Monday, March 28, 2011

A 1950's Housewife Fail.

The following is an excerpt from  what was thought to be a 1950's American High School Home Economics Book. It comes from an essay entitled, "How To Be A Good Wife," and is intended as an instruction manual of sorts for high school girls as they prepare for married life. 
After much (albeit half-assed Googling) research, it looks as if the text originally circulated in the late 1800's but was mocked-up again and re-circulated as a flyer for Women's Equality in the mid-1970's. In any case, I find it wildly amusing and had to share. Who knew it only took the following 10 steps to achieve domestic bliss? You could have fooled me, that's for sure. 

Since I now pride myself on my newly chosen career as a Stay-At-Home-Mom, this post wouldn't be a true I Love You More Than Carrots original if I didn't include my two-cents.

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready 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.

Okay, I'll admit. Some days I feel like this is the least that I could do for The Husband since he's the one working outside of the home all day, busting his chops to bring home the bacon. However, have you tried doing anything with a baby? Yeah. Thought so. Near impossible. So, I would say this happens about 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time? A simple, "Babe, I'm thinking about you," ought to suffice. And on the rare occasion that it doesn't? Thank god for carry-out and God's gift to women, the Crock-Pot. 

2. Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you are 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. His boring day may need a lift.

Make-up? Ribbon? Husband, you're lucky if I get a shower in that day. As for interesting? Don't even start with me. I'm always interesting.

3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house. Gather up books, toys and newspapers. Dust the tables so that they appear clean. Your husband will feel that he has reached his haven and rest and order. Doing this for him will give you a lift also.

A "lift" you say? I prefer to lift up the cushions of the couch and stuff Carter's toys in there where you can't see them. Then it just looks as if I've spent the previous 45 minutes "tidying up," when in reality, I was probably feeding Carter, corralling Sheepie and watching Real Housewives marathons on Bravo. C'mon. I know you do it, too.

4. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash their faces and hands. Comb their hair and change their clothes if it is necessary to make them look presentable to him. They are "God's creatures" and your husband would like to see them playing their part.

Haha. Right. Just the other day I spilled an entire bowl of pureed carrots all over Sullivan, the floors, the oven, the fridge and the entire lower cabinetry of the kitchen. Do you know how long Sully walked around covered in carrots? Let's just say it was over an hour. I have a hard enough time keeping the dog clean, let alone my child.

(Edited to add: Sullivan is Sheepie's real name. Apparently there has been some confusion over this, as pointed out by "Krishna" and the nasty comment she decided to leave about stealing blog content and leaving the original writer's son's name in #4. Sullivan is in fact, not the name of the original writer's son, as I am the original writer and my son's name is Carter. My dog's name, however, is Sullivan and that is who I am referring to here.)
5. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all the noises of the washer, dryer, dishwasher and vacuum. You've had plenty of time to do these things during the day. Don't do them now. Encourage your children to be quiet.

Wait, how am I supposed to cook, clean AND feed you, Dear Husband without the help of my best friends: the Washer, Dryer and Dishwasher? A life without those besties would be no life at all. As a matter of fact, I think I've had nightmares about that sort of life. As for keeping Carter quiet, have you ever tried to silence The Screamies? I'll be the first to tell you it's impossible.

6. Be happy to see your husband. Greet him with a warm smile. Do not greet your husband with problems or complaints. Don't complain when he is late for dinner. Count this as minor when compared to what he had to go through all day.

Guilty as charged. Housewife fail. In my defense, at least I let him loosen his tie and drop his suitcase before I launch into my tirade of, "it's7:30whyareyouhomesolate?youhaveababyandawifeandican'teatdinnerat8pmeverynight!"

7. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down a few minutes 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.

Wait, what about me? Where's my drink? Oh, wait. Does that glass of Chardonnay that I downed at 4:00pm count? Shucks.

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 speak first. Make the evening his. He is special!

There isn't a notebook large enough to keep track of all the things I need to tell The Husband the minute he walks in the door. If I don't get it all out then, when am I supposed to tell him about the fence that needs fixing? Or the the fact that we've been living in our house for over a year and we STILL don't have a dining room table? Maybe I'll just save it for the minute we hop into bed.

9. Never complain that he does not 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. Remember that you relaxed all day waiting for his return. Now it's his turn to enjoy what you enjoyed.

If by "relaxed" you mean, "ran the dryer seven times in an attempt to remove the wrinkles from the laundry that has sat in there for four days, threw a myriad of ingredients into the Crock Pot hoping to God it all comes together in the form of a delicious dinner, played Musical Baby Equipment with every single swing, chair, bouncer, book and walker this side of the Mississippi in order to captivate your 7 month old's ever-changing attention, walked the dog, emptied the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, hand washed 47 bottles and changed the crib sheets for 478th time?" Why then yes, I did relax all day and you're right. Husband, it's YOUR turn.

10. The goal: Try to make his home a place of peace and order, a place where your husband can relax in body and spirit.

Deal. Our home can be your haven, Husband. Now, how about you take Carter for the weekend while I jet off to Wine Country my haven?

Of note: By now you should know better than to take me seriously. I'm only mostly okay, half joking! Happy Monday, Loyals! Hope this starts your week off with a hardy chuckle!


  1. Ha! I used to have a copy of this somewhere and actually blogged about it a while ago! I'm not an actual housewife, since I have a job outside of the home (although sometimes I work FROM home), but can you imagine doing all of this in heels and pearls?! I am working from home today and have left the pajamas to slip into a long sleeved t-shirt (at least it's a fitted one) and some yoga pants. No make-up... ponytail - go me!

    I think it's actually from Good Housekeeping or something. I laugh every time I read it!

    Thanks for the entertainment this morning :)

  2. This is why there was such a problem with SAHM's and valium in the the 50's.

    #7&8 did it for me. I died. A cool drink? Yeah. How about some ice cold water dumped on his head because he left a stinky, shitty, diaper in my car, and DIDN'T TELL ME?

  3. This is absolutely fabulous! What a crock of shit. I suppose I would have been kicked to the curb circa 1952. But as long as I could have taken my petticoat and good shoes with me, that might be okay.

  4. This cracks me up! Your take on each step was so great, thanks for the laugh!

  5. I remember a co-worker giving this to me when I was getting married 10 years ago. If I knew then what I knew now! Seriously, being a SAHM is hard work - I'm tired from working all week, but more tired after the weekend lately. I don't think dads realize moms need a break too. Let's just say my husband's commitment to his job results in him working often both days on the weekend, not just the one day that I have always been okay with (and it's not like he gets paid OT or extra for his hours). And he doesn't bother to tell me until that day, so I'm thinking we've got a quiet family day around the house, we can share toddler, no. I am more exhausted after the weekend is over since it's usually just me - I'm pretty sure whoever wrote that piece was a man! So hats off to you for doing what you can during the week!

  6. Wait.. we can drink at 4?!? And all this time, I've been waiting for 5 ;)

    I think we should go on a mommas-only cruise here soon and let these boys live our lives for a week. Actually, it would have to be a 4-day cruise because you just know they could NEVER make it a whole week in our shoes. I'm even being generous thinking they *might* make it 4 days........

    Happy Monday!


  7. ok this list cracked me up and your thoughts on it were fabulous.

    seriously, encourage the kids to be quiet...please tell me how?
    a cool/warm drink ready for him the minute he walks in...umm...hello!!!

    so, when does this list apply to the moms??

    i think i need to post this list on the blog and see what kind of reactions i get. ha ha!

  8. haha! My hubby had a copy of this for a while, but luckily he only had it as a joke... It does provide some pretty good laughs though... Thank goodness I wasn't born in the 50's!

  9. Ummm, WOW. This is seriously funny and a great way to start my Monday. Cheers to SAHM's!!!

  10. I LOVE this! Absolutely hilarious! Could you imagine? You know who needs a cool :) Not that hubbys don't but I'm pretty sure they have two legs, just like us, that can walk them to the fridge for whatever will tickle their fancy.

  11. Puh-lees! Why am I supposed to do this crap even when I work?!? I bust my butt every lunch hour changing laundry, dusting, vacuuming, picking the house up, because I rarely have time to do it when I am home after work since I need to feed both boys.. oh and don't forget the dog! That is why our dinner menu looks like spaghetti, chicken patties, tacos, etc.

  12. Haha that is so, so funny. The most hilarious part is, at one time women actually WOULD feel bad if they didn't do all these things. I can't imagine. Haha.

  13. I honestly thought being a SAHM would be easier than it is. I thought I would have stuff done and dinner ready each day, and honestly, most days I do because my child is an excellent napper. Usually. BUT.. there are days, when she won't sleep, the dogs are making me crazy, the dishes don't get done, and I need a drink by two. Dinner is the last thing on my mind. I get a big fat housewife fail those days. Thank God that it appears our hubs have also come a long way since this was written. My hubs would die laughing if he came home and I greeted him in makeup, heels, and dinner on the table. Then he would ask what I broke...

  14. I so needed to read this. The husband is at a conference until Thursday and I feel like our grandmothers would have done this whole thing so much more gracefully!

    I spit out my diet coke laughing, might I add!

  15. ok miss thang, if you haven't gone to, you need to go instantly. This blog you wrote is right up their alley.

    I may have to show this to my BF.. although i dont want him getting any ideas.. he might appreciate it I hope!

  16. Hahaha I LOVE this! I have seen this before and my sisters and I have gotten quite a laugh out of it a few times. Oh, the life of a SAHM mom has sure changed, thank God! :)

  17. Shortly after the hubs and I started dating, he brought me this list and hung it on my fridge. (jokingly of course) Let's just say it's a good thing I don't live in the 50s!

  18. okay so apparently you haveto add a www to the front of that.. so: . :)

  19. This is so funny because my mom tells me to do each and every one of these on this list!! I do most of them because that is how she taught me but it all seems a little silly! I mean we are only human, right??

  20. LOL! Love it, and loved your thoughts! I never would have made it through the 50's. And do we really have to wait until 4pm for a glass of wine?!

  21. Oh geeze! How crazy! I loved your take on all of these. While I was reading them I couldn't help but think about the book I'm reading right now, The Help and all of the rich bitches that take advantage of their maids. Yikes!

  22. Oh my!! This is actually really funny. I love looking at these types of guides and used to play similar "instructional films" in some of my classes when I was a teacher (I taught history) to let the kids know what things were like. FYI - I'm sitting here in frumpy PJ's and no makeup writing this. I may have something green stuck in my tooth ;)

  23. LOL. This is great. All I have to say is thank god times have changed. What is this crap? Haha.

  24. HAHA my mom tells me to 'look nice" for my husband when he gets home. Yeah, that never happens, Pretty sure if i have no where to go i'll be in comfy clothes all day. I would have died in the 50's

  25. You left the name of the original writer's son under #4. Might want to be more careful next time you decide to steal blog entries to fill the gaps in between your incessant bragging of Carter.

  26. Finally commenting but I love this. It made me laugh more than once. After all the things it says to do before the husband gets home and then says "since you've been relaxing all day"... yeah right.

  27. This cracks me up and makes me want to gag! I am a housewife {as you know} and I don't do half those things but I do Make our house a Home and I love my husband. I think that is good enough?! Right? HA!

    As for the commenter, since there is 6 billion people in world, it would be ingorant to think mulitple people do not have the same name! Our dog is named Ava, who do you want to say I stole it from, ha!

    {Ok, late again on commenting, I am way behind}

  28. I've seen this a few times and it just cracks me RIGHT up. Things certainly have changed!

  29. I bet Krishna feels stupid now.

  30. Haha love this list!

  31. Thanks for linking back to this in your 2011 wrap-up! What a great way to start my day... my husband would be lucky to get just one of those things. :-)


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