One of the women at RPW found these gems from the Good Housekeeping Marriage Book from 1938.

  1. Did my husband start for work this morning in a better frame of mind for having married me, or would he have been happier as a single man or married to someone else? Remember, as you ask this question and apply your own answer, that we are talking about business; hard, practical business where intentions do not count. You may love your husband dearly, but if the results of your love are not constructive, you must write the word FAILURE across the record. 
  2. Do I always treat my job just as seriously as if I were working in an office for a monthly salary? Some wives feel that it makes no difference if they linger so long over bridge or cocktails or shopping or whatever in the afternoon that they are unable to prepare a suitable meal for their husbands in the evening.
  3. Have I grown in poise and interests like the wives of my husband’s associates and superiors? Wives who keep up with the procession are an asset; those who fail to grow are a liability.
  4. Can I talk in the same terms as his associates and their wives? This indicates how carefully you have maintained your interest in the source of your income, and how accustomed you are to expressing yourself.
  5. Do I dress and act like the wives of the business associates and superiors of my husband? You place a heavy handicap upon your effectiveness if your husband cannot be proud of you in the inevitable comparisons with other wives in his organization.
  6. Do I entertain with reasonable frequency the people who are in a position to help my husband in business, or is our social life planned wholly for my own amusement? Perhaps this question should read, “How long since I have entertained So-and-So?” You may be surprised to find that months have slipped away without your having done a single stroke of good for your husband socially. 
  7. Do I limit our social engagements during the week to those which will not take essential energy from the job, or do I feel that my husband “owes” me constant amusement when he is not actually at the office? As employers pile responsibility upon your husband, more and more care must be used in the allocation of time to social affairs. You may be able to rest the next day, but business does not permit husbands to rest on the job. 
  8. Do I act as a balance wheel, cheering him intelligently when he is tired or discouraged, or do I rub him the wrong way on such occasions? If your husband does not share with you his disappointments, it is almost invariably because you have not qualified yourself to share them. 
  9. Do I try to smooth things out after unpleasant discussions—as I would if a new dress or theatre party were at stake? Many married persons have an uncanny capacity for making miserable the objects of their affection. It is said that the course of true love never did run smooth, but the wise husband or wife will not unnecessarily roughen it. 
  10. Do I carry my share of responsibility, or do I save up all the petty annoyances for our dinner-table conversation? Wives who complain that their husbands are silent during dinner have usually good reason to overhaul the quality of their own conversation. Don’t bore him with your fight with the grocer or the catty things Mrs. X said at bridge or afternoon tea.

I was immediately struck by the straightforwardness of these questions and suggestions.  No hand holding.  No trigger warnings.  No excuses.  Just frank questions with blunt explanations.  It seems women were treated like they weren’t fainting daisies once upon a time.  Now with third wave feminism we require trigger warnings, safe spaces and the hiding of scary man statues.  Surprise, surprise we don’t need to be treated like children.  Only, it is feminism who seems to require this special treatment.

I then noticed how respected the position of wife is.  Sure, some will read this and see it as oppression.  But if you can look past this, it is phrased in the same manner as one would expect any man to be treated at his career.  There is no fluff, only the question, “Are you doing your job well and for the right reasons?”  A job that holds respect.

Thirdly, I noticed how competition between women is not only obvious but exploited.  However, exploited in a way that will help the woman to work harder.  I leave it to you to decide whether or not this is right or wrong.  Frankly, in these instances, I don’t think it really matters because the point of these is to help a woman do her best for her husband and by extension, family.

Fourth, take a look at number 4.  Source of income. Boy that stings at first, probably for both men and women today, but it is the simple truth.  It doesn’t mean that that is all a husband is or was.  Of course he is much more, but this simple statement is still a chunk of the truth and should be acknowledged from any SAHM.

Fifth, it doesn’t shy away from how a wife helps and supports her husband and how very important this job is.

This post was left at RPW today and illustrates these 10 points:

It is a humbling thing to realize that my mother and grandmothers were right after all about lifestyle choices. I swallowed the blue pill for many years and all it did was make me miserable. My grandmothers and mom were and are adored by their husbands.

In the past, I viewed them as oppressed and ignorant. My grandmother was still trying to maintain a slim figure in her late eighties. I am pretty sure grandpa was beyond noticing at that point. I had to reassure her that the tummy she had as a result of osteoporosis bending her forward was not the result of eating too much. It makes me smile to remember her pleasure at a manicure she received while in the nursing home.

My grandpa was a strong confident man who provided well for my grandmother. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2. He was a bad ass warrior, but at home he was a kind gentleman who basked in my grandmother’s devotion.

I made the observation that it is feminism that is oppressive toward women today and not men or the dreaded “patriarchy”.  Iwishiwasamermaid responded:

Exactly. Feminism has only forced more work and stress onto women by saying “you can be everything” ball buster career woman at work, pop out babies and put them in daycare, then what? Dump the household duties onto paid help that you or your husband have to work longer hours to afford? Task your husband with half of the duties because you’re both exhausted? Eat take out or convenience foods because you’re too tired to cook properly? That’s been my experience. I realized how fucked up things were when I was pumping breastmilk for my 3 month old at work while someone else took care of my baby because I had the big career and income and it “made sense” for me to work. Oh, and my 70k of student loans that only I could afford to pay. Thinking I could play both roles ruined my life. It stole my babies earliest years from me and ruined my relationship. Thanks feminism.

We all make our own choices and must take responsibility for them.  But we need to start teaching what the possible consequences of these decisions are.  Not sugar coat them to make ourselves feel better out of pride or embarrassment.  We also must learn and teach the very fact that our choices are our own and no one else’s.  That should we decide to buck the trend, we are not being oppressed.  It’s what we chose.  End of story.  No matter how much that might offend the fainting daisies.

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