1930s Housewife Challenge

Don’t laugh, but I have been asked to take part in a 1930s housewife challenge. The really funny part? I accepted.

I accepted without really thinking about it. I thought I’d just have to channel Wallis Simpson with her Luis Vuitton luggage, and get inspiration from the wallpaper I can see behind my fridge. I thought to myself, “I might be a modern woman, but I don’t need these modern fripperies. Yes! I can do 1930s!” Plus I’m interested in how people used to live, so I thought it’d be fun. This doesn’t make sense. I’m also interested in jungle survival – doesn’t mean that would be fun, does it?

I also thought it might make a good read. See what I do for you?

It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I’ll be rewarded with a trip to a day spa.

But now the day is nearly here. I’ve been given my instructions and everything I need – right down to the pink paste disinfectant masquerading as toothpaste. I’ve even been sent a few things for inspiration… check out the earrings:

Actually, I really love the compact mirror. So much so that I’m sharing a better picture of it for you:

I have to wash my hair in a bath with soap that smells of sheep. Now apart from the obvious fact that hair deserves better, in my world, baths are for children or for relaxing. They are not for washing – that’s the shower’s job and I don’t need a demarcation dispute in my home. And as for the wool-shed soap, “baaaaaa” to that.

My dishwasher has only ever been obliging and kind. It’s never hurt my feelings by commenting on my cankles, and yet I am going to shun it to wash dishes with a cake of soap that smells of mechanic (not in a good way).

I’ll be washing clothes in moth-ball smelling soap using a washboard. Being from the country, I took one look at the washboard and wanted to use it as a musical instrument. We’re just some bottle tops and a beer away from a ho-down. Yee ha!

This is my washboard.  And that is a sentence I never thought I’d say.

I will use cold cream on my face – did I mention I am living in a cold country, in a cold house, and I hate the cold? So it makes complete sense to apply the cold directly to my skin. I’ve also been given old-fashioned compressed powder and rouge. Who uses the word rouge? Even Rhett Butler can’t make it sound good. I’ll be washing my face with soap… because my skin isn’t dry enough.

I can’t use anything battery powered (minds out of gutters please), the TV or fancy kitchen gadgets. I’ve been given suggested recipes, one of which is pumpkin soup – which I make all the time so I gave a little cheer. But reading through the recipe, I remembered my blender is out of bounds. I have to push the soup through a frigging sieve. I once tried doing that to make baby food and rightly decided that life is too short. If you’re reading this thinking, “that’s what I use my sieve for” do everyone a favour and buy a yourself blender.

The children will play with old fashioned toys like blocks and teddy bears. There will be no TV or battery-powered toys. If it is raining and they can’t go outside, the whole thing is off until another day because I do not hate myself.

I’m going to approach it as though we’re on a short holiday in a rustic cabin. Yes. One of those holidays where everyone else has fun except the mother.

So who came up with this idea? Well I was contacted by a PR agency who clearly does not like me. They are representing Procter & Gamble, and the idea is to increase awareness of their everyday products. They sent me these products to show me the sorts of things they make….

… then said “Ner ner ner-ner nerrr! You can’t use them for a whole day! Now maybe you might appreciate us.”

I’m planning on doing it this Sunday, although I reserve my right to change the date. I’ll be posting about it soon after and I hope you’ll join me to laugh at my pain. I know I would.

PS: this challenge even has its own Twitter hashtag. This means you can follow the challenge while you use your modern-day products and appliances and laugh at us: #lifebeforeP&G.

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