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Rose Senese Watson set out in search of the answer in 30 Days of Perfection: One Woman’s Domestic Time Warp, a non-fiction first hand account of her trip back in time. Newly married, immediately pregnant and suddenly on leave from teaching, Rose had so many dreams and expectations for her new career as stay-at-home spouse. Without the everyday grind she would become the new June Cleaver, the perfect homemaker for the 21st century. Soon after she gave birth however, reality set in. She was a failure at a job women have been doing since the beginning of time. Rose decided to conduct an action research project, a tool often used by teachers to improve their practice as educators, to improve her practice as homemaker and write herself out of the rut she was in. She used The Good Wife Guide: 19 Rules for Keeping a Happy Husband published by Cider Mill Press in 2007, a book she discovered as she searched online for a "Housekeeping for Dummies" manual. It is a compilation of rules that were originally printed in the mid 1950s in the Ladies Homemaker Monthly. Rose followed these rules for 30 days and kept a detailed journal, this is her story.
There’s a common image of the perfect 1950s housewife, batch-baking in her frilly apron, that many tried to emulate, but the reality has long since become skewed by the rose tinted lenses with which we often cherry pick the past. Indeed, there are a number of go-to books for authoritative facts of life for women in the 1950s, but what relevance do they have in today’s world and more importantly what can we learn from them? In Thirty Days Of Perfection Watson puts time bound principles and practices to the test to create a sentimental, lucid and thoughtful reflection that challenges the classic stereotype. Vividly readable, it’s a step out of time which is both entertaining, poignant and inspiring and is sure to leave many of her readers deep in thought as her action research project yields an intriguing viewpoint and a genuine appreciation of the many ways in which society has changed. It’s hard not to read Watson’s epiphanies and reflections without a knowing nod or admire her tenacity in committing to a host of antiquated rules which are best left in the past. More importantly, Watson’s 'New Rules' remind us of how far 20th-century women’s lives changed and how far we have come.
Sharply written, often humorous, Thirty Days Of Perfection might turn back the clock, but it’s relevance to the present proves unerringly timely and it’s definitely recommended.
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Rose Senese Watson, formerly a special education teacher, is currently a stay-at-home mother of two. At this time, her official job title is CEO of the Watson family. Job description: everything.
About Rose Senese Watson