So, in the early 1900s, the lives of your average homo sapiens sapiens was fairly similar to how it had been for the preceding thousand or more years. Yes, technology had made it so that rather than work the fields, people worked in factories, rather than live spread out in rural areas and many had started moving to cities where more jobs could be found. Still, most human beings were living similar cycles to their parents of childhood, and then adulthood.
The average marriage and child-birth happened in the early twenties, for many women even earlier. They were married to their husband, who was the head of the household and the main wage earner. Taking care of a house was a full-time job, where floors had to be scrubbed by hand, in some cases using sand or other materials. Water had to be picked up at public pumps or springs, then carried back to the house and heated over a wood stove, which, made chopping and carrying wood a major prerequisite for being able to heat water, and cook food. Clothes were cleaned either in a river, or by heating up enough water to clean them by hand.
So, a stay at home mother, had much work to do in the house in the early 1900s. The father on the other hand, most likely worked 6 to 7 days per week, up to 12 – 15 hours pr day, to put food on the table. This was similar to both rural and urban families. The male children from the age when they were able to contribute either worked in factories, selling papers or working the fields. The female children started helping their mother out in the house from an early age preparing food and cleaning.
Prior to the industrial revolution, and the growth of factories, most rural boys grew up working with their father, possibly grandfather, uncles, and other men in the fields. This acted both as male bonding, but also as the education of the young boys in the ways of men. The girls would be assisting their mothers in the house, bonding and learning how to become a good wife. Continue reading