Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Staying Home is Not a Waste of Time if You Don't Waste It

I am a big fan of Lady Lydia's blog, Home Living. This article is just one of many that I appreciate, but I wanted to share it because it was encouraging and challenging to me.

Staying Home is Not a Waste of Time if You Don't Waste It

I am sure that some women feel that staying home is taking the "easy" way in life, but like any job, it has its joyful times and its grunge times. When most women were homemakers, they learned what to do with the time they had. I can tell you just a few things that are important.

1. Meals and clean dishes are a priority.
2. Clean clothes are next, and in most cases, outer clothing can be worn more than once before washing, so that the laundry pile is limited and does not get really overwhelming.
3. A clean floor and a sanitary bathroom is necessary.

Things that are not necessary:

1. Gourmet meals are not important. Families can be happy with very simple food.
2. Entertainment is not a priority. A lot of time is wasting watching television.
3. Impressing other people is not something a homemaker needs to do.

There are no set ways to keep house, because every family has a slightly different way of life. As long as it suits you and your family's schedule and style of living, that is what is important.

As for what you should be doing to fill up the time, women usually had needlework and interesting hobbies like knitting or sewing, painting, writing, etc. that they did when they are not doing the main things of the home, such as meals and getting people ready for the next day. If you will visit antique stores, you will see that a lot of this crochet and embroidery is now surfacing from estate sales.

These are works of art that were most often done in the home, during a lull in family activity, while waiting for something, or inbetween jobs of the house. Most women liked to keep busy, and doing things with their hands created some results like doilies and runners and table cloths, curtains, and various items of clothing. You can still see some of these things in the antique stores. They are highly treasured by collectors and by people like me, who know they represent the time and patience of women who loved their homes and wanted to make them beautiful.

I find it fascinating that even though our mothers at home were very busy, they still did something like this. Some of these women still talk about the "slower life" when they made their own soap or baked a pie, and yet still managed to knit a hat or a pair of socks for every member of the family in winter. They were not in their cars all the time, and the family car was reserved for the breadwinner, so they learned to stock up on things they needed, in order to spend a lot of time at the home place. Catologs contained handicraft kits you could order, which would also include books that helped you learn to knit or crochet or some other thing.

Being at home did not mean complete confinement. There was plenty to do, and if women wanted to, they could always read a good book. Some of our mothers spent a lot of time reading. In those days, people would go through their books and magazines and load them up into a big box, and give them to someone else. After they finished reading them, they would pass them on to another family. Not all the books were good, but it was easy to find some valuable reading material that would absorb a woman at home.

The important thing about being home and having the responsibility of the family and the house, is not that others think it is okay, or that anyone approves, but that it is something that God gave us permission to do. By being able to be home, women are freed from the repetitive work and endless travelling to and fro, to get a paycheck. At home, they have the liberty to use their creativity to guard their husband's money and help him make a profit. They are home to guard the family posessions and see that everything is cared for.

Over the years, there has been an attitude that it doesn't matter how we treat our clothes, our sheets and blankets, our furniture, or our dishes, but if they are treated gently and cleaned properly, repaired, and stored adequately, they will last much longer and not require replacement, which will mean there will be less money going out. The purpose of women at home go far deeper than just being in the house. She is on guard. She is looking for ways to be effiencient with time and money. She is learning to be resourceful by using things she already has. She also preserves her marriage, because her time and her emotions are not divided between the outside world and home. She has more time to think about her husband and more time to take care of him. She will be better-rested and have more patience to listen to his troubles.

There have always been women who will waste their time at home, complaining of boredom. That does not mean it is a standard or a truth. It just means they haven't learned how to deal with the responsibilities of the home. The Bible says that they should keep house, lest the word of God be blasphemed. It is like saying that Christians are supposed to be "good," but if a woman has let her house go to ruin and decay, it is a shame, because it doesn't glorify God.


~Tammy~ said...

This all makes great sense!

My Husband's Southern Grandmother came through the depression and had an abundant amount of crochet and quilt tops to show for it. She also passed on books. I've read many of the Westerns she passed to me...LOL...they are better than nothing...

Charree said...

I really like what this post said. It is so true. Thanks for sharing it.

Mrs. Homemaker said...

Thank you. I wasn't aware, but I really needed to hear that this week. Take care of the things that I have: my family and our home. Take care of those and everything else will fall into place... Women back then were so strong, I hope that I was able to inherit some of that strength and wisdom!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing that post. I was just over at Lady Lydia's earlier today, but I had never read this one.

Many excellent pointts. Much that I needed to hear.


Mo said...

Thanks for posting the article. I have found myself saying that many young girls need to hear and learn things like that.......but many older women need it, too.
If the young girls learn it, they will wish to stay at home, if the older women knew it, they would stay at home!

Anonymous said...

I just have to ask whether the owner of this site and those who post here have always felt this love toward staying home and homemaking.
I have to admit that this was not what I had planned for my life and I do not always deal well with it.
Where I live, people do not drop by, ever. It's hard to get someone to come over by invitation. Everyone is so busy that they have no time, even within the Christian homeschool group I am in.
I would love to find someone to talk to. I need to move from being here because I have to be (long story) to where I am at least content with being here at home.

Kelly @ The Barefoot Mama said...

FANTASTIC post, dear Mrs. U!

I'm saddened when people insinuate that I must be whipping up Martha-esque meals every night, eating off of my sparkling kitchen floors for three meals a day or starching my hubby's pants with zest. Sad not for myself but for them, because they don't realize that the life of a homemaker isn't in the glitz that we could present to the world but in the small tasks that make our family's life run efficiently and in a godly manner.

Great post!

Melissa said...


Everyday homemakers are fighting to hold on to the honor that comes with homemaking. You are not the only one with a fight.....

Mrs. U said...

Dear anonymous,

You said "is this some kind of a cult? how strange...
hello then from the real world. here, women work and enjoy it. here, women no longer view needlework as a sufficient challenge. here, women do not need to stay at home knitting socks for their hardworking husbands.
i too like to knit and bake and make jam, WHEN I HAVE THE TIME, that is, not busy working or looking after my child, but i know there is more to life.
women "back then" were not equal to men and therefore robbed of any earning power and relegated to the kitchen. women "back then" fought so that some of us (like me) could achieve more than a well knitted sock."

You sure do sound angry. Why? If you are so happy with your feminist life, why in the world are you reading homemaking blogs where women love being wives and mothers?

I do live in the "real world" and I do have a job. I have a career that I wholeheartedly love- caring for my family. And guess what? It is my CHOICE to do this, too. Why do feminists have a problem with a woman CHOOSING to stay at home?

For the record, I cannot knit a sock or anything else for that matter. :)

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

I always try to take care of blankets especially those that my grandmother made. However my husband is disabled is unable to work. I work and he tries to do those things like dishes meals etc. It bothers me very much that I dont alwasys have the time to do those extra things around the house. I so appreciate your blog.


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