What Happened When I Tried A 1950s Housewife Schedule
I decided to write a light-hearted post about how different our lives are today from our grandmothers and great grandmothers of the 1950s. I chose to do a little research into the 1950s housewife schedule to see exactly how different things are today and to see if I could gain some 1950’s cleaning tips!
The 1950’s housework schedule is written for a 50’s housewife who’s children are of school age.
I’m not suggesting we all give up work and chain ourselves to the kitchen sink. I was just wondering if there
In this 50s housewife experiment, I’m going to spend a day in the life of a 1950s housewife with school-age kids, wish me luck!
First, let’s start with my typical housework routine on my days off, when the kids are at school. This is a very rough guide as to how my day pans out :
- 6.30 / 7.30 Get up, feed the cats, make kid’s breakfast.
- 7.30 / 7.45 Check calendar/schedule.
- 7.45 / 8.00 Wash the breakfast dishes.
- 8.00 / 8.15 Do one load of laundry and defrost meat for the evening meal.
- 8.15 / 8.25 Shower and get dressed
- 8.25 / 9.30 Take kids to school.
- 9.30 / 9.45 Eat breakfast.
- 9.45 / 10.45 Do daily jobs from my daily cleaning list, make beds, sweep the high traffic area floors, do one load of laundry, do a bathroom swipe, tidy up, do a light dusting of high traffic areas.
- 10.45 / 11.45 Prepare and cook the tea.
- 11.45 / 12.00 Dry and put away the laundry.
- 12.00 / 1.00 Clean one room from my weekly cleaning schedule.
- 1.00 / 1.30 Eat lunch.
- 1.30 / 2.00 Do some ironing.
- 2.00 / 2.15 Meal plan for tomorrows meals.
- 2.15 / 2.30 Check blog stats.
- 2.30 / 3.30 Pick up kids from school.
- 3.30 / 5.00 See to kids & serve tea.
- 5.00 / 7.00 Go to after-school sports.
- 7.00 / 8.00 Start night time routine for the youngest child.
- 8.00 / 8.30 Wash and dry the dinner dishes.
- 8.30 / 9.00 Lay clothes out for tomorrow for kids, check book-bags and action letters.
- 9.00/ 9.30 Catch up and chat with daughter and spouse, wash and dry spouses dinner dishes (he works very late, therefore he gets home and eats late! )
- 9.30 / 10.50 Relax, watch tv, read or write a blog post.
- 10.50 / 11.00 Put one load of laundry on a timer for an early morning wash. Straighten up the living room.
- 11.00 Bed.
Of course, if I’m working, my daily housework schedule looks nothing like this, and I just do whatever I can with the time I’ve got left!
This routine is not my daily housework schedule on the days I’m at work. However, most evenings we are out at kids activities. Some nights we get home at 8.45pm, so the evenings can look a little different from the daily routine of a housewife from the 50s!
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My weekends are spent with the family. If I keep on top of housework and laundry on my days off, it enables me to spend the weekends doing the things I love with my kids and family.
Characteristics of a 1950s housewife
Being housewives of the 50s was dramatically different from how things are today. D
Kids came home from school at lunchtime. H
There were no supermarkets. A 50’s housewife would have to shop more frequently at the local shops. There were no supermarkets to wander around, and spend hundreds of pounds on food.
Food was scarce, therefore kitchen cupboards and fridges were not overstuffed and cluttered with food.
Men worked, and most women stayed at home. Women in the 50s spent a considerable amount of time within the house, so much more time than women do today. Men and women work more extended hours now than ever before and both spend fewer hours in the home.
Housekeeping was the 50’s housewife’s job. O
1950 housewives had very few mod cons such as washing machines or tumble driers to make their life easier. Often carpets had to be swept or rugs beaten outside. Laundry had to be hand-washed, ran through the mangle and dried outside or inside if the weather was miserable.
A fifties housewife had no free childcare support, children started school at 5 or 6 years old, therefore it was difficult for women in the ’50s to go back to work once they became parents, often
Kids had a lot more free time as there were not so many after school and weekend activities. Therefore, more evenings and weekends were spent at home.
There was no social media or daytime tv to distract from chores. The radio was often the only form of entertainment for the 1950 housewife.
Everyone ate together at the table at the same time every night. Therefore there was only one dinner to cook and one lot of dishes to wash.
1950s housewife schedule
- 8.30 / 8.45
Get breakfast ready, get the kids ready for school. Take the kids to school.
- 9.00 / 9.45
Wash breakfast dishes.
- 9.15 / 10.30
Do the daily cleaning of all rooms. Tidy up, make the beds, hang up any clothes, pick stuff up off the floors, wipe over the sink, toilet and bath. wipe down kitchen surfaces.
Coffee break (read the newspaper)
- 10.45 / 11.30
Do a job from the weekly cleaning list.
- 11.30 /12.00
Get the lunch ready for children coming home from school
- 12.00 /1.00
Have lunch , take children back to school, wash lunch dishes and clear up .
- 1.00 / 2.15
Do some home baking, then wash up the dishes.
- 2.15 /2.30
Free time (spent doing gardening or dressmaking)
- 3.15 /4.00
Go shopping for food for the meals for the next day. Collect children from school.
- 4.00/ 4.30
See to the needs of the children , put shopping away.
- 4.30 / 5.00
Prepare the evening meal.
- 5.00 / 6.00
Eat evening meal, clear the dining room table and wash the dishes.
- 6.00 /6.15
Watch the news
- 6.15 /7.30
See to the children, play games, read, bath time, bed time.
Free time, may be spent reading, knitting, watching tv.
- 9.45/ 10.15
Prepare supper. Wash and dry dishes, lay the dining room table for breakfast.
Go to bed
As I studied the 1950s housewife schedule I noticed that it didn’t vary too much from my daily routine, so I thought I’d give it a go on my next day off work.
The early bird catches the worm.
The first thing I noticed from the 1950’s housewife schedule, was that she got up before everybody else, got dressed, washed and got herself ready. This is something I struggle with in our house because my son is such a light sleeper and as soon as
Eating breakfast like a 50’s housewife
The second thing I noticed, was that in the 1950s housewife schedule she ate breakfast with her kids. Now, I am always rushing in the mornings and never have breakfast with my kids, so I end up eating mid-morning with a coffee, but often this prompts me to check my emails etc. and start procrastinating and I’ve realised that this can be the start of my time wasting. So, I decided to try getting up earlier than the family and having breakfast with the kids.
This was quite frankly the least most relaxing breakfast I’ve ever had, but I did gain extra time during my morning as I didn’t linger over a mid-morning breakfast! So eating breakfast with my kids turned out to be a time saver and it
Housewife’s extra time
The next thing that struck me, was that both my kids have school dinners, so, I have a whole hour mid-day that the 50’s housewife didn’t get! S
It’s easier for me to prepare the evening meal midday because most of my evenings are taken up running the kids to sports or playdates and I prefer to give my kids a healthy homecooked meal whenever time allows. For the days that I am working, I defrost a meal which I’ve previously batch cooked and frozen. The average 50s housewife did not have the luxury of having a freezer, so I feel grateful that I have one stocked full of convenient food to eat in a hurry. To learn how to batch cook all your meals for a week read this post!
Afternoons in the 50’s housework schedule
What I also noticed from the 1950’s housework schedule is that there was some afternoon baking involved. Count me out; I hate baking! I’m no good at it, and generally, find it a great big faff for minimal reward, and as for the cleaning up afterwards its all too much. So I cheated and stuck to ironing a big pile of my spouse’s shirts for work, and all the kids clobber so I didn’t end up getting behind.
Free Time for the 50’s housewife
So now, we get to the 1950s housewife’s free time, which she was expected to use to do the gardening or sewing. I couldn’t work out whether this housewife enjoyed doing the gardening or sewing as a hobby. However, I gritted my teeth and went out to tidy up the garden. It was January, and it was freezing. However, it was worth it because we are selling the house, so it was good to straighten things up, put the kid’s toys away and sweep the paths, so possibly I may choose to do this a few times a week.
Food shopping in the 1950’s
I usually leave the house at approximately 2.30 to pick up the kids from school, and I decided to call in at the shops to get the ingredients tomorrow’s tea. This routine is not going to work for me as I like to buy meat in bulk and freeze it for convenience during the week, and also I find I spend less money this way. I will continue to do as I usually do in my daily schedule and use this time to do chores such as nip to the post office etc.
Evenings for the 50’s housewife
On the evenings that we had no after-school sports to go to, I followed the 1950s housework schedule. My evening meal was prepared, so it gave me more time to spend with the kids, and clear away the dinner dishes and get the school stuff ready for tomorrow.
I didn’t sit down to watch the news, but I did sit down for a 15-minute coffee break which was nice. However I probably won’t be doing that every night because it rendered me almost impossible to get back up again!
After getting one child to bed, I tried to get some free time at 7.30 but with one child still up until 9.00, this was virtually impossible.
9pm was eventually time to relax, and this was spent watching tv.
I didn’t make a snack at 9.45 because my spouse had just eaten, so I cleared up the
Bedtime on the 50’s housewife schedule
I went to bed at 10.15 and enjoyed going to bed nearly an hour earlier than usual. Although this did mean that I spent less time with my husband in the evening
Overview of the 1950s housewife schedule
This is not the perfect housewife cleaning schedule for today but there are some ways I could tweak my own daily schedule to make my life slightly easier and to run more smoothly. Already I’m seeing some benefits from the changes I’ve implemented from the 1950s housewife daily schedule, however with after-school activities and working, its only practical to implement the other changes on my days off. I have enjoyed and benefited from more structure and less procrastination to my day!
This is one of those questions that will have a different answer from each person. I have worked full time, and part-time as a mum and I can tell you it’s tough and very stressful trying to keep everything running efficiently when you’re a working mum. Staying on top of a daily housework schedule becomes even more of a struggle if you have a partner who works long hours and weekends or if you are a single mum. I love being at home, it’s the best place in the world for me and I enjoy every second of being in the house. However, I also love my job, so I’m not going to be giving it up anytime soon!
This depends on the housewife and how motivated she is! When you are a mother with small children at home virtually all of your time is consumed by the demand of your child /children and it’s challenging to get stuff done around the house unless your kids are sleeping. Parents today are much more hands-on with their children and spend much more quality time entertaining their children than they ever did years ago. As children get older and go to school, there is more time to spend at work. You’ll notice from the 1950s housewife schedule that there is always plenty of jobs to do
To start organising housework and to follow my daily routines you can start here, I have created a list of jobs which you do each day to keep your house clean and organised and then a list of weekly chores which are done once a week. Or you could always try the 1950s housewife schedule if you are at home all day!
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