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Friday, April 22, 2005

How to be a Good Wife

1950's Housewife
Originally uploaded by Sally Ann.
The following is excerpted from a 1950's high school home economics book:


Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time. 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 is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, 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. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

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.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be happy to see him.

Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems and complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. 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 suggest that he 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, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind. Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he doesn't take you out to dinner or to other pleasant entertainment. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to unwind and relax. The goal is to try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax in body and spirit.

Your comments please.....and don't hold back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding me. It'll be a cold day in hell before I'd do anything that's suggested in this article. Thank God it was written during the 1950's. I read this to my daughter and she said Euuuuuu.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small wonder Women's Lib came into being. Lincoln freed the slaves back in 1865.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Wow now i know why my dad was so happy!!!!Its unbeleivable how things have changed over the years.I asked my wife why she doesnt greet me like the article i cant say what she told me!!!!!!

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH How nice nice it would be to be back in the fifties where men were men and women were taught how to act!!!!!!!!!!

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

The 60's generation saw this behavior as "oppressive" to women. Were hysterical that men had subjugated their "Moms and Grandmothers." However, the Moms and Grandmothers saw it as "well defined roles." The 60's generation saw it as abuse, but I see more abuse against women today than I ever did back then. The "How to be a good wife" article is over the top, but the basic sentiment of treating your husband with respect was honored by the women of the 50's. I can remember trying to convince my "working Mom" that she was oppressed. She never did know what I was talking about. Most women back then didn't feel oppressed. They believed they were "partners" in a relationship, their roles clearly defined to keep the partnership/family functioning with as little stress and as much efficiency as possible. Believe it or not, it worked and worked well for the most part. Now many husbands and wives aren't sure what their "roles" are. Most men walk around in a fog trying to figure out how they're supposed to act and most working women with children feel "overwhelmed". The 50/50 share of the chores never worked out as well as the "feminist" promised. Most men were more than willing to "do men's work", but they refused to do "women's work." Oh well, the great debate between Adam and Eve goes on. I wish I could say that Feminism was a "great thing" for society, but I can't. I don't see who benefited. Certainly not the women, and the men curse the day the women of the 60's burned their bras and the kids....yes, what about those kids?

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now how do you define Men's work and Woman's work?. Seems to me we are all in this boat together and even if the man "wears the pants"-he can be a helpmate. I can cite many examples of house husbands who do a terrific job and the children are well adjusted. What is forgotten is that marriage is joint effort that requires give and take on the part of both parties. I grew up in a male dominated home-thank God my husband does not dominate , but is my partner.til the end. .

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im 14 years old and i think we should go back to the old ways.cuz then the women can be at home raising kids.there be much less crimes. love samantha TOHAFJIAN

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:03 PM  
Anonymous Cloe said...

I am 13 years old and I think that it was an ok story. Families wouldn't be messed up if the wife and husband did thier part for the family and themselves. Part of it I didn't really like because it make the women sound like slaves. My Aunt does most of the things in the story anb thier marrage worked out great. The man does his job ( working ) while the women do thier job ( working ),but the family should spend time together with thier kids.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can remember in the fifties coming home from school and mom having fresh baked bread, rolls,and cookies. not only that but having adult supervision when i got home. Now our children come home to a empty house most of the time and do as they please with no supervision and no special treats.When the parents get home they both are so stressed from work they have little time for there kids. I say since womens lib we have noy progressed but have had a part in the decline of society and the american family.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see it-people are too busy trying to keep up with the Jones's Afraid to deny themselves and their children any of the latest fads and gimmicks. No one to blame but themselves. Amazing what you can live without if you set your mind to it.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

1950’s couples (with children) not only believed they were “in this thing together”, they acted on it. It was a cooperative effort, their goals were the same, to raise well adjusted, moral, productive citizens. And to achieve this goal, individual roles were well-defined. Men worked and women stayed home and took care of the house and the kids.

The early Feminist made a case that the women were getting the raw end of the deal. If you asked any of the 50’s Moms if they felt enslaved by their roles, they would have said “No.” Unfortunately, social historians are not going to record the opposing side of the “Women’s Movement” that started in the 60’s, but there was a huge counter-movement to “keep Moms in the home”, and to retain the “traditional family.”

Marriage in the 50’s, and long before then, was centered on raising a family—efficiently. A traditional marriage, husband worked, moms stayed at home, made the most sense to raise a batch of kids without creating undo stress and chaos in the home. It had very little to do with enslavement and oppression, false assumptions imposed on 50’s Moms by the Women’s Movement. Women, by nature, are multi-taskers, better equipped to deal with the many jobs of child rearing and managing the home, and recent studies have proven that women can perform multiple tasks more efficiently than men. Contrary to popular belief, men and women’s brains ARE wired differently. I’m not saying that men can’t rear children, I’m saying it’s easier for women, and couples from the 50’s took advantage of the differences between men and women.

The counter-movement predicted that if women left the home, the first step towards the “breakdown of the American family would begin.” They predicted if women worked outside the home the structure of the American economy would change dramatically. Women would take jobs away from men and eventually it would take “two incomes” to keep a household in the black. Private businesses would no longer sell a house, car or a washing machine to just a “one income family”, they would be selling to a “two income family”. The price of everything went up because businesses could get more for their product or service. And I’d guess we’d all agree that most women have to work in today’s society just to make ends meet. So if you want to blame someone or something for having to work so hard to keep a roof over your house and food on the table, blame the Women’s Movement.

However, what they didn’t predict was what Feminism would do to marriage in general. Radical Feminism put extra demands and pressures on relationships because the movement insisted that ALL women “break the yoke of oppression.” Women were encouraged to “go out into the world and find themselves” which really meant—go get a job and start making your own money in case you want to leave the oppressing bum you were married to and the kids who were “getting in your way of finding your true bliss.” Feminism really messed with a longstanding social tradition. Couples didn’t do well making the change. Divorce rates went up from 30% to over 50% at the Movement’s peak because liberated women engaged in “male bashing” and men engaged in “stonewalling.” The institution of marriage became a “War Zone, and of course the men and kids were the “collateral damage.”

In today’s culture, although I detect a change in the wind, men are treated like bumbling idiots, a big change from the 50’s dizzy bubble head depiction of the hapless female. Father didn’t know best anymore. Fathers were reduced to “house boys” in the Movement’s pursuit of equality.

The harmonious family atmosphere of the 50’s was immediately replaced with multiple arguments over “whose job it was to do the dishes, take care of the kids, or fix the car.” Some couples, desperate for harmony in the house determined that “whoever made the most money, got out of most household chores” to ease the daily stress and relationship hostilities. But of course, that didn’t work either, because the one who drew the short straw, could use as a defense the newly introduced “I am victim” excuses: I am being abused, I am being oppressed, my needs aren’t being met, I am a second class citizen. The arguments continued. I often thought about writing an essay entitled—“The No. #1 Reason Couples Divorce: A sink full of dirty dishes.”

The Feminist Movement focused on “women’s personal ambitions” over the families well being. It also denied women who wanted to stay home the choice to do so. Females were brainwashed into believing that “staying home and being a wife and mother” was a demeaning job. Women who decided to stay at home were vilified and ostracized. And a young woman caught in the act of saying, “I’d like to have a baby” was condemned by the Movement. Choosing to have babies and “just being a wife” was considered a “treasonous act against the Women’s Movement.” It still is.

Someone told me once that you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. That really wasn’t the reason I posted the article “How to be a Good Wife.” I posted it to generate a discussion about “Choice” and to show a generation of females on how it used to be and why it was that way. If you consider yourself a “liberated woman” and want or need a career to fulfill your true potential while you simultaneously raise a family—then go for it. You have my blessing. And if you think you need to work outside the home just to make ends meet—then go for it. You have my blessing. But don’t come whining to me about how stressed you are or how hard your life is and how you still can’t make ends meet and what a lazy, insensitive bum your husband is. If a woman chooses to stay home and raise her own kids and just be a wife, respect and honor her for that choice. The husbands of the 50’s certainly did. The Women’s Movement didn’t.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Kathyb said...

Here, here Sallyann! I am counting the days when I get to return to the good old days! My mom, while college educated, was a stay at home mom, for most of my childhood. She went to work fulltime after all the children were off to their own lives.

We all relish the memories of her insisting we had to have a hot meal before heading off to school, packing lady fingers and warm pudding as a treat in our lunch thermos and coming home to fresh baked bread and dinner smelling sooo good!

She never let her stay at home status diminish her sense of accomplishment or her time with her hobbies-she loved to cook, sew, play the piano, paint and especially camp! Cooking and sewing are considered lost arts anymore- I know because I love to do them and my friends are amazed that I know how.

She played piano and sang to us all the time and summers were spent camping at the South Jersey shore from the time school let out until a week before we had to be back to start the new year.

I chose the career path and am in senior management, and while it provides lots of challenges for me, it also takes me away from the things I love best- my family, my creativity, my life.

Oh to be back in the kitchen watching my mom kneading bread for tomorrow's lunches, and helping us deal with our life's little crises, before shooing us out the door to play in the fresh air until dinner.

I remember the smell of fresh baking bread and that smell evokes a sense of stability, order and comfort! Long live the 50s!!

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

Saw a news clip a few days ago reporting parents are now willing to spend OVER a hundred dollars for a pair of sneakers for their kids. The story became newsworthy because it surpassed the ceiling for sneaker prices. I guess kids will start shooting each other for their sneakers again. If a parent pays anything more than $50 (which is an outrageous price) for their kids sneakers, they are part of the problem.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Sally-Wow you nailed it!Never really thought that hard about it but reading your take was like a slap in the face.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all of you who glamourize the women's role of the 50's, let's get real. Mom might have been taking care of the house, the kids and the hubby while he worked outside the home, but the wife was still considered "his" property and if she didn't "obey" him she was slapped around, knocked around, and beaten down until she did obey. This was considered acceptable behavior for men to "control" "their" wives. She also had no choice over her reproductive rights. If an accidental or unwanted pregnancy happened, she had the baby or endured a "backroom abortion". Divorce was almost unthinkable. You had better take the beating and keep quiet rather than divorce. Counseling was not an option to help a marriage. You didn't want anyone to know you had a "bad marriage". For those brave enough to divorce, the woman was stigmatized for life after that , enduring the whispers of her new "neighbors", the so-called friends she would have. If we're going to be fair to the young teenage girls od today, let's at least be honest with them. Life in the 50's was not all warm and fuzzy.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Sallyann said...

By all means, let's be fair to young women of today. We wouldn't want to give them a wrong impression of how much better their lives are today rather than having lived in their prime in the 50's.

To begin with if the 50's were that horrendous for women, why do people who were "raised" by 50's parents "glamorize" the time period. The truth is either one of two possibilites: 1.)Either we have lost our ability to remember correctly or 2.) 50's parents, including the fathers, who held to the traditional roles in marriage were much better parents for kids.

The Feminist had to sell the "ideas" of wife beating and subjugation and the ever favorite "back alley abortion" in order to "convert" impressionable young women to the Women's Movement. Any good movement worth its salt has to come up with a "party line".

Were there abused women in the 50's? Certainly. But not in the numbers the Feminist said. Were there back alley abortions? Certainly. But again, not in the numbers the Feminist said. They built a movement around a handful of worst case scenarios and made them "common place" or status quo. In most cases of abuse, you could always be assured that "alcoholism" was the cause.

Feminism promised women a better life. Did it? How many single mothers are there today trying to raise kids all by themselves? For every "one" women who succeeded, five more failed. The welfare roles for single mothers swelled to ridiculous numbers.

The Women's Movement set out to destroy the traditional marriage. I can safely was incredibly sucessful. You've heard the term "absent fathers". That didn't come around as a reality in a vacuum. Feminism beat the snot out of men. Male bashing was their blood sport.

So, as a result of the Women's Movement, women are struggling more now than anytime in history, and that includes trying to hold a job and raise kids at the same time. Kids don't have fathers now, they have "my mother's boyfriend of the week." This sets up a real stable environment for kids to grow up in. And of course, the jails are full of "dead beat" dads for non-payment of child support.

The Women's Movement "trickled down" and hit the poor and the Black culture the worst. Statistically, they're off the charts with failing everything. But no socio-economic class escaped the negative effects of Feminism.

Of course, women were abused in the 50's and generations before BUT NEVER LIKE THEY'VE BEEN ABUSED IN THIS PRESENT DAY CULTURE. Our towns are full of "safe houses" to secure the "liberated female" from the abusive boyfriend or husband. 1,200 pregnant women are murdered every year by their boyfriends or husbands. The powers to be are calling this new trend a phenomenon of contemporary culture. It's a phenomenon alright, but it has it roots in Feminism. Good God, if you want to hear how men think of women now, listen to the lyrics of hip hop and rap. Watch the videos. Check out what women have allowed themselves to be reduced to...bump and grind whores. And if you don't get in then, check out how the young girls dress today. Feminism fought to "elevate" the women as an equal to men. I hardly see this "new" image of women as anything liberating or progressive. You didn't see this kind of demeaning crap in the 50's, but ONLY after thirty years of Feminist Rule. Yes, lets be honest with our daughters. You've come a long ways baby, but you just might lose all sense of self respect for yourself along the journey.

12:36 PM  

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