Woman quits job to 'spoil husband' like 1950s housewife
Katrina Holte is not a modern woman.
After three years of happy marriage, and getting stressed out by her job in a busy payroll department, she decided in 2018 to turn back time - and live like a 1950s housewife.
That's when Katrina, 30, transformed her Hillsboro, Oregon, home into a suburban shrine to the pre-ERA era, busying herself cleaning, making dresses using vintage patterns - and getting dinner on the table by the time her husband, Lars, 28, gets home from his job as an engineering manager, the New York Post reports.
"I feel like I'm living how I always wanted to. It's my dream life and my husband shares my vision," she says as a vinyl Doris Day soundtrack plays in the background.
"It is a lot of work. I do tons of dishes, laundry and ironing, but I love it and it's helping to take care of my husband and that makes me really happy."
Yes, her closet is full of "flattering" frocks she sewed herself, and the home's decor is retro as all get-out, but it's not "like it's a museum," Katrina tells PA Real Life.
"When I look at everything that is happening in the world now, I feel like I belong in a nicer, more old-fashioned time," she says. "I agree with old-fashioned values, like being a housewife, taking care of your family, nurturing the people in it and keeping your house in excellent condition, so everyone feels relaxed."
But of course the part-time seamstress of 10 years, who sells her handmade garments online, asked for Lars' permission before leaving the workforce.
"I spoke to my husband and told him I want to be a housewife and he said that was fine with him," Katrina says.
"It was a fantastic feeling when I quit. I can do what I want to now and run my house as I want to run it. Now I'm a full-time homemaker."
A DAY IN THE RETRO LIFE
Katrina's typical day starts at 6.30am, when she wakes up and lays out Lars' clothes before preparing his breakfast and packing his lunch. After feeding herself, she does 15 minutes of "gentler" exercises from yesteryear.
"We have the idea today that we have to push our bodies to the limit, but in the 1950s, the attitude was simply that you had to take care of it," she says.
"I have a vintage slant board, which is a small wooden ramp, to do core exercises like sit-ups. I do them for about 10 to 15 minutes a day and they keep me in shape to fit into my 1950s dresses."
After her workout, she heads upstairs for a shower and "full face of vintage makeup," complete with Pond's cold cream and Revlon red lipstick, with "well-drawn eyebrows" and "traditional hot rollers to curl my hair".
When she looks her best, it's time to get to her chores.
"I will then spend a good hour doing the laundry, dusting and sweeping. I make sure everything is kept in its place," she says matter-of-factly. "After lunch, when my house is tidy and smelling fresh, I will go upstairs and sew either for myself, for my customers or to try out new patterns."
Katrina starts supper around 4pm to ensure everything is ready when Lars arrives home from work.
"I usually cook recipes from the era like pot roasts or chicken pies and make sure there are vegetables," she says. "In the 1950s, housewives liked to make sure all the food groups were there."
AS THE MAN OF THE HOUSE RETURNS
When Lars gets home, he actually likes to hang up his own coat, but Holte doesn't mind: "I read in a 1950s book that if a man wants to hang his own coat up, you should not feel like it makes you a bad housewife."
Instead, she serves him a refreshing glass of water and a plate of snacks - cheese, dried fruits or nuts - before putting the finishing touches on her entree.
"After dinner, we play board games like Scrabble, or watch our vintage shows like I Love Lucy or The Donna Reed Show," Katrina says. "Sometimes we read. I like reading 1950s cookbooks and vintage beauty and sewing magazines."
Yes, when they aren't spinning Sinatra or Day on their record player, the couple does watch TV (no cable or streaming channels, thank you) - but when it's not in use, they keep it hidden away so as not to disrupt the mid-century modern vibe.
But make no mistake, Katrina says, Lars is not a controlling hubby.
"He grew up in a house where he helped his mum with the cooking and the cleaning, so he is not domineering in any way," she says. "If I did, heaven forbid, have dinner late, he would not make a fuss, but I can tell it means a lot to him that it's normally on time."
The bottom line: "A man needs his wife to make him feel spoiled every once in a while." Besides, that's the pay-off "because he makes a lot more money than I do". "He works very long hours and makes my dreams come true, so I try to make his come true, too. It's an equal partnership," Katrina says.
LIVING BY THE GOLDEN RULE
"I think we, as women, should support each other. If a woman says she wants to be a homemaker, we should not say that's not right," Katrina says. "What's right for me might not be right for someone else. We all have to do what's right for ourselves."
Her ultimate goal is to embody a timeless, "Do to others what you want them to do to you" mantra.
"No decade is perfect, definitely we had big social problems in the '50s, but the people I talk to who lived through the era say it was a time when you could leave your door unlocked and you didn't need to worry about people breaking in," she says.
"People today have forgotten how to talk to people they don't agree with and they have lost all their manners."
She longs for a bygone era when neighbours were neighbourly.
"All the stories I've read are about women borrowing dishes or butter from each other, and the neighbourhood kids all playing together. You find now neighbours will go from the car to the garage to the house and won't speak to each other."
Katrina now looks forward to having four children - but realises that could alter her domestic bliss.
"I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my house in perfect order but we would love to have a big family," she says. "I definitely plan to put my little girls in vintage dresses, petticoats and hats, but when they get older, they can make their own choices."
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission