Monday, April 20, 2009

Back to the 50's? A good wife does know her place

Meanwhile, back in the Fifties . . .

An excerpt from Good Housekeeping Monthly 13 May 1955

"The good wife's guide

· Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

· Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

· Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

· Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

· Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

· Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

· Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

· Be happy to see him.

· Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

· Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

· Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

· Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

· Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

· Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

· Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

· Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

· Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

· A good wife always knows her place."

On a recent visit to my Dr. I saw this posted in the bathroom.  My initial reaction to this was "You have got to be kidding!"  Throughout the visit I continued to think about this excerpt. For days now I have still been thinking about it.  While most of us would agree that some of the things mentioned are just CRAZY (If my husband begins to have alot of outside entertainment without prior notice we are going to have some problems!)  but some of the other things aren't so crazy.  So why have we as wives and mothers gotten away from being the keepers of our homes and the ones who create an atmosphere of love and peace in our homes?  I understand that times are different because alot of us work outside the home just as much if not more than some of our spouses and some of us are doing this mothering thing alone, but does that negate our responsibility as mothers to teach our children, love and respect our husbands, and take care of our homes?  I have been a stay at home mom for a little over a year now and I know if someone had said any of this to me before then I would have completely ignored them. I am actually still adjusting to my position as Wife and Mother.  At first I felt like I was contributing less to the family because I was no longer going out to work and bringing in a paycheck.  I felt that this somehow took away any control or devalued my opinion on issues of the home.  I was afraid that I was going to become a silent robot in my home that no one inside or outside of the home would respect.  Once I began to settle into my new position I found quite the opposite was true.  My husband is in love with idea of me being available to take care of home issues, my children seem to be in love with me, probably because we spend more time together.  That feeling of stress that I used to get everyday when I got home from work trying to make sure homework was done, food was prepared, kids were bathed, and clothes were washed is gone.  Well I wasn't really getting those things done, we spent more time in fast food restaurants, the laundry pile was big enough to stink up the house,  and the vacuum only ran on Sat.  I am a calmer, more relaxed wife and mother (most days anyway, I can still flip the script when provoked).  I am able to do most of the things I always wanted to do as a wife and mother. Now in no way am I suggesting that wives should be kept quiet in the house, not allowed to work, secluded from society,  but I am saying for this family, The Artises, my place as Wife and Mother is what works for us.   I want to know what you think.  Where is your place in your familyMoms, what have we lost or do you think we haven't lost anything at all?  What are your thoughts, whether you think I am completely crazy or this whole thing has got you thinking another way, I want to know.  What will the next generation of mothers be like, will kitchens and laundry rooms become a thing of the past?


  1. That article was awesome!!!! Great work Courtney.

  2. I think we as Americans have skewed the Creators view of what is expected as us. Holy books give us the guidance but a lot can be miscontrued by Man and or the powers that be. Man has turned something natural and nurturing into a chore and a hardship. A mother that yields to the needs of her home and her chilren is blessed and unlike any other of ... Read MoreThe Creators creaturs. Look to the animals..the natural preditors to see the beauty in the true theory of how a mother is to its young and it's mate. Her responsiblities only make her stronger...not broken down and weak in the eyes of others.

  3. I feel that it is a blessing that you are able to be a stay home mom. Love it and enjoy it. I would love to be able to do so myself and will when the time's right for me.

    For the 50's rules.....I would love to follow most of those rules but some of them seems unrealistic. Like encourage the kids to be quiet and don't complain or ask questions.....these rules only apply to the 1st couple of hrs he's home, right? I think our men should be treated like kings if they're performing like kings. This is why these rules have fallen apart.....because we took the blind folds off and were not being appreciated and treated like queens.

  4. I agree @nicolej77 it is truly a 2 way street. If the husband is not performing his JOB then he forfeits his benefits. @Umm Amirah to many have taken the holy texts and skewed them for their own gain.

  5. Hmmm. I'm sorry, but I would not have made it as a wife and mother in the 50's. I was a stay-home-work-at-home mother while my children were young and I believe my job of taking care of the children, home, laundry, shoppping, cooking, etc., was just as important as my husband going off and working each day. Being a stay-home mom is a full-time job and an important job - remember, many working moms pay a lot of money for someone else to take care of their children. Luckily, my husband thought it was important for me to be home with the kids too, but I feel sorry for any at-home mom who doesn't value herself and her job and isn't valued by her husband. Ladies, you are working too - be proud!

  6. To write moms: I agree we moms and wives work VERY, VERY hard, and our job of mom and wife doesn't end at 5pm. The shifts are 24 hours 7 days a week no matter where you are or who's paying you. And its more important than any other job in the world. Its the job that shapes the lives of the people who impact the world.

  7. That's a pretty intimidating list. I love being a sahm, and try to make things nice for my husband and kids, but our evenings look nothing like that.


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