My mother’s goal was to turn me into a 1950s housewife. She could imagine no other future for the young woman I was becoming. But, my mother’s vision for me was influenced by her life. She was born in the 1920s, was a teenager in the 1930s, married and had a baby in the 1940s.

She pretty much had her way with me through the 1950s. I happily wore the cute dresses she made for me, but I hated the sensible shoes she chose. She gave me perm after perm because my hair was rather straight, and she worked diligently to turn me into a beautiful young lady and accomplished housewife.

By the end of the 50s and into the 60s she began having problems with me. After some fun experimentation with make-up and judiciously wearing a girdle she bought for me so I wouldn’t jiggle, I began showing signs of rebellion.

Her efforts to teach me the wifely skills came sincerely from her goal of making me a shining example so I could find a good husband. I suspect she was no different than most of the mothers of my friends, but times were changing.

Each generation is born into a different reality than our parents are accustomed to. She didn’t understand that teenagers have to adapt to the world our parents have no idea how to prepare us for. Each generation needs new and different skills to be successful.

I tried. Oh, I did try. I even ended up performing fairly well as a young wife and mother. Though, with two young children to nurture and herd, my interest in spending my life housekeeping began to wane and the evidence of that is still apparent in my home today.

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Some things just didn’t make sense. Why the big deal about making beds? You make the bed and then you make a mess of it, only to make it again the next day. That chore went by the wayside. Until, one day I noticed how uninviting my bed was. But, I still thought spending the time making it was a waste. How to resolve the dilemma?

I decided to try “tugging” my bed. I grabbed the corner of the sheet and tugged, then the corner of the comforter and tugged. I walked to the other side of the bed and repeated the tugging. I “fluffed” the pillows and put them in place. Done! In 20 seconds!

That evening I walked into my bedroom and, with that simple tug and fluff, my bed welcomed me home.

I suspect my mother was relieved that I made any effort at all.

Dianne Roth is a mother, grandmother, teacher, and freelance writer. She can be reached at:


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