Sunday, December 6, 2009

6 December 1955 “Under the Weather”

ill in bed I am still rather ill. My throat is being a wretch and swelling and aching. Perhaps it is preparing me to lose weight this holiday season by showing me the futility of cramming fistfuls of sugared cakes into my gullet. Either way, it is rather sore and because of it I feel rather helpless and have spent the past few days in and out of bed and attempting to try to maintain elements of my homemaking, to no avail.

Since I have been ill, hubby has made me feel better in his telling me, “boy, do I appreciate what you do”, when he had to go to the grocery store. On his return from the grocery store he told me he really ‘appreciates what I do’ after trying to find things in the store, having to deal with lines and less than helpful sales staff. It is always nice to be appreciated. I think he is also missing his homemade meals.

Certainly, one would think the homemaker becoming ill must be ‘easier’ as you do not have to ‘call out’ at work. However, it makes one feel all the more miserable as you watch your chores pile up. Though my husband tells me not to worry, I do none the less. Not having done the weeks marketing has made it harder as I only had hubby get a few essentials when he stopped for me. You almost feel a disappointment. My hubby tells me I am being silly, because it doesn’t matter if the house is messy and he has to buy lunch a few days, but it does matter to me. It makes me feel as if I am letting him and myself down.

I imagine this feeling must be doubled for the mothers out there. Not being able to prepare breakfast or to attend to your children as attentively as you would otherwise. Certainly, I make a better nurse than a patient!

Sometimes in this day and age it can be hard, emotionally, to be a homemaker. There are those endless stares or questions when you say what you do. There are also the well-meaning who care, but you can’t help but glean from their smiles that they might be thinking, “Oh, of course you stay home, how clever you little darling, still it isn’t real work”.

Of course, I have come to wonder this year if that is just my sometime insecurity of my position being projected onto them. But, I am sure there are those who think it all bon bons and soap operas being at home. When really, you sometimes feel as if you are ALWAYS at work, for in a way, you are. You don’t get to leave your ‘worries at the office’.

So, here I am three days into my illness and am just now posting this small blog, so I also feel I am letting all of you down as well. It is amazing how many little things I do to make this household run, things I even took for granted until they stopped being done. I definitely appreciate my position all the more for having been sick these past few days.

How are all of you? I hope everyone is in line with their holiday preparations. I promise to get back to normal posts once I can sit up for longer than 20 minutes without feeling dizzy.


  1. Dear 50sGal,

    I am so very sorry to hear that you are sick! I always say that Mommas are not allowed to get sick as when we do the world stops turning! LOL!!

    But it doesn't and as soon as you can sit and stand well, please take it easy on yourself. You need to recuperate and get fully well.

    My home is decorated and with my Darling Husband's help I was able to finish all my holiday shopping (including three Dec bdays!) done yesterday!

    I agree though - I feel that I never leave the "office" and there have been times in the last 16 years - I have wanted to!

  2. Being a homemaker (especially, but not exclusively, for those with children) is the most important job in the world! You know it, we know it - the rest of the world can go back to their hectic lives and wonder whats missing!

    Hope you feel better soon; I enjoy your blog VERY much and it is always an inspiration to me. I'll be sad when your year is over - hope you keep it up!

  3. So sorry to hear that you are ill! With such a sore throat I do hope you get checked out to rule out Strep

    I agree with your perspective. How wonderful that you have such a helpful, sweet, understanding husband!

    Please feel better soon!

  4. Now that I have retired I have taken on the role of homemaker myself. My wife still works full time and is loving my new career. So it is as a member of your union that salute you for being the backbone and heart of your family.Tell your husband his obvious love and caring for you makes him a real man in my eyes.I hope you get well soon.

  5. I hope that you feel better quickly!

    I know all too well what a real job being a homemaker is, though I am not a full time one yet. You have the most important job ever!


  6. I hate to say it, but maybe that flu shot wasn't a great idea? ;)
    And I DO think that sometimes you 'imagine' others' reactions to your career. There are a lot of people out there who are homemakers. And there are even more who wish they could afford to stay at home and have an always clean house and warm meals. But it is not for everyone and with every career choice, you love it or hate it, but you must OWN it and not worry about what others are doing or thinking. There are obviously plenty out there who support you...including your husband, and I should think he is the SECOND most important opinion in such a case!
    I hope you feel better soon. Sushi Christmas is right around the corner!

  7. You take care of youself and get well, and don't worry about a thing (I know, easier said than done).

  8. feel better, friend.
    don't want to overwhelm you w/remedy suggestions, but has gargling w/salt water helped you ever? or drinking cider vinegar w/lemon and honey? i hope you find the cure~aside from rest. and that visions of sugarplums dance in your head as you do! :)
    there are plenty of days left till christmas to accomplish all you need, so don't worry about that. let your wonderful husband gift you with his service, and soon you'll be back to your old self! xo

  9. Oh it's horrible to be sick! I'm sorry to hear that. You WILL be back to normal and enjoying the running of your home. It just takes time so don't pressure yourself into doing too much too soon. Doesn't it ever make you realise how much it takes to organise a home efficiently when you're unable to do so!

    I do think people have different reactions and thoughts when giving one's occupation as 'housewife' but we must have enough confidence in ourselves to realise it's only our own and our husband's opinions that really matter. (A nice medical specialist asked me recently what I did and after I replied 'a housewife' she was noticeably surprised saying 'I thought you must have worked in the medical field you were so knowledgeable' (on that particularly subject). What aren't housewives known for their self-education in many fields? ;) All we have to do is read and we can learn much and then we seem like 'experts'.) :)

    We're thinking of you as you gradually recover from your sick bed. (No doubt there's even much learning and more contemplation from that experience.) Linda

  10. Oh 50s gal, I do hope you feel better soon! I understand how you must be feeling, as I haven't been able to be the homemaker I've been wanting to be throughout our 3.5 years of marriage due to a congenital condition in my legs. I'm going through physiotherapy right now and hoping I can get back on track. I try to do a few minutes a day at least, but when I have acute pain right now, I have no choice but to rest otherwise I will feel worse. Just like you with your cold, you need to rest otherwise it will take you too long to recover!!

    I have dealt and still am dealing with emotions of weakness, but I try not to associate my physical health (which isn't our faults!!) to my personality. Yes, sometimes our hubbies have to do the chores for us. I hate that my hubby has to do it, but he does it his way when he can. So yes, chores always pile up and that makes me upset. But there's not much I can do but wait to get better.

    I think it will always be hard to be a housewife in the 21st century as it is very underestimated. But let's look back at what a housewife does:

    -Cooking homemade meals (vs. take out, frozen meals)
    -Doing laundry and ironing (vs. paying for it at the cleaner)
    -Cleaning the whole house (vs. paying for a housekeeper)
    -Gardening (vs. no gardens or hiring help)
    -Sewing (vs. buying it)
    -Go shopping (vs. going during rush hours and weekends)
    -Have time to make appointments
    -Organizing and decluttering
    -Have stress-free evenings and weekends with hubby (hubby will be less tired at work from not having to do half the chores)
    -Some even make homemade detergents and soaps

    Et j'en passe!! Remember everything you do!! This shall pass and you will be back at it in no time! :)

  11. You poor dear... Burrow under those covers and try to think of this as part of your experiment. You needed to find out what it feels like to be a 50s housewife who was under the weather! Better not to drag yourself back to the dust and dishes too soon or the illness will hang on. And the last thing you should worry about is us! Hope you feel better real soon, sweetie. :)

  12. Oh Dear,
    Well, I got the sick right after Thanksgiving, and it's still hanging on a bit. So, you have company in your misery even if I am across the ocean from you. I'm 99% sure I had the flu because I had a real honest-to-goodness fever, no sore throat (which I always have when I get a cold), and seriously painful body aches. Just wish I knew which flu I had so I would know which vaccine I can now forgo (assuming I ever get a chance at a vaccine). Luckily, I was able to survive almost a whole week without cooking because of all the Thanksgiving leftovers. Taking ibuprofen always helps me when I have a sore throat, so maybe you could try that to take the edge off the pain. Make sure you drink lots of fluids. Feel better soon!

  13. Hello 50s Gal,

    The 2 good things about being sick is 1) it forces you to rest and 2) it is temporary. And, add to that, you are forced to see how much you actually DO accomplish when you can no longer do it habitually!

    Mixed blessing, sickness...

    On the latter note, I think that when housewives are asked "What do you do?" they should answer with the question, "What DON'T I do?" Then, if persisted, say, "I'm an accountant, a designer, a nutritionist, an entertainer, a homeopathic medic in training, a botanist, a professional organizer and a professional cleaner." Plus, you can personally add, "And I'm a practicing historian and writer."

    If the person's head isn't swimming after THAT response, then you can add, "Basically, I'm a home maker." ;)

  14. Get well soon!

    When you are a mom, the problem with being sick is you have to do all the meal preparing, watching the kids etc anyway, sick or not! What is nice about having an older child, however, is that she can help out and make a quick and easy oatmeal breakfast and watch out for the little ones while you nap if needed! That is a huge wonderful benefit of having a large family (we have 6--we're trying to start the second 'baby boom' ;) ) LOL

    Mrs P

  15. 50sgal,

    Please don’t let anyone’s thoughts and/or comments about you being a homemaker jar you in any way. I used to feel the same and put up with many comments from my very own immediate family. I also felt not as good as…Not as good as the business woman that was really making a difference in the world…Not as good as the one with all the fancy dress clothes…Not as good as…and on and on. All in all, however, I knew that my role as a mother and homemaker was the most important one in the world, and I was thankful to be able to do it.

    Today, I would give an arm and a leg to be able to stay home. Tonight, for instance, I have been shampooing my living room and taking down fall and getting ready to put up Christmas décor. (Yes, I am behind. I really never keep up let alone catch up at home, though I try to do a bit each evening after work.) At any rate, I had the Christmas music playing and was thoroughly loving caring for my home. I just hated the thought of once again having to change gears out of my peaceful home and into the wretched world tomorrow. I go through this same transition each day, and it is so frustrating. Enough rambling on my pity party. Don’t let others make you feel the least bit insecure or not as good as. And, don’t worry your pretty little head over or feel guilty for caring for yourself during these days of illness. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Blessings to you.

  16. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  17. Hi Donna,

    Use your energy on being well again, then I know you know how to plan catching up with everything again. But I know the feeling, when I'm ill everything is a complete mess around me, ough. So when I get up again I start clearing and cleaning everything. It's great to be a Queen! ;)

    e-hugs from

  18. I do hope you feel better soon.

    As far as being sick when being a stay at home mom or homemaker, it does not make it easier, just because you do not have to call in sick to work.
    You basically are, you cannot cook the meals, clean, do laundry, drive and run errands, get food.... it is just the same just no one will get upset because you missed a day at a job where you get paid.
    I have been a stay at home mom for over 8 years and have had all sorts of comments, and looks. To me it is sad for anyone to look down on someone else for their choices to stay home or work. At least either way you are being productive in society.

  19. Tis the season for sneezing (and other assorted ailments) don't you know! Just remember that pushing yourself is only going to make this drag on. Better to spend a day in bed than spend 5 days struggling to do your chores and still doing a poor job. I have a kid to take care of so I can only dial it back so far but you can bet I'm not doing laundry or any heavy cleaning when I'm sick, just seeing to meals and such. It only really bothers me when everyone is sick because then I need to struggle through and play nursemaid. Today for example the offspring and I are both feeling oogy, I'm guessing that going out for lunch yesterday might have been a mistake. I'm feeling horribly queasy but so is he which means I'm doing extra nasty laundry (I woke up to the sounds of him throwing up in bed, what a way to starts a Monday!) and other assorted unpleasant tasks. Take the opportunity to take it easy now because it's so much harder if you ever have kids!

  20. just a quick check in. I went to the Doctors today (wish he could have come to me as he most assuredly would have in 1955) and I tested negative for Strep and they think it is viral, so no antibiotics for me, but if it gets worse in three days, they would assume it has become bacterial. I do feel bad not having written a post these past few days, but even writing this comment is wearing me out.
    Thank you all for your kind words and hopes of healing, what a wonderful community we have!

  21. well, glad it's not strep, but sorry you didn't get a quickie fix....keep doing all those good things for your bod and we will all keep praying for each other...xo

  22. Feel better, Donna. I appreciate you even trying to post at all, and with a picture! Being I'll is no fun regardless of what one does for a living but as a housewife and/or mother I believe it's harder since you never leave the "office". Although I enjoy a break from the kitchen and laundry room when I'm sick. Having children can make it a bit harder to get the rest I know I need when I'm sick a back rub from little fingers soothes aches in ways medicine cannot. And dry toast made by your first born, who has slipped into the role of mommy with ease, tastes better than anything.

    As for the attitudes you encounter about your housewife job, really, do they matter? I know I'm lucky in that where I live it's assumed a woman with children "stay home" so I rarely need to explain my choice. But on the downside those who work (out of necessity or not) are sometimes pittied or looked down upon. To either woman I say "do what you love and what works for you and your family.".

    One thing that makes me feel less overwhelmed when I can't actually do much physical work is to make lists and plan. Whether it's menus or a decluttering list, or browsing thru cookbooks I feel somewhat productive and rested at the same time.

    Let's catch up soon!


  23. Sarah H.,

    May I ask where you live?

  24. Hope your virus is on its way out - but no posting for you until you're better! We can all wait patiently. Feel better soon. :)

  25. If you were REALLY living in the 50s, a doctor would have come to your bedside to take care of you. He (probably not a she back then) would then order you to stay in bed.

    Doctors still make house calls in France.

    Hope you're feeling better.

  26. I read something once that I thought was very profound. "A lack of homemaking leads to emotional homelessness." I think this is evident in our is good food for thought(atleast you can have some kind of food while your throat is sore and can't swallow!)
    Amy F.

  27. wait, if your sick, why are you blogging?

  28. Zebu, yes, you may. I live in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, specifically the North Shore. My town and many others were built as vacation towns for those working in the city to escape the heat in the summer. So each suburb has nice solid downtowns, although I wouldn't say thriving exactly. Most families are traditional: mother, father, 3 kids is average. I think most mothers here stay home because either their husband's job is so demanding that they are fully responsible for the children (with varying degrees of help from baby sitters or occasionally family) and take an interesting part time job (like working in an independent book store or local toy shop) for fun. Volunteer work is taken very seriously here. You wouldn't believe how packed the PTA sign up meeting is. There's a lottery to choose which moms get to chaperone field trips and help with class parties. Thus my observation of the additude towards working mothers I sometimes see.

    What's it like where you live?


  29. Donna - I hope you don't have what we have had around here. I woke up the the sunday before thanksgiving with the stomach flu..and that evening, found a wicked sore throat and croupy cough. FOUR week later, I am finally getting back to something like normal. The sore throat and cough just wouldn't go away. I was also dead tired all the time. So, I am insanely behind on my housework and christmas stuff. Hubby and kids are trying to help some, and that is nice, but I am just going to have to rethink what I will be doing for the holidays....

    Sarah H...I live around the lake from you in SW Mich. Liking the snow?

  30. Sarah, I am impressed. Your little corner of the world must have gotten to stay back in time! I wish that ours would have. The only time here that I see women wanting to stay home or getting to is in the families where there is money. The husbands make enough money to support the family comfortably i.e. men in positions of doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, dentists, high-up men at the factory (we have three here). I know of at least two families in each of the categories that I mentioned. The families of the stay-at-home moms on the other end of the spectrum really struggle. They stay home because of conviction and a desire to raise those children that they gave birth to. But, they do struggle because the husband doesn’t make enough money to support them sufficiently. We were one of those families for many many years until my husband finally said that he was tired of working two jobs, so I0 went to work, and that was hard. There was no one at the cross-roads when my children came home from school to greet them and ask about their day. There were many sacrifices made because I had to go out into the world where I really didn’t want to be rather than home with my children.

    Once you’re in that role of full-time working woman and full-time homemaker, it’s pretty hard to back track, and it is extremely exhausting to try to do it all. We tend to feel like failures, have high stress all of the time rather than just some of the time and generally speaking (and I am taking the liberty of speaking for all of these women) probably don’t have a very high moral or self-esteem because in their mind, they are failing miserably. We are women who were brought up with moms in the home and grammas in the home. We were the ones who came home to home-made treats after school and wonderfully home-cooked meals every night of the week. I saw the difference in my mom when she had to go to work. I was 15. She was stressed and we could tell it. She now had just taken on a second full-time job but couldn’t quit her first one! The poor woman! Bless her heart, she still kept up the wonderful five-course dinners for her family.

    So, after all of that, what I see here where I live, is point blank: 1. If you have money, the mother gets to stay home. 2. If you don’t have money, the mother has to go help make the money, and the mother also on top of that has to keep her full-time job as mother and homemaker.

    It doesn’t quite seem fair, but that is how life is.

  31. Hey 50's Gal,

    I hope you are feeling better today......I've missed reading your new posts :)

    I've been home now primarily for ten years, I used to work in day care and saw the ramifications of it, children would say that they would wish that I was their mother and that the day care was their home.

    That put a pain in my heart, I felt for those mothers/fathers and the lack of bond in their family.

    I was raised by a SAHM, and so far I've been blessed to be one to my children.

    Times are not easy, hubby is currently laid off, the Ontario gov't is introducing full day JK/SK (junior and senior kindergarten) so that will decimate the chances of obtaining a job again in the day care field.

    It's been a rocky two years to say the least, I do work part-time, three days a week and I struggle with SVT (heart palpitations), so it's not like I could work full time to begin with.

    The key to having a stay at home spouse is frugality, teaching ones' children to make due with their clothes (ie. my oldest has many jeans, he put a hole in two of them that I patched, I told him to use his play pants when he comes home from school because I'm not buying him anymore jeans this year), living within your means, not using credit cards and paying off your mortgage which we did in our home.

    I see my friend work full time, manage the home etc., I would not trade my life for a million teas in china.

    They spoke of equality in the eighties when I was growing up between men and women, I think we were truly sold a bill of goods that was false. Although men help out more (in some cases not at all) around the house, women are still expected to do it all, bring home the bacon, fry it up, clean it up and take care of the kids.

    Um no thanks, I have enough to do around here, trust me, nor would I expect my hubby to take on the non traditional jobs around here, since he does not expect me to cut the lawn, take the garbage out or shovel the drive way.

    Sorry for the rant, I just want my children to grow up in a home like I did, with a SAHM ( who couldn't bake worth beans like me), but was there when we came home from school with hugs and love :)

    Mom in Canada

  32. WOW! I am still ill, sadly, but what a treat to turn on the computer today and see our little community still going forward. How darling of you all to continue the blog for me! For, that is what it feels like, thank you and so many wonderful comments. I do feel bad, as I was not around to add my '2 cents' and get in there with all of you, perhaps I will try to make a quick post now with what energy I have left.

  33. Zebu, your last statement about how you can be a SAHM only if your hubby does well is unfortunately true. I know my little corner is rare and I think it's sad. The option to raise one's own children should be available to all mothers ( or fathers if it works for the family).

    Gotta go get one of my kiddos to bed.


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