Friday, January 2, 2015

10 Signs You Are a Victorian Housewife

10 Signs You Are a Victorian Housewife

So many of us ladies pride ourselves on the loving homes we share with our husbands. Here are the signs you share the same values with Victorian housewives of the past -- even if just a few of the signs are relevant to you.

You could literally switch places with a woman from 1885 and feel right at home!

The Victorian era in America was a time of unbridled prosperity, style, and old-fashioned values, and you sometimes wish you lived back then ...

You are a Victorian housewife if ...

1. Your husband is the head of your home, and you make sure he feels that way.
As a housewife you are always ensuring that things run smoothly -- dinner is on time, the clothes are folded, the floor is swept, the bills are paid -- but you also make sure it is all to your husband's liking.

If he is unhappy with the way something in the house is run or looks, like a traditional woman, you always try to ensure he is happy by tweaking what needs to change.

If he tells you he likes your hair a certain way, you tend to start wearing your hair that way more.

You know a happy husband means a happy home. And happy husbands are also more agreeable to things their wives want as well.
2. You went to college but found your calling in the home.
Many middle-class women in the late 1800s went to college, mostly for teaching or the arts -- like painting, drawing, and calligraphy.

It was expected most of the women students would marry before or after graduation. Some of the most common women's jobs outside of the home were as teachers, nurses, and department store clerks.

But the most common job of all was the labor of love in the home of being a housewife. Proponents of female education in the 1800s felt that college-trained women gained worldly knowledge that would help them become better wives and mothers.
3. You own a Good Housekeeping Cookbook.
Popular cookbooks of the Victorian period emphasized meats and seafood, which were the most popular fare of the period. They also had great recipes for desserts and entertaining a crowd.

Good Housekeeping
has become the American middle and upper-middle class cookbook staple. With elegant recipes for meats, seafood, breads, salads, and full menus for the holidays, it is a housewife's best friend for cooking, meal planning, and entertaining with class.
4. You don't believe a married person should have friends of the opposite sex.
You let go of any male friends you had when you married because you felt it was disrespectful to your husband.

On the same note, you expect your husband to not carouse with women friends. Most people do not speak of this rule, but most married people still practice it.

There are many such rules in your opinion that are still part of the fabric of what keeps America together.
5. You are religious.
Traditional women in America in the late 1800s were guided by a set of beliefs that carried them throughout their life. In a society today that seems guided by all of the wrong things, you are happy to carry traditional wisdom that protects you from the storm. Even if you are not strongly religious, chances are you have heard and can appreciate verses from the Bible such as:
  • Love is patient, love is kind ... - I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. - Proverbs 22:6
  • This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24
  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16.
6. You have a tea set.
A tea set is the perfect way to serve your guests a light beverage while catching up on all the latest musings. Victorian ladies loved tea parties.

They would muse about their husbands, decorating the house, church, community events, and of course -- gossip! They would also serve cookies and mini cakes and would dress up in their latest hats and dresses for the anticipated tea party.
7. You are conservative.
You feel there is too much immorality and anger in modern society and you would like to see more marriage and less divorce.

You believe there is a set of traditional rules for courtship that still apply today.

You feel most comfortable in modest clothing outside the home, and only he gets to see you with your hair truly down.

If you have any political leanings you tend to agree somewhat with what your husband believes or are encouraged by his beliefs. You are all about the 4th of July and American pie -- a genuinely traditional lady.
8. You are soft and feminine.
You like long skirts, lace, and dramatic hats with flowers on top. You wish you could wear Victorian fashions all the time.

You like a long night gown and wearing perfume to bed. Your voice is soft and your gait is light.

Maybe you weren't always so feminine. Maybe time and marriage have softened you up a little.
9. You enjoy the culture of the 1800s.
You might not even realize that you do.

You like classical music, rhyming poetry, and English and American authors of the 19th century, like Dickens, Emerson, and Thoreau.

You like reading about the gossip of English aristocracy and royalty, whether it's about Queen Victoria's royal court or today's Queen Elizabeth II.

You enjoy classical paintings rather than abstract art.
10. You have traditionally female interests.
While the modern world has made all past-times open to women, you don't really care about that.

You like drawing, decoupage, embroidery, playing the piano, quilting, tennis, reading romance novels, ice-skating, bird-watching, and attending the ballet or orchestra.

Your husband likely does not have the same hobbies that you do but enjoys the fruits of your labor.


V. Lewis said...

I really enjoy your blog and this fun article. I just may be a Victorian housewife!!

Quaint Housewife said...

Me too! Thank you for your readership, V!

Amy Corley said...

I am working on getting the meals on time. My husband was in shock one night this week when he walked in and his dinner was ready and waiting.

Catherine said...

Amy, that is so cute. I have the same problem sometimes myself. It is hard to get all the dishes coordinated at once!

Ruthie said...

Thank you for your lovely blog, Quaint Housewife! It is a pleasure and I can really relate to the sentiments in this particular article! -Ruthie, fellow homemaker

Catherine Walker said...


You're welcome! I am glad I wrote something you could relate to as a housewife :) Thank you for your readership!


Anonymous said...

I went to college in voice while teaching piano at home. I later taught voice at a school when hubby was laid off. I am back home now. I also made money singing in concerts and playing the piano and violin. I had menial jobs around the age of 17, like rotisserie worker, waitress, cashier and receptionist. I am happy living on one income and managing the money.

Catherine Walker said...


Very feminine and very Victorian. Well-to-do homes in the 1800s always featured a piano. Singing is a great gift as well!

Quaint Housewife