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1950s Homemaker Secrets-How You Can Apply Principles from The Good Wife in Your Household Today

Philosophical writer and YouTube creator covering the topics of simplicity, homemaking, and the romantic vintage lifestyle.

1950s Homemaker preparing dinner in kitchen

1950s Homemaker preparing dinner in kitchen

Article by Rain San Martin

Surprising Tips From "The Good Wife" May Sound Funny and Old Fashioned, Yet Offers Good Advice

Blogs such as Comin Home and Christian Homekeeping illustrate how the principles taught in the 1950s "inspired" text of The Good Wife Guide, can be used today. Though the message is controversial, a household with such a homemaker will bring peace and order into her home and relieve the unnecessary burdens on her husband as well as herself. We are equal in worth and intelligence to men, yet our unique God given roles are our strength. When you treat your husband like a King you will feel cherished, appreciated, and create at atmosphere of tranquility.

Have Dinner Ready When He Comes Home

"HAVE DINNER READY: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal--on time. This is a way to let him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned with his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home, and having a good meal ready is part of the warm welcome that is needed."

He will know that you have worked hard when a meal prepared with love is ready when he arrives home. You can keep the meal warming in a pan on the stove or in a baking dish in the oven.

Disposable and Ready-Made Meals Introduced in the 1950s, Had Unintended Consequences

In the 1950s frozen dinners were introduced as well as disposable items such as plastic wrap. Though they may have appeared to be a miracle to the homemaker, making a new habit out of buying disposable or ready made convenience foods would gradually contribute to the rise in the cost of living. Better to invest in items like stainless steel lunch containers.

Prepare Yourself

"Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you will be refreshed when he arrives. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people....Greet him with a smile."

One of the modern habits of today's homemaker (or stay at home mom as popularly termed) is to dress extraordinarily casual at home. The tradition shifted from wearing an immaculate garment in the 1950s to casual slacks in the 1980s, then "mom jeans" in the in the 1990s, sweats in the early 2000s, to today's slothful pajama pants. Many of these women wear them while walking their kids to school or even to the grocery store! To look immaculate is unreasonable for the homemaker, yet we should take great care to put together a pleasing outfit. Ask yourself if I were to run into and old friend would I look presentable? At the very least put forth the same efforts toward your husband, who's eye's should only be for you, as you would running into someone else you consider important.

Men are visual and respond well to a groomed appearance. If you wear makeup then touch up your lipstick, concealer and blush. If you are more natural, splash your face and reapply moisturizer. Brush your teeth to freshen your breath, floss, and have a joyful attitude.

1950s home plan concept

1950s home plan concept

Becoming a Homemaker, Stay at Home Mom or Stay at Home Wife

Clear Away the Clutter

"Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up children's books and toys, papers, etc. 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 lift too."

Perhaps in the morning as your husband left for the day your home was in nice condition. Yet as you have done projects, such as wrapping a gift, paying the bills, or preparing dinner the home has gotten in disarray. Pick up these last minute messes, as though a new guest were to come into your home. Get inspired and make your home feel like a Bed and Breakfast.

Modern Women Who Live in the 1950s, 1940s, and 1930s

Prepare the Children

"If they are small, wash their hands and faces and comb their hair. They are his little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part."

Many children go throughout the day with messy faces, due to a cold or perhaps because they have recently eaten. A simple remedy is to wash their hands and face after each meal. Make sure to take the time to dress your toddlers out of their sleepwear and put on a clean shirt each day. Often a shirt can be worn several days before it needs to be washed, however if you observe food or dirt stains toss into the laundry.

Some "Do Nots"

"Don't greet him with problems and complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as a minor problem compared to what he might have gone through that day."

The key here is greet. After an hour it may be relevant to ask about the situation. If he's just a few minutes late, this is obviously not an issue. Marriages are built on the foundation of trust and clear communication must take place.

1950s home plan

1950s home plan

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Minimize All Noise

"At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise from the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet."

This may not be an obvious tip, yet the wisdom of making the home seem peaceful at your husbands arrival is demonstrated here.

Make Him Comfortable

"Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down in the bedroom. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing voice. Allow him to relax and unwind."

Have an attitude of pleasant hospitality and you will naturally achieve this goal.

The Social Impact on Women Due to Household Appliances in the 1950s

The article Electricity and the Housewife sheds light to the reality that housekeeping standards were set to new unrealistically high standards due to appliances. When the standard of home cleanliness and an immaculate appearance were expected, one can see part of the reasons behind the 1960s women's movement. Yet the baby need not be thrown out with the bathwater. A homemaker should not focus on perfection, all housekeeping and domestic duties will bless the homes inhabitants.

"The introduction of electric appliances in the home sometimes had unexpected results. Electric clothes washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances could make housework more efficient, but they also raised the minimum standard of household cleanliness. Women who had previously cleaned carpets once every season were now expected to keep them spotlessly clean all the time with vacuum cleaners. Ironically, the overall result of laborsaving electrical appliances was often more work for women."

Listen to Him

"You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first."

When you learn the patterns of your husband, communication and peace becomes a far more achievable goal. Simply having a cheerful attitude, in quiet when your husband first wakes in the morning, to when he arrives from work are disciplines to behold. Later that evening or perhaps on a better day of the week ask for a time to discuss concerns. If you need to inform him about appointments, bills, or other domestic issues send him an email or write a brief note. Date nights or weekly quality sharing time will allow for your relationship to grow on a deeper level, request these times for him to truly listen, and converse with you.

Make the Evening His

"Never complain if he doesn't take you to dinner or to other entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to unwind and relax."

It's simple to serve your husband when you truly view your job as a career homemaker. Observe the hospitality of a hostess in a restaurant or how a concierge serves with vigor. Receive inspiration from their work.

The Goal


Throughout the day remind your self of this goal, as it will shape your attitude and actions. You won't just be doing this for him, you will receive a rewarding haven for you and your whole family to enjoy.

© 2013 Rain San Martin


Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on May 21, 2014:

These 1950's secret's can give us an entertaining laugh while providing inspiration at the same time.

Preston and Kate from the Midwest on May 21, 2014:

Enjoyed this read. I fall way short of this article, but as a stay at home mom, this is something great to strive for! -Kate

Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on December 18, 2013:

Glad you enjoyed it! Families ended up trading in those "conveniences" for two full-time incomes.

Heather on December 17, 2013:

I am fasinated to learn more about how modern technology effects the home life and house work. Time to get the house ready for my husband!

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