1950's Housewife Challenge

Have you heard of this? Now, before you raise your suffragette bra in the air as a rallying cry, I'm not here to say women belong only in the kitchen and has no place in the boardroom. Women should go/do what makes them feel fulfilled.
The list below was taken from a 1950's Home Economics textbook intended for High School girls in preparation for married life. Apparently Snopes has discredited this claim, but I've read this in a few places and watched some YouTube programs (circa 1950's) which spout the same ideals. So... I think it's quite authentic.

Here is the list:
  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 prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so 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.
  3. 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.
  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 the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of 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 to see him.
  6. Some Don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.
No. 6 was my bug-a-boo early in our marriage. 

My husband was with the Air Force, now retired and flying commercial aircraft.  When the boys were little and he'd call home, I'd launch into a diatribe of what they'd done, how tired I was, etc., etc.. His frustration levels grew along with mine because, as a guy, he wanted to 'fix' my problems and couldn't. He was not physically there. He finally asked me to NOT tell him my issues. Not that he didn't care, but that he couldn't help. I learned early to bite my tongue and take care of things and keep things pleasant. He didn't need to worry about the family back home. Keep in mind, when in the military he was gone for weeks/months at a time.

Even now, with commercial aviation, he's away / out of country for days. When he arrives home, I greet him at the door with a smile and kiss (not because of the list above but because I want him to know I'm glad he's finally home). I DO offer him a drink. Sometimes it's just a coffee as he's flown all night and it's 0600 in the morning, and sometimes it's a nice cool glass of wine, and we enjoy it on the front porch together.

Do I HAVE to do all this? Short answer: No

Do I WANT to do all this? Short answer: Yes

I truly want my husband to know that I treasure him. He is my best friend, lover and loved one. He was with me before we had children and he is by my side now that they are married and gone. And the one thing I've noticed, after 37+ years of marriage.... The more I show him how much I love him, the more he shows me how much he loves me. It's a mutual admiration society in the Barr household.

There just might be something about those 1950's housewives and their quaint ways that strike a chord during these turbulent times.


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