Now, I know that it’s not the fault of ehow.com what gets put on their website. I just found it there. I’m going to break down the article, point-by-point. I feel it is necessary to distil some misconceptions. Not necessarily in how things were (because I’m quite sure it was a hell of a lot like what is described) but because I feel that’s not entirely what I am going for. I am a product of my generation. Things are modified because of that. Now, on to the digestion of the article… (the blue being my comments)
- As a housewife of the 1950’s you won’t be required to hold a job outside the home. In fact you really won’t be allowed to because it would be an insult to the male of the family for not being able to provide for his wife and family! So relax and buy a box of bonbon’ s. Seriously, people? Yes, I agree that a man (at one point) had a firm commitment instilled in him by his father to provide for the family. It was his job in life to make sure his family was provided for. However, in a solid marriage, with two partners, I firmly believe that the wife would (and could) work if the need arose. Her primary task was the house and home, of course; however, in tough times, the housewife could take on mending, cooking, baking to bring in just a little extra to see the family through. It was shunned and it did hurt the male pride but in a solid marriage, it did happen as needed. As soon as the family was stable again, the wife returned to her primary job – taking care of family and home.
- Always wake at least two hours before your husband so you can shower, do your hair, put on make up and a really nice dress and high heels. You must always look your best when he sees you first thing in the morning and never, ever have morning breath or look sleepy.
Next cook a nourishing breakfast for the whole family. Stuff them with eggs, bacon, biscuits made from scratch, gravy, milk, orange juice and don’t forget the perfect jams and jellies you canned all by yourself during the dog days of summer. Stuff them until they can’t move and are sure to gain enough weight to be a battle ship in dry dock. Yes. I agree that the woman should look her best at all times. It’s part of presenting herself as the mate to her husband. It was her job to present herself and her children the best she could. People took pride in their appearance. The man dressed for the day and so did the wife. It was a matter of personal pride – something we lack a lot of in these days where woman wear as little as possible or dress as sloppy as they can to show how much they just don’t care. Back then, people cared! I didn’t get a shower today. I ran around with my hair in a pony tail. It bugged me all day. I wanted to present myself in a good light; however, it just didn’t happen. My personal pride took a blow because I wasn’t putting myself out there as best I could. Oh, and as for the heels? Not on your life. Pumps, maybe. Breakfast will be as healthy as I can provide while making sure that they are happy in the process. I have taken to things like German Pancakes and Quiche; occasionally making just plain ole “Eggs in a Train.” They are children of diabetics and need to watch sugar/starch in their diet.
- Be sure when they are getting ready for work and their school day you have clean clothes out for everyone. Do not make them choose their own outfit. Silly woman, that’s your job! Always make sure they are wearing the latest up to date styles so everyone will think they are keen. Really? Ok, so the children can’t pick their clothes until a certain age and the mother should be helping do that for them. Agreed. However, when they start getting older, they have to learn to think for themselves, so you help them make the right choices and wear what looks good. Now, my babies aren’t teenagers just yet, but I’ll not be a slave to the current trends and fashions. I will make every attempt to instill in my children pride in looking presentable as they grow older. I want to teach them personal pride, not a desire to be “hip” and “current.” Today, my oldest, Caiden, wore his cape all day. Everywhere we went, he had on the black/blue cape that I made for him. He looked very nice in his summer outfit but had a cape on. He wanted to be Batman; I let him. However, I also made sure he looked good while doing it.
- Be sure you pack a good lunch for them. For the kid’s pack a good sandwich, chips, carrot sticks, cupcakes, fruit, a thermos of milk and a thermos of hot soup! Don’t forget the note with words of love and support. I agree with this part. I really do. A mother should prepare the best possible food for her children when they leave for school. It’s just good training for the child as he gets older. Personally, I don’t prepare my children’s lunch when they are in school. Their parochial school serves a hot lunch and I agree with the choices they make, so I let them eat that.
- Now it’s time for you! First refresh your makeup and hair. Then start with cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom. Don’t worry if the floors look clean enough because it’s still best to clean them again so your family can make you eat off of them and not worry about your health. Keeping yourself looking presentable is part of the personal pride in your appearance I was talking about above. The part about the floors being clean enough for your family to force you to eat off of? Pure and utter crap. I am not a dog, I am not a doormat. I serve my family because I love them and they love me. I choose to be a mother and tend to my family, they don’t force me. Yes, a clean house is nice to have (and healthy) – but when you have toddlers and it’s summertime? Forget it! I have to sweep every day because of the dirt and dust they bring in from playing. If I miss the sweeping one day, no one is going to beat me over it or force me to lick it clean, that’s for sure.
- Now for all the laundry you must gather from each room in the house and start washing. Never dry them in a dryer. That is a waste of money when you can spend time hanging them on an outside line for the fresh air scent. When they are finished drying you will bring them in, sprinkle them with a little water and roll them in a tight ball so you can iron it all the next day. Make sure to keep it all in the laundry room out of sight of the husband and kid’s. They deserve a relaxed life. Really? Again, what I do, I do out of love and devotion to my family. However, I will not be their slave. When my children are big enough, they will be taught how to tend their own things. If I don’t teach them, who will? If I don’t love them enough to prepare them for the day they move out of my house, then I’ve failed as a mother. And, being as I am raising two boys in the 21st century, I need to prepare them for all that life has to offer – including possibly marrying a woman that doesn’t do all the work on her own and expects them to help. If I haven’t taught them, they will be miserable.
- Next pick up the living room, bedroom, and all other rooms in the house. Dust everything within an inch of it’s life and vacuum all floors. Now clean the bathroom and scrub every surface for the fresh clean smell. You would never want your family to see anything disgusting in your bathroom and you really don’t want the neighbors to inspect your work when they come to visit. I agree a house should be well-maintained. I hate dusting but I will do it randomly, as I see things that need it. My children will learn by my example on how to take care of a bathroom or bedroom. They are being taught how to pick up their own toys and take care of their own room. I’m not their slave – I am their mother, trainer, helper. And yes, I agree that when friends come calling, they should feel comfortable sitting in your home and not have to wonder when you did dishes last or vacuumed last or any of those things. That goes back to the personal pride in your appearance and in your home.
- Well, it’s time for a break. Make yourself a light lunch of salad, no dressing and an apple. Don’t want to lose the figure you had the day you got married. You know, when you were 18 years old, 2 less kids, one less husband and 20 less years! While you are eating you can watch your favorite soap opera while darning the socks of the whole family or creating lovely clothes by hand or polishing all the stainless steel you own. Never let the grass grow under your pretty high heels! Be productive while relaxing. Keeping your figure is hard but you should maintain a healthy look. You should grow old gracefully, not let yourself go and give up because you had kids. I also agree with being productive throughout the day, not spending the entire time watching television or playing on the computer. What can you possibly accomplish while doing that? Right now, I’m spending most of my day in the kitchen as I learn new recipes and ways of feeding my family things that don’t come in boxes, cans or prepackaged frozen meals.
- The kids will be home from school soon so you must make sure you have made a batch of home made cookies with plenty of butter and sugar. A big glass of chocolate milk and their favorite TV shows while they do their homework. You will be making dessert for tonight, putting the dinner to cook of ham, fresh peeled and mashed potatoes, fresh green beans with beacon, more biscuits and lots of butter! My boys will get a snack when they get home but I am not going to spoil their dinner by feeding them cookies or chocolate milk. They also don’t get to watch much television at all. It’s just non-existent in our home. They will do homework at the kitchen counter while I am cooking dinner and they will tell me about their day. They won’t go hide and get out of my sight as soon as they walk in the door. As for dinner? I am working on a good stack of recipes that don’t include hours in the kitchen and have some semblance of healthy outcome for my family.
- Now all you have to do before hubby gets home from work is set the table, clean the rooms again, make the kids clean up and look cute as pie, refresh yourself with a new dress and different shoes. Evening hair do, nice makeup, a happy smile and NO complaints about anything. Yeah. Right. Not going to happen. I will straighten up as needed, make sure my hair isn’t all windblown. I understand that a man needs a few minutes quiet time when he gets home but I will not pretend everything is peachy-keen. If I need his help or advice or something needs taken care of, I’ll let him know. I honestly think wives in the 1950s did the same thing. They probably didn’t pounce on the husband the moment he walked in the door but they were not scared to tell him something needed attention.
- As he walks in the door you hand him the paper, his favorite drink, ask how his day went and then leave him alone for 30 minutes while you finish dinner, get it on the table and quietly announce it’s time to eat. After he and the kids finish dinner you clear the table, wash all the dishes by hand, dry them and put them away, clean the kitchen again and look perky! I can see letting the man relax a few minutes when he gets home. I’d prefer he hang out with the children, spending time with them. When dinner is ready, I’ll let them know and we’ll sit down to enjoy it. As my boys are small, I will tend the kitchen alone. I won’t require the husband to help clean up at all. I do wash my dishes by hand and use the dishwasher to (mostly) dry them. I like that aspect. Shame on me, right? When my boys get older, I’ll teach them how to clean up after dinner. It’s only fair to give them some instruction on life skills they will need. I may even start teaching them how to cook a few meals so they won’t starve!
- The family watches TV together or plays a game, eats more dessert and then wanders off to bed. Now it’s time for you to go to the bedroom, turn down the covers, fluff the pillows, take a quick shower and put on a pretty nightie, put on fresh makeup, do your hair again down this time and call for hubby to come to bed. You read while he relaxes and when he is ready for a little fun you will be just as ready and excited he is giving you his time. Oh, oh…he is tired now and finished. He rolls over, goes to sleep and you slip away to the bathroom to put on fresh makeup in case he wakes in the middle of the night and sees your face. You must always look your very best! Yes, I agree with the family spending some time together after dinner. As a general rule, I disagree with the bedtime snack idea. Children of diabetics shouldn’t eat just before bed. Actually, no one should. It sits in your stomach and turns to fat because you aren’t doing anything to work off what you ate. As for the sex issue? Really? Um. No. I agree with the Bible where it states that a woman’s body belongs to the man and the man’s body belongs to the woman. You should not deny your partner at any time if there is sexual contact to be had. Let’s be realistic. It’s not always possible. There are several reasons (for the husband and/or the wife): Tired, sick, menstruating, common courtesy. A woman may be there for the enjoyment of a man but she should not be used like a hooker on Broadway. “Husbands, love your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands.” I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says that a woman is a slave and a hooker. Sex should be mutual and loving – not demanding and rude. As for makeup in bed? No. I hate make up to begin with; am not putting it on before bed.
- Ahhh… peace at last. Now for the well deserved 4 hours of sleep before you do it all over again. Tomorrow is ironing day, baking bread day, going to the store day for anything the family wants and you will do it all as the lovely, skinny bride you were 20 years ago and with a smile on your pretty little face. After all you don’t have to hold a job and support the family. Yes, I realize all this is sarcasm. Things were rough on the 1950s wife. However, with a good husband and good family, it wasn’t all about being a slave to your position – the mother/wife. It was about doing your part and doing it to the best of your abilities. And enjoying it! Loving your family enough to do the things that a wife/mother should be doing. Not seeing it as “you have to.”
As I said, I understand the sarcasm. But, I wanted to clear up some misconceptions. I read it and got very angry. I agree that some husband/wife teams were like that in the 1950s. However, I see the majority of the relationships of that era as loving, mutual, partnerships. And, as such, the wive did her job and didn’t have to be sarcastic or ever feel like she had nothing except what was granted to her by her husband or children.
Today, the boys and I hung out alone together. They actually told me they wanted to stay home and eat breakfast with me because I am such a great cook (we had an invite to a breakfast for the 4th) and then turned around and requested cereal for breakfast. The little snots! And, this is after they slept until nearly 9 a.m.! I got up at 6:30 a.m. and waited all morning for nothing. I could have slept in!
Oh, well. We had a cheap lunch from the gas station and ate Reed’s Dairy ice cream and looked at the animals they had set out for children to see. It looks like those animals probably live in the areas where children come by and my boys loved every minute of it. For dinner, they actually asked for German Pancakes. The little brats! So, that’s what we had.
They helped me in the yard. We set up our sprinklers to run two at one time and got some good watering done. Then, we planted two bushes that we went and picked out at Home Depot. On the way home, I let them have small Sprites and I had a Pepsi. We all worked it off digging holes and planting our two bushes.
I let them watch two movies today. One this morning and one this evening. After the evening movie, I had them tell me all about it. Talk to me about it instead of ignoring the fact that they watched a movie.
Later, about 10 p.m., I set them on the top of our vehicle to watch the fireworks from our house. They watched a few minutes and then Caiden was done. He’s the baby that can’t tolerate loud noises. The noise from the big show (couple miles away) and the family 2 doors down popping off fireworks was a little much and he told me he had had enough. When they finally crawled into bed, they were both out within 30 minutes. Now, here I am, up late again because I’m typing away.
I think I’ll tell the Nanny I am taking a day off tomorrow (she got one today!) and sleeping until I wake up. Except, I did tell the baby, Brendan, if he had a clean pull up in the morning, I’d let him pick breakfast. If he picks cereal, I’m going to cry!
Thank you for listening,