History of the United States
French Revolution
Decade - 1960s
Decade - 1940s
Decade - 1900s

What was life like for 1940's house wives?

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June 30, 2009 10:12PM

though I was only a child, I certainly watched my mother and neighbors as well as my aunts and grandmothers as I grew up in the 1940's. Life was very different; most women did not work outside the home. Many homes did not have running water in the house; water was carried in buckets from an outside well, or perhaps some were lucky enough to have a pump inside. Hot water heaters were almost unheard of; water was heated on top of the stove (ours was a wood burning cook stove) and that water was used for washing dishes, washing clothes and bathing. Needless to say, baths were weekly, not daily as they are today. My own mother made laundry soap from animal fat and lye. Most of our food was raised by my mother and father; butchered animals, raised huge gardens and canned the produce for the winter months. My mother did have a washing machine, but clothes were not tumbled like they are today; they were agitated and then we hand-cranked them through a wringer to get the water out. They were always hung outdoors to dry. Everyone baked bread, pies and pastries at home; a loaf of store-bought bread was a seldom purchase and there certainly were not the varieties that we have today. My mother and other moms I knew, made a lot of the clothing for their families on treadle sewing machines. Most women were up at daybreak and still going strong after their children were in bed. No dishwashers, electric fry pans, slow cookers, convection ovens. I sort of chuckle when I hear women complaining today about all they have to do; Mom used to feed 25+ people at the holidays without any of the modern conveniences. I could go on and on, but will end by saying, "we ain't got it so darned tough now days."

Not sure where the above was raised, but the story told was way before the 40's. I have no memory or anyone getting up a daybreak as mentioned above. Unless this was a farm home and not in the city I was raised in Brooklyn New York and a teen in the 40's.Clothes were hung outdoors to dry there was a clothesline leading from the kitchen window strung across the yard to the house across the way. There is more and am writing a story about it. will add my link so you can follow.