Sunday

September 11, 1952 - On Being a Housewife in the Fifties

Good Morning,
    I hope everyone is having a good week.  I know that I have been.  Everything with the house is running as smooth as silk and we will be closing in less than a week.  I cannot wait to get in there and get my hands dirty.  Most of the things that we are having done we will be having professionals do.  As I have said earlier we are going to have a plumber and an electrician in to do all of that work.  We are having two windows replaced and new counter tops.  There is also a desperate need for a new back door.  Our home was broken into while it was still on the market and that was stolen along with all of the copper piping (this is something that I may have mentioned before and if so I apologize for being redundant).  However we are going to be doing all of the cleaning and painting and such ourselves.
    Now I titled this little letter "On Being a Fifties Housewife" because I know that there are a lot of cliches and although I was never really alive during this era through talking to women that were alive during it and much research on the internet I have learned that most of these cliches just aren't true.  Men did not rule over their wives.  Women simply had less of a 'Well do it yourself' kind of attitude.  Most of the time women did not work after they were married.  In fact most places that hired women wanted to give the jobs to single women that much more likely needed the money.  That's not to say that no women worked, they were just a lot harder to find. 
    One of the magazine articles that I've read in the past year had a woman defending why she chose to keep her career in the advertizing world even after she had a husband and children.  She made a few good points that it was something that she loved and that it helped to bring in the kind of money between herself and her husband so that they never had to want for anything.
    Her children were watched over by a nanny and her neighbor and she felt fine with that.  However, I also had the following month of that same magazine and I read the editorial comments from fellow readers and they too had their good points.  First and foremost she was displaying a truly disconnectedness from her family.  She said herself on most days she only saw her children for a half an hour in the morning and maybe two hours in the evening after she got home.  This is not the way to raise children, this is the way to let someone else raise your children.  They never have the stability of coming home to a mom that is there, that you can tell about your day.  This is the beginnings of latch key children and being one myself I can say that I hated it.  I personally want to be there for my children and my husband when he gets home from work.  I like to cook and I like him to know that I want to take care of him for the rest of our lives.
    What are the duties of a good fifties housewife in my opinion?  Well, I believe that a good wife should let her husband know that she cares by doing the little things that make his life easier like making sure that he has clean clothes and a good nutritious meal on the table.  In return he will make sure that the grass is cut, all of the snow is shoveled and the garbage is emptied.  A wife should be able to carry on an intelligent conversation with her husband.  Not just sit there and nod and say 'yes dear' because that will soon become annoying and he will stop talking because he will start to feel as though he were talking to a robot or even worse a wall.  A good wife will be there to raise their children if they have any.  She will nurture them and do her best to make them not only confident in themselves, but respectful to others, have good manners and good hygiene.  Keep them happy and make sure that their childhood remains as such.  Not to expose them to too many things that will cause distress in their young lives and monitor all of the media so they are not exposed to too much too soon.
    Having a hobby isn't a bad idea either.  Whenever I pick up a new fifties magazine I see page after page of new ideas for ladies to try out in their own home.  Although I know that many women in today's society lack some of the basic skills that were taught to every young women back then (most of these magazines take it for granted that you know how to do all of the basic sewing, crocheting knitting and such) most of these skills can be self-taught especially with the help of the internet.  There are of course also reading, writing (even letters to people that you don't speak to often), recipe clubs, women's clubs which don't really exist anymore but would be something lovely to restart.  The point is that you can truly be a good housewife, keep your family happy and most importantly keep yourself happy and busy without being any of those stupid cliches.  There is my opinion in a nutshell.  I hope that everyone has a great day, now I am off to pack.

Till Later!
Andrea