Monday, July 6, 2015

WAHM's of the 1950's - Work At Home Mom's the 1950's Way.

Recently my 9 year old daughter asked me if I "worked". I happily told her "Yes, I do". I am responsible for all the up keep of the home, as well as her laundry, meals, shopping and cleaning and much more. So yes, it's work. She then reminded me that I have sold on Ebay and Etsy for a long time. Yes, I've been selling "stuff" online for a long time, but mainly vintage. It's been almost 15 years since I started on Ebay way back when. I remember Etsy when it first started and had only a few hundred shops. I have actually not ever really considered myself a WAHM, A.K.A work at home mom who actually earns income. It was just something I did, or do. In my former marriage there was not a lot of financial stability and that just became something I did to make ends meet. To pay a bill, to buy kids clothing, ect. However small or large, many women who are SAHM's go on to actually earn income and are WAHM's as well. Like myself. Maybe we should be called "SWAHM's".

I adore vintage 1950's women's magazines. Some of the vintage magazines I read are Household Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman's Day and Family Circle. If I am to learn all I can about being a 1950's housewife, I believe these are a treasure trove of information. I can get lost all day reading vintage women's magazines.

I believe the women of the 1940's and 1950's were talented, frugal, and savvy. Many were stay at home mom's but also worked from home too. A closer look at my 1950's women's magazines reveals the small work at home mom advertisements promising quick, easy, cash.

Today' work at home mom advertising is much different and may I say; complicated. Head over to google and use the search term wahm and it give's us 436,000 results. Many of those results could possibly lead to dead ends and money out of our pockets for nothing in return.  Pretty overwhelming to say the least. I wish it was as simple as sending a clipping from a magazine to get information about selling nylon stockings to local housewives. Some things haven't changed much over the years. Women are still crafting and selling their wares using Etsy and other internet platforms. The repressed housewife stigma may still linger. If we dig a little deeper we can see so much more of what these women were like and what they accomplished for themselves and their families.

Thanks for Reading! Happy Housewifing!


  1. Wasn't life simpler back then? I find most things far too complicated these days when they really don't need to be, I dread being thrust into the modern world where I have to deal with modern matters with modern methods.

  2. I would love to be able to work from home, but I love teaching too. I say I have the best of both worlds because I'm home by four and I work 188 days a year ( or at least that's what my contract says but I could argue that point lol). I do get to be a housewife more than most women with outside jobs so I really can't complain.

  3. Back then I remember many women did work outside of the home a day or two. They cleaned their church or pressed or mended the churches linens, worked on church or school bazaars and helped at our schools. Some painted figurines from home and had a sale once a year at their house, some taught music at home. One lady worked on the school board. They were always busy doing something. My mother made candy from home and sold it seasonally. Like now, they thought they did not have enough hours in the day to do it all. In some ways it was a simpler life and in other ways not so.
    Many women did not drive so getting to town took much longer. Carrying home groceries or other things on the bus plus kids was no easy task! :-) To dry the clothe my mother and the other mothers got out the clothes lines each Monday and hooked them round the yard and put up the wood poles to kept lines high..that before they could hang the clothes out..then take them all down and start ironing. We heard less world news to worry us. No computers or cell phones or instant messages to keep us alert and stressed 24/7. Just the Korean War and Nuclear war scares etc. When the phone rang you got the one phone off its rocker and after telling them what residence they connected to. Asked who the call was for and walked to that person and told them to come to the phone to talk to the person. Walk, walk, walk. + time. Less appliances to keep clean and running, but also less to help us. I will say my growing up was a gentler time though. I lived in a rather small town and knew all our neighbors and walked to town and all over. Every summer though all the parents dreaded it. Summer is when someone's child would come down with polio. Every summer. You can imagine then the relief and celebration when we finally had a vaccine for it. I remember the first sugar square with it in it. I have sad and wonderful memories of growing up like all of us do. I wish though we could have closer communities and gentler times. That kids could play hide and seek by the street lamp on a summers night and not worry about a bad person lurking around. Not that there were's weirdos then too but it seemed less of a shadow over our lives then. As a kid we worried about riding our bikes across a busy street more than a person hurting us. And at 10 we road our bikes with our friends for miles every chance we got . To a relatives or the corner candy store. All over. I miss the sweet clothes we wore and the ironed pretty dresses the women wore...with hat and gloves we wore too town. Never pants. You had home work clothes and church/town clothes but you always tried to look nice. Lady like. Nothing sloppy or unmended. I wish other s could somehow see the world back then as I can in my memories. Each person would have their own thoughts on it of course. It was a simpler time like everyone said but also had many other part that tore at people's hearts with less chance of living if a person had a health problem of any kind. In grade school my little girl friend had an open heart operation and everyone figured she would die. Hearing aids even for kids were bigger then than a man's shirt pocket. Many advances people back then could never imagine. Asa we wonder today about the newest of the new when it happens. All this to say I love our blog and outlook on life and wish I could take you back to meet the wonderful people I knew and get to live life as it was then. Sarah

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