|Mrs. White's Parlour in Vermont|
There is something very special about being a wife and mother. It is an honor and a privilege. It was a common custom, that when a lady got married, she gave up her job and planned to be a housewife.
In many old movies, you hear a marriage proposal from a gentleman offering his girl a "job for life" of "making his breakfast every morning." The acceptance of the proposal was always a delight to see. It was a happy offer to be a housewife.
Times have changed so much. You can see this very clearly when watching television of different time periods.
In the 1970's, "The Bob Newhart" show has some interesting dialog about women's liberation. The main characters were Dr. Hartley and his wife Emily. The neighbor across the hall, of their apartment complex, was a kind airplane pilot. He visited the Hartleys frequently. You can see him just about to pull out a kitchen chair for Emily to sit, as was the custom of gentlemen. Then he hesitates, saying, he forgot about women's lib and apologizes to her. He also tries to open the door for her, but backs off with a laugh, saying he is still learning about women's liberation. He handled it with laughs and a sweet demeanor. But the message is clear. (When did manners go out of fashion?)
During this time, "All in the Family" had a specific episode in season 2 about women's lib. Archie and his wife Edith visit cousin Maude for her daughter, Carol's, wedding. It gets difficult and sad. The night before the wedding, Carol's fiance, David, tells her he just bought a house. She gets mad. He talks about how nice the house is and how big the kitchen is. She gets madder. She is divorced and has a child and wants to be "free" and decides getting married to David would be a big mistake. She wanted to keep her job and continue her life as it was. He was shocked and hurt. The wedding was called off. She was thrilled and toasted to freedom and women's liberation. (What is wrong with being a housewife and mother at home? Why the anger and hostility?)
On the other hand, in 1951, a movie starring Clifton Webb, called "Elopement" clearly showed the traditional attitude of the value of being a housewife. The daughter in this movie was a brilliant student who had a scholarship to an engineer school overseas. She was a talented designer and inventor who just graduated high school. She was to leave the next day, heading off to college. Her plans were changed suddenly when she was asked to be the wife of one of the teachers. They went off to elope that evening. Her family was shocked but her father explained that she wasn't throwing away her future by giving up college and getting married. He said she would use all her talents in the home as an incredible wife and mother. All was well. Everyone was happy.
It used to be common that schools had a Home Economics curriculum offered to students. Most girls took these courses, and learned many skills including: Child care, Nutrition, Decorating, Cooking, and Sewing. These programs helped train young girls to be talented and valuable wives and mothers at home. Today, sadly, very few girls choose to take these types of classes anymore. It has gotten so out of fashion that the name "Home Economics" has been changed to simply "Dressmaking and design" or "Culinary Arts." These are intended for girls who want these to be their working careers rather than for use in a home.
In these modern days, we do not need to accept the common ways of our culture, which says that being a housewife is a dying work. Despite television and movies depicting dual career couples as normal living, there are still many who are traditional housewives and many who want to be housewives.
A woman at home, one who loves her job as a homemaker, is a joy to be around. She has all the time in the world to patiently care for her family. She manages the kitchen, the housework, and the family with love and skill. She cares for her husband and children like a precious, talented hostess. She is an asset to home life.
To be a traditional housewife in a godly home is one of the greatest jobs available to women. It is something to strive for. It is the ideal life in a world that is out of control. To uphold the image of virtue, morals, dignity, manners, and selfless service, is the work of Christian homemakers. If every home had a housewife, how very fortunate husbands and children would be.
From the Archives -
The greatest work of Mothers - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.
Remembering my childhood home - Memories of Ironing and Other Chores.
Here is the truth - Why the High Cost of Food?
Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.