"One must strive to make her husband comfortable and at ease. This can be accomplished by agreeing with him in all matters, letting him know what a good husband he is in providing for you and your household. Always keep your home in a manner that reflects good taste and manifests your pride in your housekeeping skills. The children should always be clean and trained up to exhibit good manners at all times. This is a reflection on your ability to run the household as a good wife has been taught."
I would have been a fail as a woman of that time period. I loathe housework and maybe shouldn't be given the title of "housewife." Unless living in a house and being married are the only requirements that qualify one for that title...
My children are complimented by others as behaving well in public. That's good - they can show their other sides at home with each other. Much like any of us, I suppose.
I'm always in awe when I step into others' homes. Very neat and orderly. "How come they don't have fur on their ceiling fans, Mom? I thought you said that's all the rage this decade?" the kids ask. "Shhh, " I tell them. "We'll discuss it later - their decorating style is much simpler than ours," I say. Note to self - no more visits to people's houses who like housework. When the kids innocently ask questions like "What is that?" while pointing to an iron, it only creates an uncomfortable situation. Nobody probably ever told those folks that you throw your clothes in the dryer to make them look less wrinkled. I'll just bring them to my friends' homes who are like-minded regarding this disdainful activity.
Just think - if I kept a pristine house, I wouldn't get to experience feeling the sand from the beach between my toes right at home. Like today, when someone's bag of souvenir sand apparently developed a hole and spilled on the living room floor. They are so thoughtful in thinking of me, allowing me to have that moment, they decided to leave it there just for me - like the bowls of milk that get left behind after the cereal has been eaten. I think that's a sign of their generosity, though. They certainly wouldn't want to waste the milk by just pouring it down the sink, so just in case, if anyone else might want to enjoy leftover cereal milk, it's right there! Sitting on the coffee table, all handy like.
I love being outside, digging in the dirt, fighting the stupid stinkbugs for my tomatoes and squash. I mow my yard with a push mower, wondering if I might indeed need to start buying clinical strength deodorant. My delicate, pampered skin (right!) is freckled and beginning to wrinkle. My farm girl legs do not have delicate ankles - they appear to be built of farm stock and they're covered with mosquito bites and bruises. It goes quite well with my jeans that are rolled up several cuffs. Sometimes the cuffs are the same height on both legs.
Thank goodness, my husband will pitch in and do dishes and throw some laundry in. I do those things sometimes, too, but I'm glad he doesn't think I'm going to do it every single time. I've worked outside the home for the last 30 years, many times at 2 jobs. And I did bear children, more than the norm, I suppose, but he has helped with a lot of the duties that go with that. I'm not so sure that men handled a lot of that side of the household in the past. Thank goodness they're becoming more comfortable nowadays at stepping in to that role and that women are allowed to step in to the roles that were formerly considered more for men.
Now, to get them more involved in the actual process of pregnancy and childbirth. Surely with all the medical advances, we're not far from that development...?
The Modern Woman is apparently still evolving. In my house, she's quirky, disorganized, nurturing, creative, and unpredictable. She likes to garden and to cook. She's got a lot of the attributes of the old fashioned definition of a woman. But, she'll leave the laundry and the dishes to take off for the creek or to the park for a picnic any day. Her kids will remember that longer than how clean (or not) the house was during their childhood.
What are your thoughts? How do you view the modern woman? In what ways are they better or worse?