Some time ago, probably a few years now, I read about a woman who decided to change her behaviors toward her husband and children. Her kids were miserable and misbehaved. Her marriage was suffering and she was admittedly an unhappy person. With no work outside of the home she would attempt to take on the role of a 1950’s housewife. When I first read this I thought she was cray cray! Not crazy, but CRAY CRAY! It’s the 2000’s! Hadn’t she heard of progress, the women’s movement? Why in the world would she want to be relegated to a life of waiting on other people hand and foot? After reading further, I thought to myself, “Huh. This actually doesn’t seem so bad.” It wasn’t so much about being a doormat as it was being a good wife and mother. A month or so later she updated on her experiment and was thrilled to report she was waking up early, exercising, making breakfast, lunches, dinners, overall better organized and everyone in the house was happier. Her marriage and sex life (not that we need improvement in this area, sorry for the TMI) was better than ever, her kids had smiles on their faces and she was going to keep this up!
At the time I was single. It was all about me and I worked out, dressed up to go to the grocery store and put a lot of effort into myself. I socialized. My place was always meticulous. It’s so easy when it’s all about just one person. Then I met the hubs… No matter how much we want to say things won’t change after the marriage, they do. And that’s cool. We should just make the changes positive.
Now, I am a career woman and I cannot imagine not working. Doesn’t float everyone’s boats, and that’s alright! However, I am also a bit old-fashioned since I do believe the man is the head of the household. No one has to agree with me there, but I was just raised that way and I really do like my husband to “be in charge.” Of course, this is by 2013 standards. In our relationship we are actually quite equal and my husband is incredibly patient and supportive considering there are some times I travel more than half the month for my job. He does laundry (lately much more than I have), he cooks and -yes-he even cleans. I am a lucky woman.
Lately, though, I think I’ve become a bit complacent. I am gearing up for travel season again in less than two weeks and realizing that while I’ve been home for over a month straight, I really haven’t been keeping up with the household as I should, nor with my exercise and taking care of myself. Not cool. I am a true believer that complacency breeds contempt. While he doesn’t even notice my slacker status of late, I do. He works long days on base and though I do cook at home several times during the week, it’s time to step it up a notch.
Enter Operation 1950’s Hot Housewife-With a Modern Twist
Household: We live in a home without kids because my bonus daughters are in another state. I realize this gives me a huge advantage. In addition, with a military husband and someone who grew up in a military lifestyle, we’re pretty orderly people. Okay, we’re OCD. Our place is usually pretty clean and neat. Still, I could do a better job keeping up on the laundry, changing the sheets and cleaning the bathrooms. I hate cleaning bathrooms. I also need to iron more. I hate ironing. HATE IT. I’d rather clean bathrooms…
Dressing up/hair/make-up: My office is a casual place. If you do your job and you do it well, that’s what matters. So it allows for sloppy buns and jeans with a casual top. We, of course, dress up for meetings and offsite travel events. In the office, I dress up every so often, but I have never been a big hair and make-up person. I believe in letting natural beauty shine through. Still, I could definitely put more effort into the hair I’ve been growing out. Blow-drying my hair? UGH. Take me back to cleaning the bathrooms! Make-up? I am not that great at it. Modern Twist: I’ll have to make some attempts to watch some YouTube tutorial videos.
Cooking/meal preparation: I actually really love to cook. I get short on time and living in an urban area, it’s so easy to walk a couple of blocks and grab dinner. Eating out is actually sometimes cheaper than eating in for two people. Still, in earlier days I used to prep meals and freeze them for my husband so he could just pull them out, thaw them and stick them in the oven while I was traveling. It’s so easy to do and actually fun. I also like to get fancy. I think getting home after 1600/1700 hours (4:00pm/5:00pm) and wanting to sit and enjoy a glass of wine instead of cooking sometimes deters me from doing more. Also, the hubs is back on day shift on the base so all the nights I would spend prepping meals I am now reveling in the time I have with him instead. Next weekend I am determined to spend part of the holiday making some crock-pot and oven freezer meals since I want him to have these while I am traveling. I’m going to challenge myself to three hearty meals and two gourmet this week while I am still in town! I also need to start packing lunches for both of us. I used to pack my husband’s lunches – get up with him at 0430 to make them. Now I stay in bed and he buys lunches. Epic Fail. Modern Twist: Looks like I’ll be spending time on Pinterest, especially for healthy meals. 1950’s housewives generally made heavy meals and cakes, cookies, etc. I’ll be doing a healthy/ier take on things.
Working Out/Exercise: After my lungs were burned in the fire, my breathing and oxygen saturation still hasn’t returned to normal. Even taking brisk walks burns (translation: hurts like a mo fo) and leaves me out of breath. It psychs me out a bit and so I stop every time I get started. I have to break through the wall. The hubs is so encouraging and it’s actually something we can do together. Modern Twist: Get back to kickboxing, use my darn spirometer regularly and take my husband up on the offer to work out as soon as he asks. No, “In five minutes… or just let me finish this email.”
Today Starts Day One
: Bathrooms are scrubbed; toilets shine, mirrors sparkle, floors are cleaned, tile is gleaming. Sheets are in the dryer, with another load of laundry in the washer and fresh towels are hanging. I have my hair like this, sort of – hey it was my first time doing it: click here
– thanks to the tutorial in The Glamorous Housewife
blog. My nails and toes are done and although it’s not a lot, I do have on make-up. When the hubs gets home from base, I’ll immediately get ready when he asks me to go work out. Modern Twist:
I am in jeans and a cute tank top, but these are my cleaning clothes – and I promise to wear a dress tomorrow.
Now, to figure out dinner (chicken, probably). Tomorrow I will grocery shop after work. I will still use the washing machine and dryer. I will still use the dishwasher. I haven’t gone absolutely mad.
I am actually really excited about my decision to do this. I’ve thought about it. I’ve talked about it. Now I have written about it. I’ve given myself some accountability here.
Some would say I’ve set feminism back 60 years. Well if I have the right to choose why can’t I choose to live in what I deem to be the best of both worlds? I’m coming to realize it’s not about cooking, cleaning and laundry. It’s about making an effort. Sometimes we make more of an effort than others. Happy spouse, happy house. I adore my husband. He adores me back and nothing makes me feel like more of a woman than when he shows me. And when I make an effort, oh does he show me!
So one more modern twist: This is just as much for me as it is for him.
Anyone else who has done this or wants to start, please comment below and leave a link to your thoughts and progress. I would love to read about it!
CLICK HERE for the Good Wife’s Guide taken from Housekeeping Monthly published in 1955, along with my modern spin!