Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Homemaking 101...

As I search to try to find myself in this new life of mine, I keep receiving the prompting that I need to focus on being a homemaker. Not a housewife, but a master homemaker. When done right it can actually be very rewarding. So I dusted off this book, The Art of Homemaking, that was given to me several years ago by my mother in-law. Let me clarify that my mother in-law didn't give it to me and say, "Here I think you need this." Because that would have been unkind and I don't want to give the impression that my mother in-law is unkind. I got it from her when she and my father in-law were downsizing and invited us to take any books from their library that we wanted. I was curious about this book and actually found it to be very interesting and helpful. It is very "old fashioned" as it was written in the 60s (very June Cleaver) but sometimes I think we could use some tips from the master homemakers of the past. The book starts with a poem that I love to read when I'm feeling overwhelmed by my daily chore list. It's by an unknown author and it really puts things into perspective.


Grandmother, on a winter's day, milked the cows and fed them hay,
slopped the hogs, saddled the mule, then got the children off to school,
did a washing, mopped the floors, washed the windows, and did some chores;
cooked a dish of home-dried fruit, pressed her husband's Sunday suit.
Swept the parlor, made the bed, baked a dozen loaves of bread,
split some firewood, and then lugged in enough to fill the kitchen bin;
cleaned the lamps and put in oil, stewed some apples she thought would spoil;
churned the butter, baked a cake, then exclaimed, "For heaven's sake,
the calves have got out of the pen!"--went out and chased them in again.
Gathered the eggs and locked the stable, back to the house and set the table,
cooked a supper that was delicious, and afterward washed up all the dishes,
fed the cat and sprinkled the clothes, mended a basketful of hose;
then opened the organ and began to play, "When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day."


That makes my dirty dishes, my baskets of laundry that need folding, and my other neglected chores not seem quite so bad.

The author also introduces the concept that the ideal homemaker is like a diamond, perfectly cut so as to bring out countless beautiful highlights. She says just as each diamond is cut a little differently in order to make many facets, so is each homemaker a distinct individual with her own special traits and talents. But in both diamonds and homemakers, certain qualities must be present if each is to sparkle brilliantly and thereby be valued and cherished.
She goes on to list the facets of an ideal homemaker. There are 20 of them, and though parts of them can seem a little funny or strict for today's world, I think wisdom can be found if we take what we can from them.

So because I am trying to focus on becoming a master homemaker, I am going to take a facet or two at a time and make working on them my goal for the week. If you want to try it with me check back on Monday, that's when I'll start. Remember it's a little June Cleaver, but if you read it with a modern eye I think it can be very beneficial.


The Cranes said...

I think often, when I am overwhelmed by things, how much easier we have it than our ancestors. I'm interested to hear the 20 facets and try them out.