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A Womans Place

In: Historical Events

Submitted By shiftyschick
Words 513
Pages 3
Dear Editor,

It is 1861 England, and I have just purchased “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management”. I have to say, I find this manual very helpful, as it lays out how a productive woman runs her home. Though I have to wonder how many women find the time to accomplish all the goals set forth in the book. Over the last 10 years however, since the Great Exhibition, meal preparation has gone by much faster with my new coal burning stove and other kitchen gadgets my husband purchased for me. (p.704)

The Great Exhibition has increased my workload in other areas of the home. I now have many more objects to dust and polish to keep up appearances and keep my husband happy. The dusting alone can be an all day job! As per Mrs. Beeton’s advice, I do strive to keep a clean, happy home and make sure that dinner is ready when my husband gets home. After all, “the way to a mans heart it through his stomach” (p.705). I do find that the many magazines available to me, assist a great deal with my meal preparation, though I quietly wish that there weren’t so many courses and there wasn’t so much work going into every meal.

I have seen and spoken with other women in the market place, and all but those with the extra help of household staff, seem to be struggling with these concepts as well, some even more than me. It is said that working wives and mothers are expected to keep up these standards as well, though I don’t know how one could. I do so like how Mrs. Beeton refers to us homemakers as “commanders” of sorts (p. 706), it makes one feel in charge and empowered to take control of her household duties. I just wish so much pressure wasn’t put on women to strive for perfection in all aspects of the home (home maintenance, clean perfect children and a perfect appearance). While I love my husband and my family, and I enjoy showing my love with a hot meal and a neat, tidy house, there are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes when I don’t accomplish all the tasks laid forth in Mrs. Beetons manual, I feel like less of a wife and I just wonder if any other women feel the same? I have heard there are women out there, not only sewing and doing piecework inside there homes, but working in the factories, if you can believe it. There are even rumors of a woman, Jane Austin, who writes books about love and marriage(p.707), not like Mrs. Beetons manual though…fictional books! It amazes me that these women are able to maintain their “careers”, keep their husbands happy and raise their children in a productive manner. I suppose I should be grateful that I am able to be a homemaker and do not have to demean myself by working inside or outside the home…what would society think of me then?

Curious Homemaker…...

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