Mrs. Cleaver, Is That You?

Here’s a nostalgic piece of artwork with a “crafts” theme. It’s a vintage package of sewing needles – probably from the 1950’s. When I first glanced at it, I thought: “Oh, pretty! Bright and cheerful!”

sewing kit card

But as I looked closer, I began to think that this little advertising scene would probably put a lot of pressure on a busy Mom of that era. After all, the ladies shown are awfully “gussied up” for an afternoon quilting bee! Did they really have time to live such a carefree existence? They had bigger families, much less convenience food, and no permanent press!

I decided to google “life for women in the 1950’s” and came up with the following excerpt from a 1950 Home Economics textbook – no less!

Whew! Talk about pressure . . .

Have dinner ready: Plan ahead even the night before to have a delicious meal 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 prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-wary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
Minimize all noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him. Some don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down 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-unwind.

Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

When I finished this post, I asked Sir Beads to read it. Afterwards, he said with a wink: “Hmm, you know… there are a lot of good points there!” 😉

What do you think?



Mrs. Cleaver, Is That You? — 13 Comments

  1. I sit here on the couch, with a milkshake, while my husband fried bacon for a BLT salad. If I even start to get up to get water, my husband leaps to grab my cup instead, while he gripes about how skinny the women in ads are.

    My sincerest appreciations to feminists. Not because he might not have turned out this way anyhow– his family’s always been rather matriarchal– but because, in the era of June Cleaver, I might have been too neurotic to enjoy it. Cheers!

  2. Good Morning Crystal!

    …As far as dressing goes, we’ve gone from one extreme to the other! In the fifties, we were a bit too dressed, and now a little too casual sometimes! 😉

    Wow, did we ever cater to our dear hubbies back then … I’d better click off before my Frank walks by! (giggle!)

    Big hugs,
    Paulette =D

  3. Hi Paulette,

    I agree that people seem to dress almost too casually today – even for dressy occasions like weddings! We definitely have gone too far the other way now!

    You’re very smart to click off before Frank saw anything!!! LOL 😉

  4. Oh Claudia,
    It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking a cup of tea when I read your comment! I would have sprayed it on the computer screen because I was laughing so much!! 🙂

  5. yes, of course! I can see Coco Chanel pampering her husband like that! Thank goodness times changed! (don´t misunderstand me, I LOVE to cook, I totally enjoy seing my daughter all dolled up and I do want my partner to be happy), but there is a limit and I am glad that society has reached the point where the woman is not just a homemaking, children-birthing machine with no feelings, no desires and no independence.

    And I get back to Coco Chanel´s quote here:

    A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

    So the guy who dreams a life like in the 50´s… he better wake up…. Dream Over! 🙂

  6. Hi Claudia! 🙂

    Another interesting quote from Coco Chanel:

    “Your fake jewelry should look real and your real jewelry should look fake.”

  7. I’m going to have to show this article to my grandmother and ask if it’s true. It just seems too “Stepford Wives” to be real. I think my husband might like it, but there’s NO way that I could keep it up. My favorite part? “Try to encourage the children to be quiet.” hahahaha … dare to dream on that one… 🙂

  8. Boy do I hate to admit this but I remember my mother doing these things (in the 50’s) for my dad. I remember thinking then, that all this was a bit overkill. My second thought was why is Mom so catering to Dad when no one caters to her! A bit lopsided, don’t you think?

  9. Too funny. I can’t even imagine living like this! My husband, however, would probably love it.

  10. Wow. It sounds a little extreme but I think we can each take something from it- you don’t have to greet your hubby with slippers and a drink, but I think we can all learn something from the points that stress that you should listen to your husband talk when he comes home. Not saying that us women don’t deserve respect or to be listened to- we definitely do- but he does, too! We need to make the time for him!

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