American Futurism: Flying Postman by Arthur Radebaugh

Electric dreams or electro-nightmare?

By Dr Rebecca J. Wray

The period of 1958-1963 is referred to as the ‘Golden Age of American Futurism’. This was characterised by an optimistic outlook on the future, and in particular a vision of an easier domestic life for housewives made possible via technological wonders. This optimism was epitomised in the Hanna-Barbera animated series The Jetsons (first season’s initial run 23rd September 1962 – 3rd March 1963). The Jetsons was set in an unspecified future period in which people only worked two hours a week, drove flying cars, lived in houses raised on adjustable columns in the sky, had access to many gadgets and appliances around the home, and were served by cheerful robots who not only perform various chores and labour, but are also part of the family.

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Work vs chores. Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Separating work from home – David’s story

I currently live with my partner. We both work for the NHS as allied healthcare professionals. My partner’s job has remained relatively the same, with them going into a hospital at their usual shift times. Mine, however, has been quite different. I have had to bring a large amount of my work into the home which has brought specific challenges. The role is emotionally very demanding and it is much harder to get a sense of separation from work and the home. I have managed to create some distance by setting up an office in the spare bedroom.

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Plates on a drying rack. Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash.

Balancing work – Angela’s story

I am a menopausal mother of 4 with only our youngest (18) still at home. I work at home as a hairdresser, though much less now as finances are in a healthier place than when we had a big mortgage and all the children to support, my husband works full time for TFL. Even back then when we had a lodger living in our living room to help make our incomes stretch, I have always had a cleaner, working from home meant the house always had to be clean and I hate cleaning, I would rather do an extra set of highlights and pay someone else to do housework.

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Bathroom toilet. Photo by Filios Sazeides on Unsplash.

Balancing the burden of work – David’s story

I live with my wife who also works full time but at hours and at weekends and is quite physical that is not conducive to having time to do much housework and on her days off needs the rest. For those reasons I undertake most of the house work cleaning the bathroom and toilet, general dusting and hoovering, all cloths washing and other general tasks. We both shop and cook for ourselves and do our own ironing, although on the odd occasion she will iron my shirts. Then once every few months I will employ a cleaner for a more thorough clean.

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