Last year I ran across a fabulous housewife challenge created by jenbutneverjenn. Based off of her extensive research from 1950s magazines and home-economics literature of the day, Jen lived a vintage housewife schedule for two weeks. Her original list was thirty-eight items long and included making an authentic 50’s dinner every night. You can find her original schedule here. I was fascinated. Here was a very detailed way to try and live my day. I wanted to live it. I wanted to conquer the list. I failed. Repeatedly.
The list needed a few minor modifications for my first attempt – a planned single day of living the schedule to see what needed improvement. I removed a couple of items that don’t apply to our house (like fixing cocktails, and flushing drain pipes with water – Californian, conserve water). With only a few items removed, I still had troubles with the list. Our houses are not laid out the same at all and I found myself making twenty more trips than usual up and down the stairs to do first the master bedroom (upstairs), then the living room (downstairs), then the bathroom (upstairs), then the kitchen (downstairs), etc you get the idea. She had ‘eat breakfast’ right away on her list and I can’t eat until I’ve been up for at least an hour. Needless to say, the pacing of her list wasn’t good for me.
So I adapted the schedule. The new schedule still contained most of the same items only in a different order better for my use. With the 30-item list, I was able to follow this schedule for three days before becoming overwhelmed by it (or maybe bored). The list still didn’t leave a lot of room for flexibility. I still had to dust before I could meal plan and still needed to run errands before lunch (which was an actual scheduled item). I found a positive thing from this portion of my trials. Dusting on day one sucked. On day two it was easy. On day three it was so easy I actually busted out the dusting polish and everything got really shiny and nice looking. But then day four I didn’t feel the need to dust. And by day five I had pretty much given up on dusting ever again. I’ve tried to adapt and follow modifications to this schedule multiple times since then, but it never seems to stick.
While I love Jen’s schedule and her following blog posts, it really isn’t for me. It has inspired me to try these housewife challenges multiple times. Like in today’s era, 50s housewives all had their own routines and patterns. You couldn’t exactly copy another person’s routine and hoped it worked for you. Instead you had to take inspiration from these routines and incorporate aspects into your life that worked best for you and your family. Remember to follow and enhance your own natural rhythms.
(In following my natural rhythms, I’ve finally come up with a schedule I think works. Click here to read it.)