How Quarantine Turned Me Into The Perfect 50's Housewife

Monday, April 27

By Sophie Byrne

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santanya.

Here you are in the spring of 2020 withering inside while the plants outside bloom and thrive. Memories of the summer of 2016 replay in your head like a broken record. Quarantine: a void of despair. 


Here I am, with a parade of presented opportunities. Opportunities to be cleaner; opportunities to be neater; and opportunities to be better. Thanks to quarantine, I've introduced my family to countless baked goods and presented a more organised version of myself. That's when I asked myself, when did I start living so similarly to the '1955 Good House Wife's Guide'. 

If you do not know about the '1955 Good House Wife's Guide', I'll fill you in. Imagine you bought a lego set. Picturing it? Well, the lego set comes with a manual on how to build the structure on the front of the box. You now have a choice to make. You can use the pieces to create something entirely new and unique; or you can create the intended model. The House Wife's Guide is that manual. 50's husbands had the choice to make their wives into one-of-a-kind people but chose instead to follow the manual. Wives of the 50s were pretty much factory-made. 

Yet, I bake a single batch of brownies and clean my room and suddenly I'm in a bouffont dress awaiting the return of my hardworking husband. Clutter is gone. My political opinions are gone. I have achieved time travel through a pair of yellow rubber gloves, an apron, and way too much spare time. Speaking back to a man? Completely absurd. When quarantine bids us all farewell and the fever dream which was once our normal lives returns, I'll be the queen of the kitchen. 

Oh if the girls could see me now under my false sense of productivity comparing myself, in my lazy day leggings and messy unbrushed hair, to them. 70 years on and wondering why we're still bound to the kitchen, whisking away our problems. More importantly wondering why I haven't taken the time to look good doing it.

Of course, this untold symptom of the coronavirus hasn't just affected me. History is repeating itself on a global scale, from the housewives of the States to the Orient. Males and females alike stand together with feather dusters in hand, ready to tackle to the ever-present quarantine boredom by accidentally going back 70 years. Bored to the point of productivity. Productive to the point of bringing back a dead era. Still, at least the house is clean. 

Though of course, I do not mean this entirely. The House Wife's Guide states the importance of looking good for others and frankly, I'm not ashamed to say I haven't worn makeup for a few weeks now. Who is there to look good for in quarantine? The mailman you awkwardly wave at from a distance? Own the natural look. Shave your head. Dye it pink for all I care. Quarantine is a lawless land. Online videos are circulating of people cutting their own bangs and dying their own hair using makeup and coffee and other such household items. Chaotic compared to my new quiet lifestyle. Upon finding these videos I often wonder to myself what I would have done if I hadn't discovered this classic style of life.

Instead, I have reached a point where slaving away in the kitchen does not bother me. In fact, the idea of tying up my hair and preparing a delicious dish for my family brings joy, comfort and a sense of duty.

So in the future, when my kids look up to me from the dining table and ask "mother, what was the quarantine of 2020 like to you?" I'll step out of the kitchen, take off my rubber gloves and say:

"Well, kids, I travelled back to a much stranger time."

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