A Day in the Life of a 1950's Housewife by Jane Bovary

Meanderer

Senior Meanderer
Location
USA
"I confess,that in my darker days of struggle, I've thought about being a 50's housewife . Were they really Stepford-like, robotic creatures under the economic, social and political thumb? What would a day in the life of a 1950's housewife really be like..? Cue music and fade-out for dream sequence...."

http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Day-in-the-Life-of-a-50s-Housewife

 

i_am_Lois

Member
LOL. Nothing like my own mother's 1950's daily routine.
Mom stayed at home. She never played tennis, Dad was able to handle getting his own breakfast & get himself off to work independently.
Mom got us kids up, dressed, fed & off to school.
She worked every day in the home.
Sundays she changed all the bed linens and washed the dirty ones.
Mondays she did all the household laundry.
Tuesdays she ironed all those clothes.
Wednesday the kitchen got cleaned, with her on hands & knees scrubbing then waxing the floor.
Thursday the house was vacuumed & dusted.
Friday she went food shopping.
Saturday seemed to be her only day off. We usually went to visit relatives on that day.
 

Mirabilis

Member
Location
South Florida
Lois, that was my mother until I started high school and she got a job. Then she was so career-minded we hardly saw her unless she had a day off.
 

meg

New Member
Location
Somerset
When I think of how hard my mother used to work...it makes me tired.....I just couldn't do all the things she used to. No housework aids to talk about. We did have a twin tub washing machine...but no fridge, no dishwasher, no floor steamer, no microwave....she did all the work AND had a job as well.
 

Capt Lightning

Senior Member
Lois, my mother sounds a bit like yours with a couple of exceptions....

1. Sunday morning was church - a bit of hellfire & brimstone from Rev. Stewart. The thought of changing or washing clothes on a Sunday was virtually the work of satan.
2. The other days were not quite so organised, though she always shopped for food on Saturday along with my aunt.

She never went back to work .
 

CPA-Kim

Member
Location
Florida
Totally different than my mom's. My mother and father were up at 5:30. They had coffee, then ate oatmeal/toast for breakfast. Dad had to be at the post office at 7:15. I got myself up at around 7:30 and was at school by 8:30 (only lived a block away so I walked.) I came home for lunch. During the mornings, my mother cleaned and cooked. We ALWAYS had a nice lunch. When I came home from school, there was always a warm cake, cookies or a pie (all made from scratch) waiting. I had that with a big glass of milk, then went out to play until my father came home at 5:15 (he had a two hour lunch and came home ate, then took a 45-minute nap.) Dad did 90% of the grocery shopping. My mother would usually call him around 4 and tell him what she needed. He would always decide on the meat. We ate turkey and roasts a lot. My mother did the dishes, washed the clothes, and kept the house spotless (we lived in an 8-bedroom home so it was no small task.) My brother was 19 years older, so he was in the service by the time I was born. We were both raised as only children in a very liberal atmosphere. After dinner (I usually took up my plate and watched TV during dinner) we would watch TV or, in the Summer, go to the golf course and play. My mother was an artist and would paint during the evenings and on weekends. My father bowled, played golf, played softball and watched sports. They played golf together in the Summer. I would say my mother was pretty much in charge.
 

Aunt Marg

Granny Pantie Power!
  • When the children were hungry, you didn't run to McDonalds for a bag of hamburgers and French fries.
  • Babies wore cloth diapers with pins and rubber pants. Aside from mothers needing to know how to fold diapers properly so that babies surroundings stayed free of wetness, diapers needed washed daily, and those lucky enough owned a wringer washing machine, those who weren't were graced with the task of washing diapers by-hand on a washboard. Diapers were hung on the clothesline to dry, and you prayed diapers would be dry in time for the next round of changing. There was no running to the store for Pampers or Huggies.
  • Homemade baby food and formula was the norm.
  • When a child stepped out of line, a good old-fashioned spanking was administered. Time-outs didn't exist.
 
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  • When the children were hungry, you didn't run to McDonalds for a bag of hamburgers and French fries.
  • Babies wore cloth diapers with pins and rubber pants. Aside from mothers needing to know how to fold diapers properly so that babies surroundings stayed free of wetness, diapers needed washed daily, and those lucky enough owned a wringer washing machine, those who weren't were graced with the task of washing diapers by-hand on a washboard. Diapers were hung on the clothesline to dry, and you prayed diapers would be dry in time for the next round of changing. There was no running to the store for Pampers or Huggies.
  • Homemade baby food and formula was the norm.
  • When a child stepped out of line, a good old-fashioned spanking was administered. Time-outs didn't exist.
My boys never wore anything but cloth diapers...I couldn't afford the new-fangled disposable diapers for either one of them. It was a huge amount of work but guess what? They were both completely potty trained (by me, not them) before they were just short of two years old.
Mothers are now too lazy to figure out the tricks of training a two year old because it's just too dang easy to keep on using Pampers. The name brand of "Pampers" should apply to lazy mothers who just can't be bothered and think it's reasonable to "request" their 4 yr. old to please not crap their diaper anymore.🤢🤮
 
My boys never wore anything but cloth diapers...I couldn't the new-fangled disposable diapers for either one of them. It was a huge amount of work but guess what? They were both completely potty trained (by me, not them) before they were just short of two years old.
Mothers are now too lazy to figure out the tricks of training a two year old because it's just too dang easy to keep on using Pampers. The name brand of "Pampers" should apply to lazy mothers who just can't be bothered and think it's reasonable to "request" their 4 yr. old to please not crap their diaper anymore.🤢🤮
I wouldn't go that far, but have you seen the newer commercials on t.v. for PullUps? I haven't been around any little-bitty children for a long time, but some of the kids in those ads look like they should be in Kindergarten- and yet they're not potty-trained?!?
 

Aunt Marg

Granny Pantie Power!
My boys never wore anything but cloth diapers...I couldn't the new-fangled disposable diapers for either one of them. It was a huge amount of work but guess what? They were both completely potty trained (by me, not them) before they were just short of two years old.
Mothers are now too lazy to figure out the tricks of training a two year old because it's just too dang easy to keep on using Pampers. The name brand of "Pampers" should apply to lazy mothers who just can't be bothered and think it's reasonable to "request" their 4 yr. old to please not crap their diaper anymore.🤢🤮
OMG, same here, Kayelle... old-fashioned cloth diapers, pins, and rubber pants for all of mine, and happy to do so.

Being a stay-at-home mom made using cloth diapers easy, and having grown-up changing baby siblings that wore cloth diapers, I had the whole process of changing, rinsing, soaking, washing, drying, and folding down-pat, long before I became a mom.

I commend you on the early training. I wasn't so lucky, but at least with reusable, washable cloth diapers, I didn't fret over diapering longer, because the cloth diapers didn't cost me a thing other than a little detergent every few days, which equated to pennies per wash-load.
 

Aunt Marg

Granny Pantie Power!
I wouldn't go that far, but have you seen the newer commercials on t.v. for PullUps? I haven't been around any little-bitty children for a long time, but some of the kids in those ads look like they should be in Kindergarten- and yet they're not potty-trained?!?
I remember the uproar that disposable training pants caused back in the late 80's, when they first came out. My mom was mortified. In my moms day, training pants were cloth and reusable, she just couldn't wrap her head around disposable pants.

I put my kids through 100% cotton waffle-knit training pants, too. I remember how I would double-up the training pants (or soakers is what I called them), and then I'd top off the soakers with a pair of rubber pants.
 
I remember the uproar that disposable training pants caused back in the late 80's, when they first came out. My mom was mortified. In my moms day, training pants were cloth and reusable, she just couldn't wrap her head around disposable pants.

I put my kids through 100% cotton waffle-knit training pants, too. I remember how I would double-up the training pants (or soakers is what I called them), and then I'd top off the soakers with a pair of rubber pants.
Cloth training pants weren't as do-able with wall-to-wall carpeting...
 
My boys never wore anything but cloth diapers...I couldn't afford the new-fangled disposable diapers for either one of them. It was a huge amount of work but guess what? They were both completely potty trained (by me, not them) before they were just short of two years old.
Mothers are now too lazy to figure out the tricks of training a two year old because it's just too dang easy to keep on using Pampers. The name brand of "Pampers" should apply to lazy mothers who just can't be bothered and think it's reasonable to "request" their 4 yr. old to please not crap their diaper anymore.🤢🤮
By the way, before anyone thinks I had the "benefits of being at home to train them", let me explain further since I'm on a "diaper rant" .;)

My very young husband and I had our first child in 1965. We could barely make the ends meet on his wages and I wanted to be able to raise my own child at all costs.
I found a way of doing both by working taking care of other little ones while their mothers wore panty hose and high heels to work.
I even washed their diapers (extra $$) and hung them all on a huge 6 line clothesline. That was tricky, but doable if it didn't rain. That's a whole nutter story.
Anyway, at one time I had 4 under four years old and I potty trained all of them too. It was exhausting but I loved all those little ones. When my own son started kindergarten I went back to school myself at the local college.

I remember those days with a happy heart for a job well done.
 

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
I have a memory of ironing:
Aunt's dead beat spouse ran off, leaving her with no job
skills and three small kids. She took in ironing, had a hunched back in her late forties,
could have been certified as a hunchback in her fifties as she continued to iron.
Wrinkle free (Perma press) cut into her income by late sixties but she continued ironing.
 
Kayelle. What about homemade baby food and formula? Did you go the route of homemade as well?
Actually I nursed my first son till he was "tippy cup" trained , which was about the time the potty training started at 18 mo. My day care moms provided the formula bottles and Gerber jars of baby food. I was too pooped to go the homemade baby food route.
You also mentioned plastic pants over the cloth diapers...oh yeah, they all had to be laundered too, but not for each changing.
 

Aunt Marg

Granny Pantie Power!
By the way, before anyone thinks I had the "benefits of being at home to train them", let me explain further since I'm on a "diaper rant" .;)

My very young husband and I had our first child in 1965. We could barely make the ends meet on his wages and I wanted to be able to raise my own child at all costs.
I found a way of doing both by working taking care of other little ones while their mothers wore panty hose and high heels to work.
I even washed their diapers (extra $$) and hung them all on a huge 6 line clothesline. That was tricky, but doable if it didn't rain. That's a whole nutter story.
Anyway, at one time I had 4 under four years old and I potty trained all of them too. It was exhausting but I loved all those little ones. When my own son started kindergarten I went back to school myself at the local college.

I remember those days with a happy heart for a job well done.
I can so relate, even though I had my kids almost 20 years later than you did, but it was the same story in our house (my childhood home). My folks were poor and mom used to take-in neighbourhood children (mostly babies/toddlers) and care for them, and I remember her babysitting baby cousins all the time in our home.

LOL! Yes, line-drying and rain never made for a good pair! :)

Love your story! Thanks for sharing!
 

Aunt Marg

Granny Pantie Power!
I have a memory of ironing:
Aunt's dead beat spouse ran off, leaving her with no job
skills and three small kids. She took in ironing, had a hunched back in her late forties,
could have been certified as a hunchback in her fifties as she continued to iron.
Wrinkle free (Perma press) cut into her income by late sixties but she continued ironing.
Ironing truly was part-and-parcel to traditional homemaking back in the day. :)
 
Actually I nursed my first son till he was "tippy cup" trained , which was about the time the potty training started at 18 mo. My day care moms provided the formula bottles and Gerber jars of baby food. I was too pooped to go the homemade baby food route.
You also mentioned plastic pants over the cloth diapers...oh yeah, they all had to be laundered too, but not for each changing.
If you mean "sippy-cups," I never heard of anything like that when my oldest was little. I bought a couple for my youngest, though, who wanted no part of them- went directly from bottles to cups/glasses.
 

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