Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We All Could Do With Less

In one of my previous posts I mentioned the story in a 1930s Dutch Catholic magazine about a tailor whose fiancee ditched him because he refused to dress decently. The met again later in life and got married. By this time, the lady was 45 years old. In a modern society, she would have some glamorous office career or at least a job selling stuff in some department store, yet in the magazine, she was just content to stay home and do housekeeping for her father.

You'd think that the father was a wealthy upper class (or at least UMC) sort of guy, but he was just a hairdresser (even though he always wore a suit to work) who, btw, kept working right into his eighties. This story made me pause and think. Of course, unmarried women often used to work, even in the "good old times", however, it wasn't seen as an ideal situation, but rather as an unfortunate necessity. Those who didn't have to often stayed home as seen in the example above. How could they afford it?

The story doesn't give much background information about this woman, apart from the fact that she was content to stay home and go to the same church every Sunday. Most probably she didn't go on expensive vacations even though 1930s ladies' magazines are full of advertisements. It also wasn't fashionable for women in those times to go out every Friday and Saturday night and get drunk in a bar.

She probably cooked all her meals from scratch, made at least some of her own clothes and had embroidery for hobby. In those times, people were generally content with little and unless they belonged to the very wealthy, their life was rather simple and centered around home, quite unlike now. Nowadays, home is generally considered boring and you are supposed to spend as little time in it as possible.

Some women do have fulfilling careers, they get to travel or become internationally famous or some such thing, yet most of them spend their days changing diapers in a daycare, cleaning old people's homes, trying to teach a bunch of kids ABC, or sitting behind the cash register. These jobs may be necessary and I don't want to denigrate those doing them (though if more mothers stayed home we wouldn't need daycares and most shops sell tons of unnecessary trinkets made by third world people working for 2 cents per hour), but they are hardly glamorous, intellectually challenging or even very interesting. So why are they seen as superior to home life?

While I don't believe in various conspiracy theories it's difficult not to notice that there is a whole propaganda campaign behind increased female work participation, and on the international level, too. For instance, Israel has been recently criticised for failing to push more women into workforce.
Apparently, it would help them with their inequality problem. Yet the USA has also a great gap between the rich and the poor, and something like 80% of all women work there.

MSM contributes to the problem. Home life is universally presented as boring and housework as disgusting (I'm not exaggerating as recently I was reading a book which mentioned "various disgusting housekeeping tasks"). It's OK for the husband to do it though, after he works full shift. The question is, if housework is really so disgusting why not outsourcing it? Or is the purpose to further humiliate the unfortunate modern husband who is already the butt of all jokes? It's hardly susprising that so many marriages fall apart.

Our society promotes soulless consumerism above family. The good news is that we don't have to participate. And we all could do with less.


  1. Housewife from FinlandMay 26, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    Once again, I totally agree with you. If one's work is something interesting, maybe a real passion, of course she rather works than stays a home. But if one does something she doesn't really enjoy that much, like bookkeeping...

    Well, of course working brings other benefits, too. Social circles, that is very important to many. And social status. That is the only thing I miss in working life: since I am childfree, I have absolutely no social status here. "little me" has to be enough. Then again, social status shouldn't be the basis of the value we give ourselves. My work status used to be far too important to me, since I was single so long time, there was like nothing else to define me. Since I am wife now I feel that I have some sort of title -and a valuable one. (I would be stoned if I told someone here how important it is to me to be a WIFE.)

    I agree we could all do with less. People for example didn't have that many clothes. Of course their cleanliness standards were lower than ours when it comes to clothes. And materials were different, if you have good woolen skirt it doesn't need to be washed that often. And all my old housekeeping books are full of advices how to patch clothes and how to make toddler's "jumpsuit" from mothers old skirt and such.

    What you wrote was really cood reminder for me. I have been buying far too many new clothes lately, since I have been trying to find something more feminine. I KNOW I have enough clothes for summer but I still feel that maybe I would feel more safe if I bouth this and that... I have no idea why this is safety issue for me... :rolleyes:

    I should propably change my nickname to mrs. Offtopic... ;)

  2. Housewife, even in the times past most women who had some talent were free to use it. We had female opera singers, actresses, ballet dancers, women who wrote books etc. In the Catholic countries a woman could join a convent and develop her talents (if she had them) as much as she wished too. Nuns organised schools and hospitals. There is a WWII comedy I wrote about last year (the name escapes me at the moment) which shows a hospital run by nuns in France with one of them as a doctor, and believe me, she was authoritative enough.

    Most women, however, were perfectly happy to get married at a certain point in their lives and they were wise enough to understand that being a wife, mother and homemaker was a career choice, too. IMO, most women will thrive more in the peace and quiet of their own homes that in the bustle of the modern working place, yet they are taught from their childhood that peace and quiet are something to be avoided at all costs.

    As for social circles, presumably, there is still family and friends or you could always join a gym or some club. Also, being well-dressed is important for a woman, or should be:)

  3. If you take a look at all of the occupations and careers in this world; they all have boring and difficult aspects to them. The grass is always greener on the other side. To be able to stay home and make your home inviting for your family and others, to be able to volunteer and help those who need it - why would anyone want to work outside of the home? Not me!

  4. Oh so Israel and the US are behind because they fail to adequately redistribute the wealth (ie., socialism). More women in the workforce helps even things out so more women in the workforce = more socialism. Oh I totally get it now! But more women in the workforce also = more broken families and thus = more poverty anyways.

    But, as long as we are all equally poor (gotta love socialism!) then it's ok...

  5. Radical, apparently "economical development" means socialism nowadays:)

    Marietta, I'd say that what gets me is not that some women work (some always did) but this whole denigrating attitude towards normal domestic activities and the idea that a woman can only be happy if she spends her time "hanging around" somewhere. There are some women who don't work who are never home and hardly do any housework, either. I'm not saying we should lock ourselves up and become hermits but a homemaker is supposed to spend at least some time at home, isn't she?:) And girls are taught at school that home and domesticity are for grannies and should be avoided at all costs.

  6. The Scriptures, btw, have some things to say about women "whose feet abide not in their houses", and not at all pleasant.

  7. Housewife from FinlandMay 27, 2015 at 4:25 AM

    I just read that 30-years old finns have 20 % less sex than they used to have at year 1990, and they enjoy it less. Because they are so very busy. So the reseacher suggested that maybe we should have "orgasm schools" for young women that they learned to enjoy sex more!

    Because, of course, it is unpossible to be less busy and live more tranquil life that would actually allow you to take care of your relationship...

    It is amazing that life could be so good nowadays since we have so much everything that makes life easier, we are healthier etc. And yet people choose to have miserable lives and miserable sex life because they just have to be so busy.

    I am quite sure that if men thought about this, they would want their wifes become housewifes immediately.

    I hope you don't mind me bringing up this subject. Feel free to delete this comment if you do. :)

  8. "Orgasm schools"? Sounds like this brilliant Swedish mind which suggested showing p0rn on the TV to encourage couples to have kids:)

  9. Housewife from FinlandMay 27, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Well that really makes sense...

    Researcher seemed to think that women are not liberated ENOUGH and that is the whole problem.

    I really wish that I had born maybe 50 years earlier. And if I hear words "patriarchy" or "heteronormative" one more time, I will need my sal volatile.

  10. Well, here they are trying to push feminism as well, but rather half-hearted. The only thing which really winds people up is immigration.

  11. I just read the other day a comment from a women that said the percentage of women who worked outside the home in years back. It was very high percentage that she quoted.. I forget the number. I wonder if that included women who worked till they married only? Or worked only a short time while married? When growing up I know only a few wives who worked outside of their homes. A lady on the block did hair in her shop that was part of her home. Another worked doing book work for the school system a few days a week. There were women like Mother who volunteered working on bazaars or cleaning and such at church but only when needed. That your husband was the provider was standard. You helped him by doing you best at home. Oh how I see the rile when anyone mentions subservient behavior!!
    You would think they were worried it was slavery. It is not!! Women think nothing of being subservient to their male bosses at work. Someone has to be a leader and someone the one under them. It does not mean you are under their rule. You are included in thoughts and discussions but someone has to be the one who leads...and Thus Is Responsible for the Results of That Decision. Do you want that total responsibility? Sorry, I don't know why I got onto this subject but hard nosed feminist thoughts get me riled up !! I can see where the thought of "you can do it all" was made so promenade and made some women think maybe they could get out and work and maybe even help the husband with his work load of earning all the money alone for the family. Some are entering the time when the children were almost or all grown and this would fill in some of the "empty nest" hours. Although my grandmothers said they never felt the wish to look for jobs. They just worked with the money they are provided with and worked within it's perimeters to take care of the needs of the home. Oh how I wish more of them were around to say how things really were. Not some feminist shouting how they were mistreated by the males in their why not get out there and claim their own lives!! Bah Humbug. Now that we are told and many believe that we need so many things in our lives someone has to go out and buy them. Yet how much can one use? How many things do we have we already have about the same thing of ? How much clothes can one wear within a year and so on. I am guilty of this too. I do feel liberated already ..thank you. I am liberated from the hustle bustle of the grunt work of working outside of my home 9-5. Free to work at the jobs I know my family and I need done. Free to enjoy my days and make my world a better place. for this I am truly blessed. Sarah

    1. Sarah,

      Here is one of my posts on the subject.

      Hope you don't mind the link Sanne! :)

    2. I have no idea why it posted my words so spaced out like that...

    3. It´s OK! (the link, I mean'

  12. Sarah, those who say that a high percentage of married women in the past worked, are either ignorant or lying. Luckily, we have government statistics from as far as 1890. In that year only 2.2% of (white) married women worked:

    European men used to have a strong provider's ethics, but now no more.

  13. A different story - guess who I saw today? King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima. They were 5 minutes from my house. He gave us a wonderful smile and wave!