Friday, July 22, 2011

Blue Collar - Working Class - Housewife


Library of Congress: Provincetown, Massachusetts Family, 1942


Sometimes I feel like a pampered housewife, who has it made.  I don't have to earn money. I don't have to financially support my family. But I do have to work very hard at home.

In the old days, homemaking was more time consuming. Wash day was an enormous undertaking. Baking and Cooking, before processed foods were available, took the majority of mother's time.

Wealthier women could hire a cook, a maid and even a nanny to help with the children. These women were the pampered ones - they were the wealthy class.  They did not have to work at all.

There is a middle ground - the white collar working class. I cannot speak for them, but I know they are well educated, work in specialized jobs - law, medicine, etc, and often hire help for some of the work at home.

As for the old fashioned, blue collar housewives, we are still here.  There may not be as much heavy labor for us, but there is still so much to do! We must constantly economize, run errands, cook, clean, bake and care for our children. It is a struggle to come up with extra money for treats or presents. We have this healthy glow in our cheeks which comes from heavy labor.

Yesterday, I was reading  "Mama's Bank Account,"  by Kathryn Forbes. I love reading about life in the 1920's for the working class! This Immigrant Mama had such wisdom:

- Whenever she was relieved after a trial, or worry, she would say, "Is Good." This comforted her family and herself.

- "A mop is never good. Floors should be scrubbed with a brush." [I loved this one!]

- I also loved how she would take the weekly income, sit at the table surrounded by her family, and carefully put coins in stacks for things like "The landlord," and "For the Grocer."

She was such a hardworking mother. She was a working class mother. These mothers have helped build this country with their own hands.

We mothers are still the foundation of society. Even though money is scarce, and we are often tempted to leave home to earn an income, our work at home . . . our influence at home,  is essential.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Let us not be the last witness of an era



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For old time encouragement in living simply on a limited income, order Mrs. White's book:

"An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife"

This slim, 77 page, paperback book is available for sale through Amazon.





Anonymous said...

Oh, I LOVED that post! It is so true! Thanks for posting it and the info on the book. Sounds like a good one!

Matthew 6:33

Claire said...

What a lovely post! As one who hopes to be a mother and housewife in a few years, this totally spoke to me.


Tamara said...

That was wonderful! You post are always an inspiration for me that I'm in the rightplace, home. :)

Nancy said...

I read this book many years ago as a teenager and it is fabulous. I won't give anything away in case you haven't finished it, but Mama has a very thrifty and reassuring secret concerning her bank account.

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Dolores said...

I loved the post and I ordered the book.

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Wow, I never saw myself as a blue-collar, working-class housewife, but that describes me perfectly. Though we hired sitters on occasion or grabbed one of my four younger sisters (very rarely), the children actually helped the most around the house under my direction. And, that is as it should be for a blue-collar, working-class housewife. I love it! :)

Mrs. V. said...

So often in life, those of us who are the blue collar housewives are made to feel as if we are somehow less than others. It is so nice and refreshing to come here and read your words. It makes me feel that there is someone else who "gets" it and understands!

Gina said...

I LOVE the movie, "I Remember Mama" with Irene Dunn!! When I read your post, I can hear her voice saying, "For the grocer". If you haven't seen the movie, please do! I really enjoy your blog.