Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Two Things For the Homemaker

Window Dressing II
Window Dressing II
Art Print

Warwick, Dwayne
Buy at AllPosters.com

Dressing for the home is important, because it sets the tone for your day. When you aren't feeling well, it helps just to dress well. It seems to improve your mood and even your health. It is important to dress up when things are not going well. When the house is in chaos and the family is full of troubles, it is so debilitating that the homemaker may feel too low to dress up. Dressing up, however, helps you to rise above some of these problems. Even if the problems do not go away instantly, at least anyone who is troubling you, will see that you were not crushed by their remarks or their actions.

When the house is in disarray, it is good to dress up because it helps you approach the problem areas in a professional manner. You feel you are dressed for something important. You may be more careful and more methodical in what you are doing. It makes you less irritable if you will dress up. You can see a sample of feminine dress at http://www.thepleasanttimes.blogspot.com/ It looks on the surface as though we are too dressed up but these are sturdy, cotton clothes and they withstand the rigours of housework, cooking, cleaning, and care of children.


All around you may be things you need to clean up or put in order. You may be making the problem worse by neglecting your appearance. If you have to go somewhere, you'll be prepared, if you are properly dressed. Jeans, racing pants, shorts, leggings or sweats just do not inspire me and do not make me feel ladylike or delicate and feminine, so I wear skirts and dresses even at home. I wear leggings underneath. Even if the day is going to be "ordinary" and no one is coming to tea, I try to dress up. If I don't, those nice clothes hang in the closet and go out of style and just take up room. I like to wear them out and then get something fresh and new. Dressing up for the day really helps me feel more organized.

Aria by FirelightAria by Firelight
Art Print

Gibson, Judith
Buy at AllPosters.com



The second thing that helps the homemaker is the appearance of the home itself. When it is dark, dreary, messy, unclean, cluttered and lacking in beauty, it puts a damper on her mood. It makes it hard to get motivated and really keep house.

When women wanted to be homemakers full time, and the home was exalted as the most important element of society, the appearance of the house was of utmost importance. The decorator herself was considered even more important. She knew that the house would have an effect on a person's spirit. Life was more than just eating and sleeping. Everything was to be noticed--things in nature and in daily life.

The appearance of the home could ennoble or debilitate those who resided there. The way it is kept has a refining influence on people, and can have a motivating effect on members of the family. We recently visited an Italianate historical home and noticed that you could not go but a few steps before something beautiful or ornate caught your attention: a column, a ledge with carvings on it, a painted scene on a wall, staircase rails with raised work. Even the steps and porch leading up to the doorway--the doorway being embellished with interesting designs, evoked a feeling of importance. One did not just walk into this house. One's senses were prepared on the pathway to this house. The family name was carved into the bricks on the steps. The tree on the front lawn seemed to be reflected in the woodwork in various places on the house.

In the "less is more" culture, I sometimes wondered if I should keep the pretty things that made my home cheerful and evoked the memories of home for my family. A time or two throughout my homemaking career, I tried stripping my home of all the embellishments, but the house didn't feel warm and cozy. It doesn't matter to me that it means I must dust something once in awhile. After all, I am a full time homemaker, and that is part of the job: to decorate and to maintain it. A doll and a teddy bear, a vase of flowers, a few nice pictures on the wall, and a pretty lamp will not over burden me with house work. I remember when I first got married and opened up a wedding gift: a new set of dishes, all my very own. How I enjoyed using them and washing them. As I dried each plate I felt so rich and so excited to have them. They were so beautiful and I was more motivated to have company and serve up a nice meal.

During an upheaval, such as when moving or renovating, there can be little areas set aside that still look good. We have a lot of areas in our home that are just plain grunge, but I try to have one or two rooms that look good, so that I have somewhere to go that will evoke a feeling of rest.

These two things: personal appearance, and the appearance of the home, really help boost the homemaker's energy and raise her mood to a happy level.

I always appreciated the play, "When Queens Ride By," (see sidebar for link) in which a queen dressed in her finest and rode through town in order to reassure her subjects that she was still in control and all was safe in the kingdom. It squelched suspicion and rumors. When things look right, they right themselves more easily. When things are not right, dressing up yourself and dressing up your house lets you have some power and control in at least that part of life that will influence your family

Dressing for yourself and your family is reassuring to them. When there are troubles at home, dressing up can in some way put you in control. When I was growing up I was taught that the first thing to take care of is your appearance. You do not face others until you have put your face on, so to speak. That means to wash up, brush up, dress up, and look up, before appearing to anyone else, if possible. There are exceptions, such as the young mother with a newborn baby, or the woman with very small children, but she can still bathe and put on clean clothes and look refreshed to others. That too, is stabilizing to the children, and gives her some kind of power. Somehow, when you dress up, the day doesn't seem to escape from you as quickly and things do not seem to get out of control.

Sometimes when family members are out of sorts and disagreeable, just tackling a cleaning job, or making the table look nice, or getting the living area orderly, can send a message that something worthwhile can be done, and that you are making progress. The disgruntled people are softened when they observe the homemaker's careful attention to the details of her home.

Women at home just do not realize how these two things can help them and their families and influence outsiders who ridicule their decision to stay home. There is probably much to learn also, from homemakers of the past.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is such a thoughtful post, Mrs. Sherman. I actually felt warm & happy when I read your words! Personal grooming counts, there's no doubt about it, as well as the upkeep of the home. Can anything be more important than nurturing the spirits of those we live with, & fostering a sense of & appreciation for beauty? I have a friend who would benefit greatly from reading this post. I think I'm going to e-mail it to her!

sincerely,
Brenda

Mrs.B said...

I just love it when you write posts such as this one.

Thank you!
~Mrs.B

Terri said...

Beautiful message. When I was a new mother, I would sometimes call my own mother whining and complaining whenever I wasn't feeling up to par.
She used to sound just like this post. "Get up right now, get dressed nicely, comb your hair and try to look your best."
Then she would say, "Clean up your house spotless and then call me back and we will talk some more. I promise you will feel better afterwards." I didn't believe her, and I was a little frustrated at her lack of compassion. However, I obeyed and Lo' and behold SHE WAS RIGHT! We still have a lot of laughs about that!

I'll probably say the same thing to my daughter one day! Thank you so much for brightening my day.

Hadias said...

I think that because there are so few women who study the art of being a keeper of the home they miss out on the joy of it.

I look to the keeping of my home as a life long profession which I love the majority of the time.
But for those times when I don't love it, I can look at the beauty that I have created and recieve joy.

I would equate this to the Proverbs women who works praise her in the gates.

The effort that we put into caring for our homes and ourselves will either praise us or condemn us.

These are the kinds of posts that should be put into a guidebook on homemaking.

Lady of the house said...

Thank you so much Lady Lydia! This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'm amazed at how much more gets done in a day, and smoothly at that, when I make it a point to dress, wash, and comb my hair first thing. I'm not tempted to lounge about with coffee because I just don't want to do that in a wool skirt, twinset, and pearls. I have a home to keep!! On days when I rise and start the day in my gown with my uncombed hair, things are just off track from the beginning. I also start the day off feeling bad because of what I must look like to my dear husband. With a toddler sometimes these mornings cannot be avoided, but I always try to at least brush my hair and wrap a pretty housecoat around me.

Regarding keeping the home nice, my mother always tells me, especially on my frazzled days, to settle for patches of beauty and orderliness. The whole house may not be tip top, but there is a lot to be said for a neat bookshelf, a straightened couch, even tidy dresser drawers.

This post really brightened my morning! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just what I needed to get my day started today! How true. I'll sometimes find myself in a funk, and getting my house tidied up and myself properly dressed will make 100% difference. Throw in a walk outside and I'm as good as new. Thank you for the continuing guidance and inspiration. ~ Ann

Daughter of the King said...

I will agree with dear Mrs. B.....these are posts that motivate...us to stay the course...a fresh look at our calling and just great WISDOM...You are so much appreciated ....
Deby

Nadege said...

Oh, thank you for such a timely post. I have fibromyalgia and on some days will just wake up feeling lousy. If I make a tremendous effort to "put my face on" the day is salvageable and somewhat productive. Thank you.

Nadege

BarbaraLee said...

Love the post. I dress nicely for the day that sometimes the kids ask if I am going somewhere. Unfornately I don't always wear dresses but colored jeans. It is just hard to find nice skirts/dresses. I am working on my sewing. The only time I dress sloppy is if I am helping dh in the shop. It doesn't pay to dress nice out there because I would get full of stain. But when I am in the house I dress nicely, make up and hair done.

Alexandra said...

I so agree with environment soothing the disgruntled. A clean uncluttered cheerful home helps sooth the nerves. You can definitely feel the tone upon entering someone's home.

Funny you should mention leggings under dresses...I did that today, and you can't see it at all if you pull up the legs a bit. Even peddle pusher length leggings help keep off the chill. I need to go get some. I've thought about going online to look for leg warmers...80's type ones, or like the ones for ballet practice.

Long underwear would probably be toasty in colder climates.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I find it amazing that people will pay outrageous sums of money to decorators, housekeepers and chefs to create a beautiful and orderly home but when a Woman does it for her OWN home....well, poor thing, she just must not have the mind for anything else!

Really! I am college educated and a veteran of the armed services. I have owned three successful businesses and have been working since I was a child in my family business. And it takes every resource I have everyday to manage my financial resources wisely, educate my children, feed my family nutriously, maintain our largest investment (our home) and keep the my marriage exciting and new. Outsourcing these is not an option.

And I totally agree with the incredible impact on the family good homemaking has. My toddler will not sleep well in her room if it is not tidy. Period. My husband is in law enforcement and often has to remove children from horribly decaying homes. The LAST thing he wants to come home to is one that looks like a tornado hit or is cold and empty.

Yes, I could hire people (and may hire helpers in the future should we need it) to clean, a decorator to tell us what we should have in our home, some stranger to "care" for my babies and plug in air freshners instead of making home cooked meals....put why give my life to a job when I can pour it into the people I love the most.

Many Blessings:)
Joy Gracie

Rosemary UK said...

What a heartwarming post,it is so important to dress well everyday,not only is is good for the people who see you but also for yourself.I find that once I am dressed prettily I feel like facing the day in a feminine and domestic frame of mind.I cannot understand how people can live amongst dirt and disaray as there is nothing more depressing.The comfort of home is so vital to our wellbeing.

Machelle said...

That was a very inspiring and motivating post. I first read it this morning and instantly re evaluated my outfit. In a demin skirt and sweater, I thought I looked fine, but then thought, perhaps if I put just a little more into my appearance, I'd feel more motivated for school. And you know what? I did! I felt more confident all day and more ready to get my work done.

God bless,
Machelle

Mrs. Brooke said...

Excellent post--so very true!

When I gave birth to our second child, I was very much concerned with our family looking presentable during that "transition" period. While I was in the hospital, I showered and did my full beauty routine each day...and I felt wonderful and was able to return to feeling normal so much faster than with my first (in which I gave myself six weeks to neglect everything but getting enough sleep).

We are ladies! Looking and feeling pretty is so good for our spirits!

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