I know very few people who make clothes for their kids, let alone making preserves, cooking from scratch and all of the other things our grandmothers would have taken for granted having to do. It’s no wonder we put on those ridiculous rose-tinted spectacles when we think about the 1950s woman, especially given how they were so much more practical than us.
Our grandmothers and mothers deserve respect and acknowledgement for all that they did, but that doesn’t mean we need to beat ourselves up that we aren’t more like them.
Then, I asked my Mum: if clothes had been cheaper when I was young, would she have made us so many? Her answer: Probably not. Maybe for special occasions, but not for everyday wear. After all, why would she? It might be fun to make a dress or a costume, but having to make clothes all of the time would have just turned into an unpleasant chore.
I imagine that the 1950s woman would have been the same – if they had access to cheaper goods or had more choices, they wouldn’t have necessarily been such practical domesticated goddesses either. Some may still have chosen to spend their days ironing, sewing, cooking and cleaning. But plenty of others would probably have spent their free time on Facebook, and looking at funny pictures of cats online. Our grandmothers and mothers deserve respect and acknowledgement for all that they did, but that doesn’t mean we need to beat ourselves up that we aren’t more like them.
And, in the meantime, I really should get on with making that dress for my daughter. Whether it be for a hobby or for necessity, I feel that my children ought to hear the whir of a sewing machine at least once this year. If they don’t, I really ought to have just gone to K-Mart.