She rose before dawn to get breakfast on the table. A pioneer wife knew the importance of putting a hearty meal into her husband’s stomach so she fixed things with a lot of protein, although back then she didn’t know what protein was. It was always meat of some sort—bacon, sausage or steak. Eggs were a staple as were biscuits. Sometimes they had flapjacks too. The men often carried extra biscuits with any leftover meat in their pocket to nibble on through the day because they seldom got lunch.
So, here is a partial list of the housewife’s jobs:
- Getting the children up, dressed and fed
- Feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs
- Milking the cow
- Washing dishes
- Setting bread dough to rise for baking later
- Making a lunch for the children and getting them off to school
- Feeding and caring for the baby if she has one
- Washing and ironing
- Weeding and collecting vegetables from the garden
- Cleaning house
- Start supper immediately after eating a bite of lunch herself
- Churn butter
- Put supper on the table
- Wash dishes, then maybe sit with her husband and crochet, knit, or darn holey clothes
- Get the children ready for bed
- Soak beans to cook the next day
This isn’t near all but I got exhausted just making the list. Of course, some things she didn’t have do every day. Like laundry. That was usually done once a week. And when the kids got old enough they took over gathering eggs and milking the cow.
But still, the average woman back then had a child every year like clockwork. That only added to her long list. And, she was never allowed much time to recover following childbirth. A week at the most but often only a day or two.
My question….how lucky do you think we have it today? How long do you think you’d have lasted back then? I wouldn’t have made one entire day. But I’m kinda wimpy. Maybe you’d have done better.