Housewife Week 1: The Report

I completed the first week of my 1950s housewifery experiment! I have now been attempting to be an ideal housewife for seven days!

Things are getting sparkling around here. I did the basic daily cleaning (dust/sweep/tidy) every weekday and did the deeper weekly cleaning in the kitchen and living room. AHB suggests I should be able to deep clean every room in two days, but that wasn’t quite do-able. I suspect that once every room has been deep cleaned, future cleaning sessions will be shorter.

An early 20th century ad for cigarettes, a woman dressed in patriotic clothes shoulders a broom. She wears a sash and stands on a platform. Both read "Welcome Cigarettes". She shoulders a broom.
I would, in fact, sort of welcome cigarettes, because nicotine is a stimulant, and I could use one. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start smoking, as historically accurate as that would be.)

The Week in a Glance


Today went pretty well. I was somewhat sleep-deprived, but I kept up a good pace. I did the basic room cleaning, along with three loads of laundry. Highlights: My landlord (who was painting the hallway) admired both my apron and my industry doing laundry. Lowlights: I was pretty tired, and the midcentury dependence on nicotine started to make a lot of sense to me.


Today did not go quite as well. I got up in time to make Bob’s lunch (reaction: bemused), and visit with him before he went to work. Then I did my basic room cleaning, and then…crashed. Too sleepy to continue, I took a nap on top of my beautifully-made bed, haunted by the disgusted ghosts of 1950s housewives. Luckily, today’s tasks were ironing and marketing, and I only had two shirts to iron and live a block from the grocery store. I was back on track pretty quickly. Highlights: It’s nice to chat with my partner at the beginning of the day. Lowlights: Napping is not very industrious. Also, I now understand how effing great the invention of radio and tv were to the housewives of yore.


My husband worked from home, and it threw off my game, y’all. He was around all day, observing me and having a distracting cute face. I did the basic daily cleaning, and then devoted the day to organizing my bedroom drawers. You wouldn’t think that would take as long as it did. It sure did. Highlights: My underwear drawer looks like a magazine photo in an article about perfect drawers. I also made a delicious zucchini bake. Lowlights: Discovering how dusty the inside of a drawer can be.


Let me start by admitting I got up in time to see Bob off, and then…went back to bed. Those disgusted 1950s housewife ghosts continued to haunt me, but it’s okay because when I got back up, I breezed through daily cleaning and went straight into deep cleaning the living room. I dusted, I washed, I took all the tchotchkes off the shelves and dusted/washed them individually. I washed the windows, I cleaned the baseboards, I dusted the plants. Highlights: Were there highlights? I don’t remember, I’m too exhausted. Lowlights: I didn’t make dinner, because I ran out of time.


Today, I truly cleaned the kitchen. The top of the refrigerator was exactly as horrifying as I anticipated. The bottoms of the produce drawers were also pretty grimy. In all, it was satisfying, but I demanded we go out to dinner because I didn’t want to besmirch the kitchen’s new-found glory. Highlights: I learned a lot of good trivia from the You Must Remember This podcast. Lowlights: I saved the inside of the oven for another day, and now it’s lurking, waiting for me.

Findings and Conclusions

So far, I like this housewife thing more than I anticipated. This weekend, we had company over and I didn’t clean anything to prepare–everything was already done. I enjoyed that feeling very much. My biggest issue is my natural night owl ways, which make staying awake after Bob leaves for work difficult. I’m going to try to go to bed earlier this week, so those disgusted housewife ghosts leave me alone.

4 thoughts on “Housewife Week 1: The Report

  1. You forgot the most important 50s housewife recourse: bear many children. Teach them well. Sit down and rest.

  2. My favorite line: ” I took a nap on top of my beautifully-made bed, haunted by the disgusted ghosts of 1950s housewives.”

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