The critics may do well to observe what it would be like when the home is neglected. The state agencies regularly remove children from houses where filth is prominent and conditions are unhealthy and unsafe for them.
People who have had their children removed from them by the state, have been ordered to take a series of parenting classes in order to get their children back. (I don't think the state should have such authority, nonetheless, in such cases it is a cue to us to step in and help women learn to keep house, possibly preventing state intervention).
Do you ever wonder how it is that something so basic as the house/home, can come to be so neglected? There are some excuseable reasons where the home will be temporarily out of function, such as illness or moving, or other upheavals, but I've only recently learned that many girls getting out of school and getting into their own place, do not understand the basics of cleanliness and order. It is a pity that they had to spend 12 or more years in institituions which gave them few real life skills.
The homeschool girls, and those who observed mothers that were full time homemakers , seem to "pick up" homemaking by daily association with it. They know what to do, almost automatically. They love their homes, are familiar with the kitchen, and always keen to find ways to make it function just right. Their sewing skills, often absorbed at home by watching their mothers sew, or learned online in the comfort of their own homes, are above and beyond anything I have ever achieved, and I've been sewing since I was a girl. This leads me to the proverbial conclusion that good habits are taught, as well as "caught."
I once met a woman who had by all accounts a hopeless background in homemaking. Her mother was not interested in it, and neglected her own home, causing her children to be removed and put into foster care. Years later, through studying good books on the home, and visiting around to different women whom she admired, she lives in such a way as to remove all doubt about her background.
Her house is clean, orderly and beautiful. She loves her home, and values her life. She hosts others in her house for simple things like afternoon tea. She uses her home for good. she isn't just "sacking out" as we used to say--meaning laying around and letting filth and clutter accumulate.
She is watchful for things like unpleasant smells, laundry that needs doing, floors that need cleaning, and dishes that need to be washed and put away. Her life is orderly unless she is not feeling well or has just returned from a trip. If her house is ever neglected, she has confidence that her goal is to get it back in order, even if she can't do it at the moment.
Although she has a small dwelling, she has managed to put precious things in it that have meaning to her and are beautiful to look at. I've often said that if you must be focused on the home, you can surround yourself in beauty.
Why do we like visiting certain shops that give us delight? Why do we smile when we walk into a shop full of beautiful things for the home? Because they are presented in a way that "sells" to us. We can do the same thing inside of our houses by the way we arrange things, by their color, by the scents, and the shapes. ( I particularly like ovals, because it gives a relief from squares and rectangles, in pictures, tables, dishes and mirrors. I find it softens the look of a wall and gives the home a friendly feeling.)
If a woman's "Place" is not in the home, then whose place is it? Is there a danger of having this wonderful arena for teaching, creativity and building family bonding, removed from us and being replaced by agencies outside of the family? My feeling is that the more you care for your home,
the more you win the war that is being waged against the home and the family. Your example alone is a great encouragement to many lost young women who don't understand the potential of the house and the family.
History books in the U.S. used to applaud 17th century Holland, because, although it was a tiny country, it was made to look spacious by the neatness and cleanliness, which was attended to in large part by the women who stayed home to manage the house. They swept the areas of the streets just in front of their own houses. Their motto was "cleanliness is next to godliness." Now, we know that is not in the Bible, but it was simply their national way of glorifying God and honoring the home.
The Pilgrims that came to America, first went to Holland and stayed a few years while their ship was being built. As a result, they adopted some of the customs of that country, including the famous saying, which they passed on to the generations that they would produce in America. This national hertitage of Holland is now only viewed in history books, as so many women today seek full time careers and barely have time to keep house. One man who visited Holland recently said, "I don't even know if they remember that phrase used to be a source of pride to them."
The culture of the home can be restored even if just one woman took up the challenge to be responsible for making it a healthy and safe environment for all those who enter. She should think "what would this house be like if I were entering for the first time?" and work towards making it pleasant. This might include cleaning, removing items that do not belong, and placing a vase of flowers in the foyer. Think of the way that a beautiful hotel "greets" you. It is competing with many other establishments for your business. Upon entering, the guests have to be impressed with the scents, sounds, sights and over-all "feeling" that envelopes them,
If such feelings can calm, refresh, or inspire us, then all the more essential to develop it in the home that you will spend so many days in. Make it the best. Make it better than any place you've ever seen. Make it work in such a way that you don't want to go "somewhere else" to get away from it all. Make it a place of order, beauty and relaxation. Home-keeping and home making is so vast that volumes could be written on the subject, as well as four year classes presented in Universities. The best training, of course, is growing up in a functioning home, but, failing that, there are many ways to learn. Just observe what you like in various homes and adopt them for your own.
The housewife is not only completely harmless to society, she is a great asset to its function. If it weren't for her, many businesses would close down. The homemaker is the one who determines what household items will be purchased. She has more power than she thinks, in the market place. It is her buying power that determines whether many products will thrive. What possible harm can come from a housewife's diligent attention to the home? Many women have discovered that it is such an important job, requiring apt attention, that they cannot afford to work outside the home because it divides their attention from the important matters at home.