A typical day of a 1940’s housewife
The 1940’s was great era for fashion and glamour, and during the war – it seemed to herald a new age for women’s freedom, but from 1946 – women who were starting out as a housewife for the first time, discovered that there was a strict gender biased code which dictated that the model wife was expected to effortlessly fill the roles of glamorous mum, cook, laundress, cleaner, dishwasher, nurse and finally hostess.
Effectively – women were demoted from home manager to laborer . This nightmarish ‘Pleasantville – Stepford wife scenario was to remain well into the 1960’s.
6.00- Nurse baby
6.45- Fix breakfast for herself and John
7.15- John and Marjorie enjoy time alone before wakening kids
|A typical 1940s breakfast – Life|
7.45- Breakfast for all
8.00- Husband John to work
– wash dishes -clean downstairs-call grocers
9.00- Bathe baby – make beds – clean upstairs
|Making the beds -1946-Life|
10.30- Nurse baby
11.00- Fix lunch
11.30- Lunch for Shaun and Rusty
12.00- John home – Lunch
|1940’s Lunch at home -image-Life|
1.00 – John back to work – naps for the boys – wash dishes – nap for Marjorie
2.30 – Nurse baby
2.45 – Clean living room
|Housechores -1940’s -Life|
5.00- Fruit juice for baby – fix supper
5.30- Supper for Shawn, Rusty
6.00- John home – baths for Shawn and Rusty.
6.30- Shawn and Rusty in bed
7.00- Dress for dinner – yep – you dressed before cooking the meal.
7.15- Cocktail with John
7.30- Fix dinner
8.00- Dinner with John
9.00- Wash dishes
10.30- Nurse baby
10.45- Personal bath – luxury !
And just to put it all in perspective – here’s an amazing picture – again courtesy of the fabulous Life archive.
Housewife Marjorie McWeeney stands amongst a symbolic display of a full week’s housework for a typical 1940’s housewife. Labour includes 35 beds to be made, 750 items of glass & china, 400 pieces of silverware to wash, 174 lbs. of food to prepare, and 250 pieces of laundry.
It’s a wonder she has time to put on her makeup.
Images courtesy of Life Magazine
You can download beautiful original vintage 1940’s make-up and beauty guides now.