Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to be the Perfect Wife in 1965 and in 2010

This was taken from Helen B. Andelin's Fascinating Womanhood, published by Pacific Press in 1965. The course was designed to teach women how to be happy in marriage. It is still a good guide, but I tweeked it for the women of 2010.

GET YOUR WORK DONE

(1965) plan your tasks with an eye on the clock. Finish or interrupt them an hour before he is expected. Your anguished cry, "Are you home already?" is not exactly a warm welcome.

(2010) when you are home don’t bring your work with you, try and schedule your working time while he’s at work.

HAVE DINNER READY
(1965) 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.

(2010) keep a grocery list and goes grocery shopping with your husband if he enjoys cooking with you. Plan ahead and perhaps make Friday nights where he helps you in the kitchen, it’s a nice way to make something together.

PREPARE YOURSELF
(1965) take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. This will also make you happy to see him instead of too tired to care. Turn off the worry and be glad to be alive and grateful for the man who is going to walk in. While you are resting you can be thinking about your Fascinating Womanhood assignment and all you can do to make him happy and give his spirits a lift. When you arise, take care of your appearance. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

(2010) before you get home, or your husband gets home call a friend to unwind and discuss how your day was. Your girlfriends and mother are interested in all the details, where he isn’t, that way when he comes home you feel resolved and can smile with ease.

CLEAR AWAY THE CLUTTER
(1965) make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. in a bucket or wastebasket and put them in the back bedroom for sorting later. 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. Having the house in order is another way of letting him knows that you care and have planned for this homecoming.

(2010) With such busy lifestyles today enlist a chore chart and get into a weekly routine, try and get the children involved and when your husband helps out, or does a chore always recognize his help, and show appreciation.

PREPARE THE CHILDREN
(1965) take just 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 look the part.

(2010) Make sure your children are calm and have all their homework done and out of the way.

MINIMIZE ALL NOISE
(1965) especially give heed to this if your husband has to join rush hour traffic. At the time of his arrival eliminate noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet at the time of their father's arrival. Let them be a little noisy beforehand to get it out of their system.

(2010) Load the washer or dryer the night before and turn on while running errands or going to work. After dinner, just before you go to bed, put the dishwasher on and you’ll never notice the noise.

BE HAPPY TO SEE HIM
(1965) greet him with a warm smile and act glad to see him. Tell him that it is good to have him home. This may make his day worthwhile. If there is any romance left in you, he needs it now.

(2010) when he comes home continue with what you’re doing, smile and say hello, but let him decompress for a little while first.

SOME DONT’S
(1965)
• Don't greet him with problems and complaints. Solve the problems you can before he gets home and save those you must discuss with him until later in the evening.
• Also, don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as a minor problem when compared with what he might have gone through that day.
• Don't allow the children to rush at him with problems or requests. Allow them to briefly greet their father but save demands for later.

(2010) having called your mother of girlfriend earlier in the day, you should’ve resolved and difficulties through chatting, laughing and crying. Do talk with your husband but try your best to remain positive and upbeat.

MAKE HIM COMFORTABLE
(1965) have him lean back into 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 massage his neck and shoulders and take off his shoes. Don't insist on this however. Turn on music if it is one of his pleasures. Speak in a soft, soothing, pleasant voice. Allow him to relax - to unwind.

(2010) now this is going overboard. Allow him to relax, but don’t cater to every whim, it’s thankless and may lead to future resentment, or worse case divorce.

LISTEN TO HIM
(1965) you may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first, and then he will be a more responsive listener later.

(2010) maybe ask him about his day differently every day, so it’s not routine, yet he still has a good listener.

Examples:
1. How were your colleagues at work today?
2. Did everyone like the strawberry cream puffs I made for you to take today?
3. What was the favorite part of your day?

Keep it positive and upbeat, usually if someone dislikes something they go over it again…and again, if they mention it frequently without finding a resolve try and cheer them up with positivity.

MAKE THE EVENING HIS
(1965) 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 to relax. If he is cross or irritable, never fight back. Again, try to understand his world of strain.

(2010)
1. If your home during the day or part time watch movies he dislikes alone…and when he’s home watch something either he or both of you enjoy.
2. Try and include the children in a family game night once a week that way he’ll get to spend quality time with them, besides the TV.
3. Maybe invite him to bed early, and give him a back massage

THE GOAL
(1965) try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. Then add to this the application of all the principles of Fascinating Womanhood and your husband will want to come home. He will rather be with you than with anyone else in the world and will spend whatever time he can possibly spare with you. Try living all of these rules for his homecoming and see what happens. This is the way to bring a man home to your side, not by pressure, persuasion or moral obligation.

(2010) the premise of this article is that despite the fast pace world outside our homes, make it a place where your husband enjoys. By keeping positive and upbeat thoughts, and conversations and encouraging your husband and children to do the same will prevent routine nights of disappointment and disagreement in front of a TV. Spend time together, play a game, work on a puzzle, create a family motto, and maybe have a game of truth or dare. Why not?

Or you may be thinking:

Monday, February 15, 2010

The art of laundry

The last two days I’ve been catching up on my Mount Kilimanjaro of laundry, once completed I feel as if I’ve walked up the mountain and consider a lifetime of disposable clothing, is that even an option? Well perhaps for celebrities, who wear their designer duds once, have it dry cleaned wear it another time, and donate it to charity.

Unfortunately for me though, I don’t have that luxury, and ever since my ex and I broke up, I’m back to doing my own laundry. Now I must say, all this negativity is because I use none other than a coin operated laundry center on site.

Firstly, I gather my laundry, then ensure I have enough quarters, I collect them in a piggy bank, and then I gather my laundry soap as well as the key to the laundry room.

Upon arrival, usually at an unusual hour, so that there is a machine free, I put my laundry in, and walk back…keeping an eye on the time.

Then upon my return I take more quarters, the dryer sheets and hope to remember my key. Back to keeping an eye on the time.

Once my laundry is done, the thought of folding it, uh, doesn’t occur until the following day. Ever the neat freak, but when it comes to laundry I let it be. But tonight, I watched Anthea Turner’s you tube video, from a series called ‘The Perfect Housewife’ and after doing so I promptly folded my laundry, see.
You will just adore her linen closet, everything is folded to perfection, and the t-shirt folding technique works, I know because I tried it, now go along, go climb that Mount Kilimanjaro.



Sunday, February 7, 2010

1940s Kitchens


I have always been fond of the 1940s and 1950s. I must be re-incarnated from that era as I love that women could be women, who could be there to make a beautiful breakfast spread for breakfast, be there when her children come home from school, be there child’s number one supporter at all their activities and games as well as devote their time to making their family top priority.

I do however enjoy modern conveniences and the fact that women can choose what they now want. But what if you choose to take the best parts of the decades, take the family togetherness, elegance, manners and a home that is well taken care of.

I came across the blog Retro Renovation. I love the gallery images that Pat has shared with us, so I posted a few from her site. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Passport fiasco

What an overwhelming week. Can you even believe we are already the first week through February, I can’t. Maybe I should look at the calendar page each day and remind myself that ‘yes’ I did experience each and every day. It just seems as if it goes faster and faster each week, and by the weekend I look back and wonder how I accomplished so much.

Okay, so earlier in the week my Mother reminded me I needed to re-new my passport. All well and fine, except for one thing. I didn’t have my own birth certificate. So, I asked both my parents to send any certified copies they may have. Hopefully, with both of them sending it I’m more likely to receive a copy before my passport expires. So simple tip, check your families passports often, and if you’ve moved out, don’t forget your own birth certificate.

Today I went on the Green PDX meet up group’s Z-haus tour. I went accompanied by Miss Liz, and afterwards we lunched at Mother’s. Then the rest of the afternoon I was in school, yes you read that right, school on a Saturday. Beside the point, I started selecting materials for my Urban Tea Lounge thesis project and completely tidied up my bulletin board and desk. How did you spend your weekend?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Inspirational: Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

I recently found this article written by Jane Fearnley- Whittingstall in the Daily Mail and couldn't wait to share;

"How to stay happily hitched: Married for 47 years, JANE FEARNLEY-WHITTINGSTALL shares her secrets"

Above: Robert and Jane celebrating their Wedding, 1962

There comes a time when you are ready to settle down. I was 22 when I reached it - young by today's standards, but I'd had a great time, travelled, partied, made good friends. I just hadn't met The One until I danced with Rob at a friend's party. He was 26, good-looking, charming, witty, with a glamorous career in advertising. He could even cook - though, I later discovered, I was not the only girl to dine at his bachelor flat on devilled kidneys (his one recipe).

Anyway I fell for him and by some miracle he fell for me. It took us nearly a year to get engaged and we were married three months later, a church wedding with the reception in my parents' garden.

Now, it's 47 years on and, like all marriages, it's sometimes been a bumpy ride. We have done our share of ranting (Rob) and sulking (me), but I can honestly say that, through the decades, life together has got better and better. Today, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, so a long and happy one is something to shout about. Hence my book, For Better For Worse - which I've intended to be a light-hearted survival guide, as well as a celebration of marriage.

By the time I had gathered stories and advice from couples of all ages, and read comments on marriage by authors as diverse as Charles Dickens and Groucho Marx, I was amazed at how much all married couples have in common - from the things we row about (from mothers-in-law to back-seat driving) to the things we appreciate in our partners, such as the unexpected compliment.

The down side? Recurring arguments about money (the single biggest cause of split-ups).

One partner's necessity is the other's reckless extravagance. But for us, as for most couples, it's how you react to the trivia of everyday life, the petty irritations as well as the small pleasures, that determine whether a marriage is a success. In all marriages there are landmark times when marital harmony is particularly at risk.

Below, I have itemised four key 'danger zones', the rocks around which many a marital ship can founder.

DANGER ZONE 1: POST-HONEYMOON BLUES

Like most brides of my generation, I looked no further than the honeymoon. I never paused to consider what 'happily ever after' actually meant. Sooner or later, for all newly-weds, the romantic bubble bursts.

Being married is not the non-stop love fest you expected, and your partner seems to have morphed into a different person. It's not surprising if you wake in the night, thinking: 'Oh my God, have I made a hideous mistake?'

As she walks down the aisle, the last thing the bride is thinking about is having to retrieve her husband's towel from a pool of water on the bathroom floor on a daily basis.

Likewise, he isn't dreaming about cutting his chin with a blunt razor because she's just shaved her legs with it.

But, neither of them has made a hideous mistake. They are simply making the transition from the heightened, feverish emotions of being 'in love' to the long-term business of loving each other, warts and all.

To get over the shock of your partner's domestic habits, you need tolerance, along with an ability to see the funny side.

GOLDEN RULES

Give in gracefully about trivial things. Save your powder for the big issues.

Play to your strengths - if he's a brilliant cook, let him do it. If you are a whiz at DIY, put the shelves up.

Don't think you can 'marry the man today and change his ways tomorrow,' (as Adelaide sang in Guys And Dolls). Be warned, it doesn't work.


DANGER ZONE 2: BABY, IT'S HARD WORK

I became pregnant with Sophy eight months after we married, and Hugh arrived just 12 months later. The small age gap meant the nappy-changing, baby-food shoveling period was over relatively quickly but, nevertheless, I was a zombie mum for four years.

Even in the swinging Sixties, it was normal for wives to be stay-at-home-mums while their husbands went out to work. Today, mercifully, it's different, and most dads share childcare and chores.

Looking back, I can see that Rob was amazingly tolerant. Our marriage might never have survived if it hadn't been for family and friends.

First of all, my friend and neighbours got a group of mums together and organised a child-minding rota, so two afternoons a week were blissful free time. Second, my mother-in-law and my mother volunteered for childcare.

I'll never forget the first holiday without them. We stayed with friends in Greece, and sun, sea, good food, wine, adult conversation and sleep.

GOLDEN RULES

Most grandparents love to be used, so make friends with your mother-in-law. There's no need for husbands to feel excluded. Plan how to share childcare as well as household chores. Keep friendships in good repair. When you're stuck indoors with a couple of toddlers, a moan on the phone can stop you taking it out on your partner later.

DANGER ZONE 3: KEEPING THE FAITH

In answer to the question 'Should couples remain faithful to each other?' everyone I asked as research for my book - men and women - answered 'Yes'. I do, for now. The average British marriage lasts 24 years, with two in five ending in divorce They all felt their sex life was a precious part of their relationship, not to be shared with anyone else. 'If you're going to break your vows, what's the point in getting married?' said a friend.

But even in the happiest marriages, an urge for extramarital adventure occurs now and then. If you make it past the seven-year itch, it may hit again at 14 years and then after 21 years.

It's partly to do with wanting to prove you're still attractive, and partly boredom. The grass can look so much greener outside your marriage, especially in that meadow where your newly divorced friend is frolicking with her handsome, rich new lover.

Even if whole-hearted forgiveness is forthcoming, once trust is broken, it can take many years to restore it.

GOLDEN RULES

Be aware of the dangers and recognise the urge for what it is: a temporary itch, not to be scratched. If your partner strays, work through the problem together, with professional help if you feel you need it. If you know that a friend's husband or wife is cheating, never, ever tell them. It's none of your business.

DANGER ZONE 4: FRICTION OVER 50

Retirement can bring out hidden marital friction. After retirement, both partners are together day in, day out, seven days a week. Mannerisms formerly hardly noticed become unbearably irritating, and bickering replaces conversation. I have watched my grandparents and parents go through this. Most couples look forward to having time to do the things they never got around to. But it can turn out that, if one partner is happy and occupied, the other is at a loose end.

With this in mind, I dragged Rob to computer lessons. Now, though he is only semi-retired, he's glad he went. If you want to investigate your family's genealogy, check out Test cricket batting records or create a garden pond, the how-to is yours at the tap of a few keys.

GOLDEN RULES

If you miss the buzz of a work environment, return part-time to that world, perhaps in a voluntary job. If you always wanted to paint or learn Bridge, tap-dancing or yoga, do it now. Whatever new activity you choose, start it before inertia sets in.

Our path may have led Rob and I over rocky ground here and there, but we have reached the sunlit uplands. It is the laughter more than anything that has made it all worthwhile. Above all, we cherish our family, the product of our marriage and an essential part of it.

Above:Jane with her grandsons. "We cherish our family, the product of our marriage"

Isn't that a beautiful story? What have you done to keep your marriage strong?

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