Life of Liz

Stepford Wife … 1950’s

In 1950's wife of Today, Goals on November 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

I have the need to ramble  today, please bear with me … This post runs the gamut of 1950’s housewife, to spending limits to what the heck another reminder spanking and finally … recipes needed!?!

Vesta had a great post the other day (Internal Thoughts) where she wrote about not having a lot in common with other ladies who were chatting at the health club.  After reading her post, I started to envision what it would have been like to be a housewife in the 1950’s.  I wonder if I would have felt more accepted and settled if the idea that a woman should live for her husband and family was the dominate image of our time.  I mean, what if the 1950’s notion that women found fulfillment in domesticity was prevalent today?  If you do a quick Google search for “1950’s housewife” you are bombarded with television, radio, and magazines advertisements that assure women that the kitchen was their realm and that loving food preparation for their families was the way to fulfillment.  Were these women simply paid actresses or did many 1950’s mothers and wives actually did find fulfillment as housewives?  I found this unidentified quote …

“There were many unpleasant aspects of my life as a housewife, but I didn’t question my position. It was what women did. At least, so I thought. I did not have a brilliant husband, but he ruled our house nonetheless. That is what men did. He proclaimed it was my “duty” to respect and obey him. I had no say in money matters and was actually given an “allowance” for food, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. It was woefully inadequate, but I had to try and make do.”

She added, when asked further about money matters

“No, I don’t recall being ‘in debt’ or even having a credit card.  My husband gave me an amount to spend and I did not go over that amount.”

Some of this is on my mind because Henry has been working to get our spending under control.  He had been up until this point hesitant to put any true hard and fast financial restrictions on my spending – oh they still existed, but not in a clear and concise way.  And to some degree I’ve taken advantage of his lack of structure over my spending.  So we are finally at the place where HE is comfortable taking responsibility for OUR household and that includes MY spending.  Today he presented an amount and asked if it is reasonable to keep our grocery spending at or under that amount.  My reply … “hmm, I honestly don’t know” because I haven’t really paid attention.  So we (HE?) decided to track a few weeks of typical spending to see what the correct amount is.  I wanted accountability, right?

Actually, “yes, I do” – because the security of knowing Henry is actively running our household is very comforting.  It was not too long ago that he barely paid attention to the running of our household because he knew I would over ride/bicker/challenge even the simplest suggestion.  Oh how far we’ve come!

When I roll together my satisfaction with being a stay-at-home mom, and who incidentally also enjoys cleaning and cooking, with being given what amounts to an allowance from my husband I had to chuckle at the possibility of being labeled a ‘Stepford Wife’ from the women at the club that Vesta mentions!  Because as TV and magazines tell us 100 times a day, if a woman decides to stay at home or if she confers with her husband about going out for the day, she is suddenly a Stepford wife who is surely chained to the house and under her husband’s complete and utter control.

So today a discussion about the implementation of a spending allowance and then a “just because I think this will help keep our crazy week straight” session.

And all of the above orchestrated and carried out by my dear HoH.  Kinda reminds me of that phrase “there’s a new Sherriff in town” … so in closing, if anyone has a few good recipes to feed a hungry brood on the cheap, please pass them along … to start it off, this recipe is pretty close to the go-to recipe my family loves, Rigatoni with Chicken and Spinach …! Off to vote ~Liz

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  1. I am a “stepford wife” and I love my life. We have a very strict allowance at my home. This is mostly due to only having one income, but we make it work. If we really need/want something we make it work. I am one big stereotype, I am Mormon, I am a stay at home mom, I am a vegetarian, I love to cook, and clean, and I am happy!

    As for the cheap foods, we eat a lot of potatoes in our house! I make homemade fries, baked potatoes, and mashed potatoes almost constantly. We had baked tonight, and in the morning I will used the left overs to make homemade hashbrowns for breakfast. I take the left over baked potatoes from the fridge chop them up (they have to be cold or they get too mushy) fry them in a pan with a little butter and salt/pepper. My family loves them, and asks for it constantly.

  2. As long as they are happy, who cares. I love my wife, I love it that she is a housewife, and I love taking care of her. It is not about keeping her in her place, it is about taking care of her.

  3. If a wife and husband are happy, even if the wife I submissive, who cares. I love taking care of my wife, and I love having her at home. Not because that is her place, but because I love taking car of her and providing for her.

  4. I think your blog and all your efforts make for absolutely delightful reading. People who criticize you for being a stay at home mother and wife don’t seem to have taken in that you are doing what you want with your life just as they are doing what they want with their lives. My best, Vesta

  5. […] more?  Example 2 – Remember way back when, when I wrote about Henry setting down spending guidelines?  Well that has gone the way of TJMaxx, Marshalls a few Target trips and a couple choice trips to […]

  6. Reblogged this on Alice Dark – BentAlice and commented:
    I like this blog. The Life of Liz is well written, humorous and has a delightfully deft touch. Have a read of this recent posting (note the spanking!), and enjoy yourself.

    — Alice Dark

  7. I like this post. I know what you mean about being labeledd because you enjoy staying home with your children and keeping your home and family well taken care of. In our current society it feels like you have to make tremendous sacrifices to do this, but in reality it is not sacrifice as much as it is an adjustment in how you think about things and what you consider needs vs. wants.
    As for ideas to keep your grocery bill under control I kept ours in line mostly by keeping what we spent in other areas down as well. For instance, utility bills will be lower if you can double up your cooking. I would make double of many meals and freeze them; then when I pulled out the second meal on a night where I was limited on time I just needed to heat it up once it thawed out. Less cooking time, less prep time. When I would make roasted chicken I would purchase several of them when they were on sale and freeze what I was not cooking immediately. I would cook up two or three chickens at once leaving alot of meat leftover. The leftover became chicken salad (summer) or soup (winter). Keep the carcass of the chickens and place in a slow cooker with water to cover, throw in some carrots, celery and onion and simmer for twenty-four hours. When it’s done you have chicken stock to freeze. Make chili in a large pot of chili with a side of cornbread. Now the leftover chili can be frozen or used in a couple of days. Stretch it out by adding cooked macaroni for chili mac; and with the cornbread you now have what you need for making stuffing to go on the side with another meal simply by adding sauted onions and celery and seasoning with sage, salt and pepper. Make extra of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, zucchini and you have something to add to eggs to make a quiche for a meal; you can also add some of the leftover chicken to it.
    I do have some other things I did, but would need some time to remember it all. As for specific recipes I would have to try to find those as well. Please email me if you would like to know more. I’ll do what I can.
    I also know what you’re talking about with regards to HOH taking the finances. Dave took over our finances completely a little over a year ago. It’s been a little difficult for him, but he’s getting much better. I trust him with it. He works hard for the money that comes in, I don’t believe he is going to just let it slip through his fingers. I try to ease some of the stress for him by being very conscious of what I’m spending and making sure that I watch what we use in utilities so that the bills aren’t high. And we purchased everything second hand. Most times we got great items at thrift shops and yard sales that were much better quality than I would have found at some of the lower price stores for at least half the cost of what I would have spent new for the inferior product. I learned where the more affluent neighborhoods were located and watched for yard sales in those. That is usually where I found the best items at the lower prices.
    Hope this all helps.

    • Thanks Jacquie! I am not completely unfamiliar with the labels – with most (all) of my pregnancies I get the “don’t you know how to stop that” or “you must be mormon/catholic” or my fav “different dad,right?” … but the subtle judgement from working moms is just uncalled for; I mean I don’t judge their choices.

      Henry is actually an accountant and very good with money; I was just so super domineering that he had given up trying to keep our finances in check, but oh how things have changed, lol! I am going to try and make it a competition with myself to keep the grocery bill under control – and I appreciate your tips. Thus far I haven’t been too good and buying/cooking ahead, but I am willing to give it a try. Is it just me or are food prices through the roof? As I become more organized I may email you for some tried and true recipes so I don’t drag my family down as I experiment 🙂 ~Liz

  8. Do you guys like soups? I’ve found, for us, it’s a cheap meal, you can make a lot (and freeze some) and it’s easy to put in the crockpot on a busy day to save money on eating out. Unfortunately, I don’t use recipes, but I can give you rough amounts.
    Taco Soup:
    Fill a pot with water, add a package (or two) of taco seasoning (you can make your own too), add some ground beef/chicken, a can of pinto beans, a can of corn, a small can of sliced black olives, a can of tomatoes with green chilies. Cook until the meat is cooked. Serve with fritos or tortilla chips.

    White chili:
    Chicken broth, shredded chicken, cooked rice, pinto or light red kidney beans, tomatoes with green chilies, onion, chili powder, garlic. Put it all in a pot, cook until meat is finished. Add some cheese and enjoy.

    I usually have meat here, already cooked, just waiting in the freezer, so, these are quick meals for us. They work just as well in the slow cooker as well.

    • Thanks! Soups are good–I love the crockpot and had kinda forgotten about it … time to pull it out again. The ‘cooked meat’ in the freezer idea is a good one too ~ it seems like my kids are eating less meat with their meals lately and I’ve been tossing it after a few days in the fridge – great idea to keep and use in another recipe. Thanks much ~Liz

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