Saturday, October 10, 2009

How To Be a Good Wife: Advice from 1954

Over the past few years I've been trying to fine tune my domestic skills. Since meeting my FI I've unintentionally started to become a perfect 50's housewife. And I don't hate it either. I set women's lib back years & years, but I believe its a womans job to take care of her husband & family. It's the most important role of her life.

This isn't my bible or anything. lol I found this online for my post:

Home Economics High School Text Book, 1954

  1. 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 are part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll 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.
  3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.
  6. Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.
  9. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

I realized after just reading this list that I've done these things anyway. Sure the novelty of playing house will wear off, but I really do believe that men are simple creatures with simple needs. If my FI comes home after work and I have dinner on the table, the house is clean & his shirts are ironed-- he's so relaxed & at peace.

Sometimes I feel like if I say I want to cook & clean for my husband I'll get kicked out of the "Modern" Girls Club. I don't know... perhaps its because I'm a child of divorce and have unrealistic expectations? I just think in the 50's family values and morals were of the utmost importance & that they did some things right. I think there needs to be more emphasis on raising well-adjusted, polite families and less on material crap.

That's my 2 cents of the day. :)


  1. Good post. It's interesting though, but I'm sure if you speak to most new wives they are very much looking forward to taking care of their husbands. I don't think it's old fashioned at all, however there does need to be a realisation of the pressures most working women are under - trying to 'fit it all in' and mean recognise that the majority of women will do the best they can for them.

  2. Oh I agree to some extent... I think the warm fuzzies of doing it all wears off really quickly! There is a lot of pressure in our society for women to "do it all".

    We're "supposed to" work full time, look pretty, raise a family, cook dinner, clean the house, all while wearing heels & a smile.

    The reason I wrote this post is b/c my FI wants me to stay at home & raise our kids. I worry I'll go stir crazy. I don't have a single friend or even female family member that stayed home to raise their kids. Whenever they hear I plan to raise our family & stay at home, possibly working part time-- they scoff at me & I think they think of it as "slacking" off.

    They don't understand that life in rural KY is different than downtown Vancouver. lol there you can make a life with only one income. Here you need 3 or 4 salaries to get ahead.

  3. haha I can see both sides... I am both sides. If my FI wasn't 3000 miles away & we were living close to each other there is no way (with my current schedule) I could take care of him like he or I would like to.

    I'm stuck in the middle I guess. :)

  4. I love your last sentence. It's a fun list - maybe a touch dated, but not overly, especially for a stay-at-home mom/wife. It seems like society (particularly American society) would be better if perhaps we all focused a little less on the material and a little more on family and experiences. Good post!

  5. You're blogging! :) Welcome to the club!

  6. lol. I use to be like that. Two and a half years of living together later... But I do give him a warm welcome when he comes home *smirks*.

  7. @marigold: Thanks... its kinda fun :)

    @brideonashoestring: haha hey, a warm welcome is a lot better than some husbands get... my friends hubby gets a death look that says "Oh you again" lol if I passed this "guide" off to her she'd kill me! :)