Culture Making is now archived. Enjoy five years of reflections on culture worth celebrating.
For more about the book and Andy Crouch, please visit

from "Ghosts of Christmas Past," by Laura Vanderkam, Culture11, 3 December 2008 :: via more than 95 theses

Why would the housewives of 2008 — many of whom read Good Housekeeping — choose to spend so much less time cooking and cleaning than their grandmothers did? You can’t blame the lack of technology for grandma’s intensity; ads for Norge dishwashers and Spam show that labor-saving devices and prepared foods existed in 1958.

Instead, the answer might be found in another striking difference between the 1958 Good Housekeeping and its 2008 counterpart. There is almost nothing in the older magazine about parenting. There are instructions on making clothes for your kids, but little about nurturing their souls or brains. In 2008, on the other hand, one of the longest articles is about “Staying Close to Your Teen” by doing crafts together, jamming to her music, or learning about his hobbies. An essay by Anna Wulick talks about teaching Hanukkah traditions to her daughter; a “Book Bonus” excerpt from Amy Dickinson’s new memoir recounts introducing her daughter to God and teaching her that “when prayers go unanswered, you learn to change your prayers.”

Indeed, reading through the two Good Housekeping issues back to back, it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that, on the whole, American culture is far more child-centered now, in these days of two-income families, than when most women stayed home. If the 1958 Good Housekeeping is any indication, many moms in the June Cleaver era were too busy brushing the nap of their electric blankets to ponder how best to bond with their teens. As women’s time has become more valuable, though, because so many are working, working moms have chosen to spend their limited time not sewing tops for their kids, but playing, talking, and praying with them instead.