Hi and welcome to Get It Down Pat! I’m Patricia, here to share everything I know about traditional homemaking, but with a modern twist, to help make all you do quicker and easier, and ultimately BETTER!
Why listen to what I have to say? Mainly because I’ve been living a traditional “housewife” lifestyle for more than 30 years (since 1991, to be exact).
But you might wonder why, in such modern times and way after the feminist revolution, anyone would decide to adapt this way of life. I can only speak for myself, but here’s my story…
I was born in the mid-1960s and adopted by childless Depression Baby parents who were born in the 1920s. If you do the math, you can see that both were significantly older than me and older than most of the parents of children my age. My mom turned 39 the year I was born; my father turned 42. More than once, my father was mistaken for my grandfather. I never noticed the age difference myself, so that was something I just couldn’t comprehend. Clearly, he was my dad, not my grandpa!
As such, life with my folks, four decades older than me, was like growing up in a time warp. They were old-fashioned in every way — how they thought, how they dressed, what they ate, what they did, how they raised me, and what “roles” they each assumed in the family.
Our home was a throwback to a time gone by. It was the 1970s, but inside my home, we were stuck in the 1950s. My parents got married in 1946, and it showed. The furniture, the decor, the appliances, the electronics were all from a time gone by. We didn’t have air conditioning until 1978, and even then, a used window unit Dad got from the factory where he worked was all that we could afford. That same year, we finally got a color TV.
We were a blue-collar, middle-class family. My father worked in a factory all of his life. He took on the more “manly” tasks around the house — cutting the lawn, taking care of the cars, doing little fixer-up jobs and anything “mechanical” around the house. My mother, who worked in a factory as well before I was born, became a stay-at-home mom upon my arrival. It was from her that I learned traditional motherhood and wifely duties, and while I grew up during a time when women were almost expected to take on a career, I knew I’d be just as happy (maybe happier?) assuming the same lifestyle as hers.
For decades, my parents had absolutely no debt, not even a mortgage. They bought nothing on credit. They purchased things from Sears using what was then called the “Easy Payment Plan” or by placing things at K-Mart on layaway. I remember when Dad tried to buy my first real electric typewriter at Sears in 1979. The salesman looked at him funny when he tried to put it on the Easy Payment Plan. He had to break the news to my dad. “Sir, we haven’t had that program for years,” he replied. “However, I’d be happy to help you apply for our credit card.” And that’s how my dad got his first credit card.
So seeped was I in their traditional lifestyle that I never saw it as anything unusual. In fact, looking back and even at the time, I saw it as nothing but a fun, wholesome, and desirable way to live.
But that’s not exactly how life went for me. I’ve never been the fully quintessential traditional homemaker, mostly because I never could afford to be. I’ve always worked. However, I’ve been blessed to have been able to make money mainly from home over the years, which allowed me to be with my children as they grew up.
So being SOLELY a traditional housewife who didn’t have to work wasn’t in the cards for me. But, in my humble opinion, that didn’t stop me from still being one.
I cooked. I cleaned. I raised my kids. I managed my household. I did all the tasks that are traditionally considered to be the woman’s role.
I continued in that role after divorcing my first husband and marrying my second hubby, Steve. Sadly, Steve passed away just nine years after we met, and only six short years after we got married.
Enter my current significant other. We went to grammar school together — and hadn’t seen each other for 42 years after graduation. Then, thanks to an alumni Facebook group, we reunited. After six months of renewed friendship, we took things to the level of a more serious relationship. We live together, for all intents and purposes, like husband and wife, and on occasion we’ve even referred to each other as such.
When we were first talking after all those years, initially as friends but working on something more, I messaged to him, “I have a proposition.”
“Hmmmm… OK, shoot,” he texted back.
“Let me move in with you. I’ll do all the feminine stuff for you. I’ll even hold your tools.”
“Are your hands warm? lol”
Of course, at that time, I was joking, and he was too. But a lot of truth is said in jest, and I did mean exactly what I was proposing. And it must have planted a seed with him too.
Fast forward to him moving in with me, and without a word being said, we both fell into our traditional roles, all quite naturally.
I cook. I clean. I manage the household. As needed, I occasionally give my adult son (who has autism but is very self-sufficient) a hand. I have a daughter, but she has since moved from the household.
I love being able to take care of my men! And of course, I still work.
My better half works as well. He fixes things around the house. He takes on all things mechanical. He cares for the cars and the motorcycles. He took it upon himself to setup a home movie theater in our basement — something he did on his own accord, and it’s truly awesome!
If we go out, he typically pays. I’m sure if we needed someone to take care of the lawn or shovel snow, he probably would take that on, but since we live in an HOA community, it’s not necessary.
And he cooks as well. He’s the grill and smoker master here, and he really enjoys cooking. So sometimes I can kick back while he does that. I’m still on kitchen cleanup duty, but I’m OK with that. And he tends to do his own laundry, but he’s awful about putting it away, so when his head is turned, I take that upon myself.
One day soon, maybe in just a few short years, I hope to be semi-retired, and I’ll be a little closer to fully living the dream. But no matter what, I’ll continue to live my traditional life.
Now, that “traditional” life might look a little different than others. I’m not a homesteader. I’m not canning foods or doing a lot of crafting. I’m not living a “little home on the prairie” life. But I do live very much like homemakers did in the early to mid-20th century, with a similar mindset of being both frugal and creative around the house. My significant other is someone to be honored and respected. I’m not a servant per se, but my role is to serve the others who live here in traditional ways, such as maintaining the home, cooking for my family, and in my case, managing the home budget. (My father used to hand my mother his work check every week.) Equally, I expect respect and love from those living here for all that I do, and thankfully, I get it.
I love being a traditional homemaker! It’s my active choice, and I feel blessed that I am in a position to choose it. And I’m grateful too that I’m in a position to share all that I’ve learned over the years with you via this website.
Enjoy the content and continue to enjoy your life as well as a traditional homemaker!
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