44 Years Ago In Time

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More moms today are deciding to stay home from the rat race to raise the kids. When TIME featured the SUBURBAN WIFE on its cover in 1960, few women even knew there was a choice.

The key figure in all Suburbia, the thread that weaves between family and community — the keeper of the suburban dream — is the suburban housewife. In the absence of her commuting, city-working husband, she is first of all the manager of home and brood, and beyond that a sort of aproned activist with a penchant for keeping the neighborhood and community kettle whistling. With children on her mind and under her foot, she is breakfast getter, laundress, housecleaner, dishwasher, shopper, gardener, encyclopedia, arbitrator of children's disputes, policeman. If she is not pregnant, she wonders if she is. She takes her peanut-butter sandwich lunch while standing, thinks she looks a fright, watches her weight (periodically), jabbers over the short-distance telephone with the next-door neighbor ... Spotted through her day are blessed moments of relief or dark thoughts of escape.

--TIME, June 20, 1960