Our modern day 1950’s household seats the husband as Head of Household (HoH), and after follows the wife, and children. The 1950’s roles in the household will also dictate interaction with others, like extended family, and friends. It is a real functioning household, working out of brick and mortar walls, happening on a full time basis.
The 1950’s are sometimes referred to as the “last age of innocence”, and this is what we are reminiscing on. It was the decade following the end of World War II, and was a decade of abundance after rationing. In terms of family structure, as it applies to our 1950’s household:
-Husband works and provides most, if not all, of the income.
-Wife maintains the children and the home.
-The two parent home is important. A father and mother each provide an important part of the children’s upbringing, and they do so as a team.
-Children are to be brought up to be smart, respectful and productive members of society. They have homework, and chores, and family responsibilities. They are to address adults by Mr. and Mrs., or sir and ma’am, and treat others with respect. TV/technology is at a minimum. Fresh air and a bicycle is a substitute for video games in our household.
-Food is made in the home, and eating out is a special occasion. It is the wife’s responsibility to budget affordable, nutritious meals, and the family dines together at every possible opportunity.
-The wife is to see the HoH as the main decision maker. Part of her job as a housewife is to make the husband’s life as plush and comfortable as possible when he is home. This would include making herself and the children proper before he arrives home, making the home a clean and tidy one, and putting his needs before hers.
The MODERN 1950’s Household
It’s 64 years since 1950. More than half a century has passed. And while the decade has plenty to learn from and admire (think Elvis and Marilyn, women everywhere in beautiful colored dresses instead of sweatshirts and jeans, American made muscle cars and kids playing in the street until street lamps came on with no fear of abduction) there are some things we’ve learned over the past six decades. Our “modern day” 1950’s household knows:
-A brainless, spineless, cake-toting, apron-wearing Stepford Wife isn’t sexy, or practical. The modern housewife should be a smart, sleek counterpart to her partner. Not only can we cook a killer meal on a dime, but we can be a positive influence on our husband. The day of be seen but not heard are gone.
-Segregation and racism are disgusting. No person is any better than another based on race. 1955 was the year of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. was coming on the scene. We all need to work together and continue to end racism worldwide.
-Feminism, and specifically the women’s liberation movement of the late 60’s, is something to be celebrated. Women are, and should be, an equal gender. I am grateful that both i have a right to live this lifestyle, and that other women have the same right to live another way.
-Families come in all shapes and sizes now, and that’s a good thing. Some families are headed by grandparents, some by a single parent, some women have powerful careers and their spouse stays home, some have two dads, some have two moms and a dad. Et cetera. How boring would life be if not? As long as a household is full of happiness and love, it’s considered good in my book. Our house is one way, not the RIGHT way, and we are raising our children to see the beauty in difference, in embracing diversity.
Our 1950’s household is structured as a corporate hierarchy, in part because so much of the household roles hinge on financial contribution.
-Husband/Head of Household acts as the CEO. As CEO, responsibilities include directing, decision making, and leading. It is the sole responsibility of the CEO to maintain the flow of income into the “company”, including the future financial health of the entire household.
-Wife acts as a manager, reporting directly to the CEO. The CEO has outlined expectations of day to day operations, including (but not exclusively) managing employees (the children) and the base of operations (the home), as well as keeping costs to a minimum, and a happy working environment for all in the household.
-Children would be employees. They have jobs to do (school, chores, extracurricular activities) and are expected to fulfill those jobs to the best of their capability. They are managed by the manager (mother) a majority of the time; serious enough problems are discussed between both parents.
-Everybody in the hierarchy has, and knows, their function. Concerns or problems are discussed amongst the CEO and manager, away from employees, in a boardroom type setting, with the ultimate decision resting on the Head of Household.
So frequently people who are unaware of the functioning of the modern 1950’s household bristle at the fact that not only do I not work outside the home, I cannot do so unless expressly permitted by my husband. My hopes is that explaining this hierarchy shows why it is so: I already have a job, my boss is my husband, and any time committed outside of my job as a homemaker is time away from the job I have.
The modern day 1950’s household works to combine traditional morals and attitudes with contemporary perspective.
We hope to raise a family that prides ourself on our goodness instead of our goods, that rewards with presence instead of presents, that would always do what is right over what is easy, that believes honesty is more important than always being right. Family always comes first, but that isn’t a free pass. Our children may not get a trophy for participation, but they will always have a parent available to help with homework or lend an ear.
As a wife I will do my best to well represent and serve my husband. My husband will work fingers to the bone to see his family well supported, and still come home at the end of the day with the energy to be a father figure, loving husband, and committed Master.
Our household is filled with the smells of baked bread, the sounds of laughter, the security of decades past, and the wisdom to change what wasn’t working. We ARE the modern American dream, in that we are each being perfectly us, happily sympatico under one roof, lifted, forever, with love.
If interested in learning more about the 1950’s M/s home, check out Mrs. Darling’s in-depth description in Paradigms of Power, available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/raven-kaldera/paradigms-of-power-styles-of-masterslave-relationships/paperback/product-21751803.html