Pages

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The good old days!


Throughout my working life, from the mid sixties to the beginning of the 21st Century, I wished I had a second spouse, sometimes a third one.

No, I don't mean we should have more than one spouse at a time. I actually mean that one spouse is not expected to be everything and everyone to meet our needs. Yet, for women my age, it was a definite expectation.

Of course, I thought,  a wife cooks, cleans, drives children to appointments, picks up groceries and dry cleaning, pays the bills, and entertains the husband's  boss.

Women my age began to have careers, but didn't change their expectations on how to run a household. At the end of the day, we collapsed in front of television and fell asleep. Oh yes, we told ourselves, we can do this! We only had to learn to be more organized, and better time managers.  We began to shop in the frozen food department for quick meals; we picked up wash-and-wear-shirts for ease of ironing, and we gave up polishing the floors in high heels. (There is a famous set of commercials showing housewives mopping in high heels!)

Our husbands were clueless!

No wonder many of us divorced!

I'm glad to see that our children have a realistic view of marriage.
Perhaps their lives will be more satisfying.


22 comments:

The Broad said...

I'm with you all the way on this!;-) As a consequence, I am firmly against multi-tasking: it's a sure way to slavery, resentment and possible insanity. Unfortunately, the world would probably end if everyone had my attitude and stuck to it!

Rubye Jack said...

I was always a contrary one. Even though my first marriage was in 1967, I never did do the housewife stuff. It didn't make any sense to me and also I had an understanding husband who was amendable to splitting work. I think the late 60's were times when things begin to change though. Thank goodness for me.

Brian Miller said...

it def is a time of transition or was though i think it still isin many ways...still figuring out how to make it work...otherwise the divorce rate ould still not be going up...hopefully we can be open on those expectations early in the relationship thought...

Retired English Teacher said...

I often said I needed a wife. I couldn't agree with what you have said here more. I'm a bit jaded about the new arrangements working any better. I see it working with my youngest son, but I don't see husbands taking much responsibility for household duties often.

Maggie May said...

Not sure that the good old days were the best.... but problems today are caused by having too much to do and getting burned out. Divorce is so much easier to get when things go wrong.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Eva Gallant said...

So true! I look at my sons' marriages and both of them are very hands on with helping their wives. Both of them do most of the cooking, help with the kids and house-cleaning.

yaya said...

I think it's a mix these days. I was brought up by a Mom who worked full time but still did the Mom things and I followed suit only my Hubby took a chunk of things off my "to do" list. We worked out a compromise. He did laundry and always got the kiddos off for school since my work schedule started early. I do the mowing because I like it..he still does the laundry because I don't like to do it! Give and take...

Rob-bear said...

I'm with yaya. The longer times goes on, the more I seem to be doing. Which is just fine. My wife cooks; I do a bit of cooking and the cleaning up. Etc.

I've read a lot about double occupations for working women — outside and inside the home. But the rules have changed. Though some of us are a bit slow on the uptake.

Good for you, Rosaria. But I don't think you need three husbands. Just add a bit of training to the one you have.

Elisabeth said...

Women of a particular generation hold these expectations, Rosaria. I'm glad they are changing, at least for some of us, but sadly still not for some.

As for those expectations they can be so crippling. It took me till the seventies to realise I did not need to iron shirts for anyone.

#1Nana said...

I never wanted another husband, but a wife to do the shopping, cleaning and child shuttling would have been helpful. I agree that our children are handling the responsibilities more equitably. This week my daughter is in Europe for work and her husband is home with the kids....and she didn't fill the freezer with home cooked meals before she left!

Vera said...

Absolutely agree with you about us of a certain age thinking we have to do it all. I also have had the thinking that I need a wife myself rather than having another husband. But I think one of my downfalls is that I do not delegate. I am sure that my husband would do more if I asked him to, but then I would feel like I was nagging him! Interesting post, and made me think.

Shannon Lawrence said...

You, and women like you, pioneered so much for women of today. It's a good reminder when we're feeling overwhelmed now, that we have it easy in comparison, and that we have countless women to thank for that.

I was still brought up with the attitude that I was in charge of the house and the kids, and that I was expected to work, as well, that I could do it all. I'm very lucky to have a husband who insists on helping with everything and doing his share. Many still don't have that, including so many of my friends. It's still a work in progress, but it comes down to mind sets that are passed down to each new generation. It's getting better.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

oceangirl said...

Being a wife, a mother, a worker is being multi-tasking but I think it can be satisfying and fulfilling.

Cheryl Cato said...

I don't have children, but if I did I hope they would be in a real partnership with their spouse. Things were so one-sided in our early days. I hope much more sharing of responsibilities is going on now. Of course now that I'm retired I still do a lot of the stuff I always did, but at least now I enjoy it!

Sightings said...

You see, despite the fact that the world is going to hell in a handbasket ... some things are getting better!

rosaria said...

I do have to add this:

We practiced birth control because for the first time, we had the power over our reproductive systems.

Just another step toward the evolution of women.

Linda Myers said...

In both my marriages my husbands helped. My first husband came home from work at 4:30 and had the two kids until their bedtime. He liked that.

My second husband does all the grocery shopping and cooking, plus the usual "man jobs" around the house.

I lucked out, I guess. My first marriage happened in 1970 and my second in 1997.

cheshire wife said...

I think that women have always drawn the shorter straw. When I was younger I did not mind trying to do everything but I do now.

Amanda said...

i've recently been thinking about this 'one woman fits all' concept. you're right, rosaria - why would anyone think we remained the same throughout early years of marriage, then child rearing, then reaching the point where you ask (as your blog title reads) what now? what next? not one of us remains the same person throughout life - too bad the institution of marriage still seems to expect it. my guess is that the high divorce rate means this institution is in for a revamping.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, we had to be perfect at everything, didn't we? I think people are more realistic now. Love from Sicily.

NitWit1 said...

When I married, my husband was in the military which dictated to a large degree what a wife did.BUt when he retired he helped some, eespecially outside. We both worked and had no children.

I have had illnesses through out our marriage and he has been most helpful. Today in our old age we are able to hire some help for both inside and outside help.

Helen said...

I married in 1960 with way too many expectations ~~ WAY too young. Twenty two years later + four children we were divorced. Our children were impacted in ways I couldn't have envisioned. I would do things differently today.