I agree June!
That's a false conception. Yes, a lot of women did wear dresses every day. My mom has memories of my grandma wearing a dress to garden. As I posted yesterday they would wear something called a day dress or house dress, complete with apron. They wore comfortable shoes or house shoes for their housework and gardening.
Yeah, so this dress isn't as appealing as our mental images of the 50s housewife, but what does this say to you? To me, I think of the shortage of everything, especially money. This shortage of money generally meant that women not only had to make their own clothing, but they had to take great care to keep the dresses in good condition. If you've ever bought, or even held a vintage dress originally from the 40s or 50s you'll notice how much better quality was put into the clothing of that time as compared to our wear and throw away wardrobe of today.
As I cleaned in my jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes to as much classic music as I could find in my small oldies library I couldn't help but think about family dynamics of yesteryear as opposed to today. At that time in history staying home and raising your children was just expected. Yes, we have a choice whether we want to go to work, go to college, or stay home now, but is there really a choice for us as women?
Think about this for a minute - in that day, the man went to work while the women stayed home to raise the kids, clean the house, cook, pay bills, run errands, etc, etc, etc. Now, we have the choice to go to work so we can come home and raise the kids, clean the house, cook, pay bills, run errands, etc, etc, etc. So, where is the choice? Oh, I know there are men out there who help around the house, but admit it....that's rare. And honestly, I don't want my husband to do the laundry, and homeboy can not cook! He helps when I ask him to, but being as he works up to twelve hours a day, why in the world would I ask him to do something I could've done during the day while he was working his butt off to support the five of us?
Okay, so where am I going with this? Honestly, I'm not sure. I laid in bed last night for hours, my feet throbbing, my body exhausted, and my mind reeling. I already live the life of a housewife, but what makes me different from a 1950s housewife? Is it because I choose to live this life? Is it because, as a society, we no longer put pride in our appearance when we go into public, or pride in our homes and family? When I think of a traditional 1950s housewife the picture at the top of my page is what comes to mind.
To me, this is the 1950s. The family didn't save their nice clothes for strangers; they dressed nice to have dinner with each other. The family is praying together, sitting at the dinner table to eat instead of everyone making a plate and disappearing into another room where they can eat in front of the television or computer. The wife (at least in this picture it was the wife who prepared the meal) took great care to make sure she made something not only nutritious but tasty and appealing to the eye for those who are most important to her. Why have we decided that we'll save our best (personality, manners, kindness, appearance) for strangers or a night out with friends rather than the people whom mean the most to us? And when did this shift from family happen?
I will still post about my experience from today this evening, but for now I can't help but reflect on these things while I attempt to rebuild the 50s family in my own home.