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Barbara Billingsley: The Working Mom Who Played The Ideal Housewife

barbara billingsleyBarbara Billingsley may have played the ideal stay-at-home housewife on Leave It to Beaver.  In reality, she was a working mom who crafted a career that lasted for five decades.

The image of June Cleaver vacuuming in heals or welcoming her boys home with a freshly baked plate of homemade cookies with some polished pearls hanging around her neck has haunted moms for three generations.  It was an image that generations of mothers tried to live up to and as a whole failed miserably.

In reality, Barbara Billingsley was the picture of a working mother and her homelife was not ideally perfect. 

The picture perfect TV mom was a working mom who went off to work each day to show set an artificial example of the iconic housewife to the rest of us.   At the time she was shown baking cookies for Wally and Beaver, she was heading off to work and leaving her own young boys at home. 

All was not well in her love life either!  There was no picture perfect marriage to Ward Cleaver.  Barbara Billingsley had to kiss a few frogs before finally marrying her third husband in 1959. 

Note on those heals and pearls – Billingsley wore the pearls to cover a perceived imperfection in her neck and she wore the heals so that she appeared taller than the kids on camera!

So ladies take off those heals, put the pearls back in the drawer, and pay tribute to the iconic working mother Barbara Billingsley.

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