic is taboo, culturally loaded and dense with meaning.”
Martin, who lived in this world for six years, said she was “thunderstruck” when she heard women discussing their “bonus”.