One of my favorite topics to lecture on when I was teaching Psychology classes was that of gender roles. Last year I read an incredible book on the evolution of women’s roles. When Everything Changed really struck a cord with me, and I’ve thought about it a lot since finishing it.
The 1950’s have always been such a fascinating time period to me. My grandparents were my age in that decade! It feel so close, yet it’s a completely different world. Women were mostly isolated to their homes. Families had one car, that the Father took to work, so Mom stayed home with the kids and spent an average of two hours a day cleaning. Add in cooking three meals a day, and walking the kids an average of 2-3 miles to school five days a week, and I can only imagine how exhausted they were!
Despite it’s challenges there is something about that lifestyle is so appealing to me. Things seemed more simple then. Parents weren’t scared to let their kids play outside, the family sat down to a home-cooked meal every night, and video games and cell phones were non-existent. People actually visited one another in their homes. Moms knew how to make a dollar last. There was less of an emphasis on material goods and more on creating family memories.
A few weeks ago I googled “life as a 1950’s housewife” and was immediately sucked into reading essays on the role of women in that time. I started to come across frequent mentions on how much time they spent cleaning and thought it would be fun to spend a week keeping my house as clean as a 1950’s house wife would.
I love cleaning. It makes me feel so accomplished to have a clean and orderly house. I don’t spend more than 30 minutes cleaning most days of the week. Every day I make the bed, do any laundry that needs to be done, wash all dishes, sweep (most of our floors are hard wood so I don’t vacuum regularly), clean the counter tops and put away anything that has been left out. Once or twice a week I’ll do more intensive cleaning; vacuum, deep clean the bathroom, purge and organize a closet.
Starting today and going through until Tuesday I will follow this cleaning schedule.
I’ll follow the schedule six days a week (gotta rest on Sunday!) and I’ll do one of the ‘every week’ blocks each day, and I’ll try to add the monthly tasks in as well! Clearly, I have a lot of free time on my hands (Ha.)
As a modern day woman I have a lot of items at my disposal that will make accomplishing these cleaning chores much more manageable. In the 1950’s most women cleaned with basic ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, lemon, castile soap, and borax. I would like to start making more of my cleaning products myself. My Mom’s been making her own all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner for years and they work just as well as store bought.
I couldn’t fathom cooking three meals a day on top of this, and taking care of a baby, and working! I think I’ll be able to get most of the chores done in an hour if I’m really focused, so it shouldn’t be too much extra work this week. We’ll see. I may regret this!
Am I crazy?
Do you think it would be fun to life in a different decade?