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Humour me a moment. Take a second to think of your grandma, or the ladies of the past. What comes to mind? For me, it’s fresh-baked cookies, a tidy home, clothes hanging out to dry, and an apron. While we think of these things as a vintage lifestyle choice today, not so long ago they were just the norm.
Women stayed home and tended the children, house, garden and, if applicable, animals. The way they lived and operated was through hard work, perseverance, and dignity. And be damned if they were going to ask their husbands to lend a hand. No, supper was on the table when hubby walked in from his hard day’s work. He was greeted at the door with a smile and kiss.
Oh, and to top it off, these mystical women were dressed for the day with their hair done and even wore high heels! I love a beautiful shoe as much as the next girl, but you won’t catch me chasing a toddler or vacuuming in such impractical footwear.
As much as I am thankful for feminists who have paved the way for us in terms of work/home balance, voting, and general equality, it’s hard not to appreciate and admire the hardworking housewives of the past. I mean, heck, I am one now!
Wait, what? Yep, you read that right, I am a hardworking housewife today. While I take advantage of modern conveniences (and my husband’s obligation to help around the house), there are a few vintage lifestyle choices that I have adopted as my own.
Vintage Lifestyle Choice #1 – Wearing an Apron
For me, wearing an apron is a practical convenience, first and foremost. It’s handy to have somewhere to tuck in my “wiping towel”. It’s used to carry loads when my arms aren’t enough. The pockets are used to put pieces of lint, threads, and other garbage until I can get to the trash can. I wipe my daughter’s nose with it. It protects my clothes from the dirt of the day. An apron is a serious multi function tool.
Secondly, I wear an apron to get myself in the mindset of being at work. I take my role in the home seriously. When I’m wearing my apron, it’s a reminder that I’m “on the clock”. Like the magic of a Fairy Godmother, it makes me more productive and motivated. Bippity boppity boo.
But the most significant reason I wear an apron is for my kids. I want them to grow up and remember me in an apron. Wiping their noses and burying their tiny faces in my skirt. Pulling on the strings to get my attention. Developing the desire to wear their own aprons – weather literal or metaphorical.The main reason I wear an #apron is for my kids. #vintagelifestylechoices #vintage #HampersandHiccups #oldschool Click To Tweet
For Christmas my husband bought me a new Nicholas Sparks novel – Two by Two. Surprisingly, there’s 2 perfect paragraphs regarding aprons:
“It’s hard for me to imagine my mom without an apron. She seemed convinced that aprons were as essential as a bra and panties when it came to women’s wear, at least when she was at home. Growing up, she’d be wearing one when Marge and I came down to breakfast; she put one on immediately after walking in the door after work, and she’d continue wearing one long after dinner had been concluded and the kitchen had been cleaned. When I’d ask her why, she’d say that she liked the pockets, or that it kept her warm, or that she might have a cup of decaffeinated coffee later and din’t want to spill it on her clothes.
Personally, I think it was just a quirk, but it made buying her Christmas and birthday gifts easy, and over the years, her collection had grown. She had aprons in every color, every length and style; she had seasonal aprons, aprons with slogans, aprons that Marge and I had made her when we were kids, aprons with the name “Gladys” stenciled onto the fabric, and a couple of them even had lace, though she considered those too racy to wear. I knew for a fact that there were seven boxes of neatly folded aprons in the attic, and two entire cabinets in the kitchen were dedicated to her collection. It had always been something of a mystery to Marge and me how our mom went about selecting her Apron of the Day, or even how she could find the one she wanted amidst all the others.”
Just like the narrator’s mom, wearing an apron makes me happy, as crazy as that sounds. It brings me comfort and security. This vintage lifestyle choice is more than just for wiping dirty hands.
Grab your free vintage apron sewing pattern here
Vintage Lifestyle Choice #2 – Scrubbing the Floors
Now, I’ll admit this is something I’ve only done twice in our new house (more to come at a later date), but it’s something I want to work into my cleaning routine as a permanent fixture. Getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing every inch of our floor to a shining perfection is so humbling and satisfying. Not only is it a better clean, it allows you to find imperfections in the surroundings from a level you rarely get to.
In the days of Swiffers and other easy mops, it’s nice to be able to dedicate some time and elbow grease to my home. It instills pride and accomplishment. If you’ve ever scrubbed your floors you’ll know what I mean. When you finish that last swipe and sit down on your heels, back and shoulders aching, you take a nice moment to admire your completed task. It was hard. It took serious time. It was worth it.
Vintage Lifestyle Choice #3 – Sewing
I consider myself an ambitious amateur sewist. There are few projects I won’t take on, regardless of how bad I know they’ll turn out. I’ve taught myself everything I know, however crude the process. This is something I’m incredibly proud of. Being able to mend a button or hem a pair of pants is a skill every modern-day woman should know.
By adopting this vintage lifestyle choice, you will save yourself a ton of money, not to mention gain a crazy sense of accomplishment. Heck, you can even make money doin’ it! Sewing is challenging, fun, rewarding and enjoyable. Take the time to learn, and you’ll never regret it.
“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime” and all that.
Vintage Lifestyle Choice #4 – Hanging Clothes to Dry
- Save some bucks
- Fresh smelling clothes (without chemical softeners or dryer sheets)
- Enjoy the beautiful outside weather – this is great for my mind & body!
- All around happiness
- No wrinkles!
- More likely to fold right away
- Get the kids outside (they love to help when they’re young, too)
Vintage Lifestyle Choice #5 – Using Linens
So, does everyone love using the term “linens” or is that just me? I feel so refined. Like I’m polished and well-kempt.
I’m going to go ahead and sum all of our reusables into this category. The truth is, we try not to buy anything disposable (except toilet paper). Some of the common things we do not buy:
- Plates & Cutlery
- Table Cloths
- Feminine hygiene products (newly added to my list)
- Paper Towel
- Razor – currently researching
My own grandmother, a housewife of the ’60s + ’70s, shakes her head at me for not using paper products. As someone who had no choice but to use “real” cloth for these things, she embraces the convenience of particular items.
We choose to not buy convenience items for a variety of reasons:
- Cloth is way prettier!
- Eco-friendly (reuse + re-purpose)
- Saves us a lot of money!
- Great way to re-use rags/use up fabric stash
- Teaching our kids the value of things and how to be eco-friendly and innovative themselves
I was at a local trade show selling some of my handmade reusable items when a friend of mine was commenting how she could never not use paper towel. I told her it’s amazing how easily you get used to it, and don’t even miss the disposables. Skeptically, she asked if I would feel the same when I had to clean up my future kids’ puke.
Now, in my 20+ months of being a mama, I’ve only had to clean up vomit once, but let me tell ya, I definitely wasn’t wishing I had disposable paper towels.
For anything that can go in the washing machine, we use homemade paper towel, otherwise we use rags that we’ve made from old t-shirts, etc.
When you find yourself wishing there was another way, find one.
I’m all about adopting a vintage lifestyle choice. I believe I was meant to be born in the pioneer days – I would have been right at home there! My dream is to live totally off the grid one day.
Eventually I’ll get around to writing a full series on our disposable alternatives, but for now, leave a comment or send me an email with any questions you might have!When you find yourself wishing there was another way, find one. #vintagelifestylechoices #vintage #oldschool #pioneerdays #HampersandHiccups Click To Tweet
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