Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Unique Homemaker

Five O'Clock Tea, 1883
Julius LeBlanc Stewart, American

Historians sometimes write about the uniquess of the Victorian house. Though it might have had similarities to the neighbouring house, each one was different. Those that seemed to be the same as others, had differences: different color schemes, or opposite floor plans. Unlike modern contract, or "tract" homes, Victorian houses were usually built in the honor of someone: a wife, a daughter, or parents. During the time when most homes were built for a particular family, often by the man of the house, each one had its own style, even when it was based on a master design

Recently, I enjoyed the film from Netflix, "Jefferson Davis: American President," in which I saw the beautiful country home where he grew up, built by his own father. It also showed his own home, and parts of the Capitol building that that Jefferson Davis designed. These were individual designs, not repeated exactly, anywhere else.

One of the characteristics of homemaking is that it is so individual and unique.No one of us is exactly the same as another.Though many of us base homemaking upon particular scriptures for a model, each woman is free to organize and work the way she wants, at the pace she wishes.  Each woman bases her homemaking on what she personally wants it to be. We follow a Master pattern but we are not all the same. We want the same results: happy and stable homes, with God-honoring family members who have a noble character, free from envy and strife.

 Though sometimes there are similarities to other homes and homemakers, each household is different.  These differences are dependent upon the uniqueness of the family itself: their individual history and their beliefs, their talents and preferences.

Recognizing these differences is one reason to avoid comparisons. While some women may have more material things, others may have less problems. Some women seem to know a lot about homemaking, and others only the basic skills.  Some women are not as interested in things like interior decorating or sewing. Some seem to thrive better living a simple life, with fewer things to look after, and others enjoy an abundance of beautiful furnishings and things around them.  Some homemakers like  socializing and others prefer to be left alone.

Life is not the same for every homemaker.. Some women have no children at home and still find contentment there. Others at home have  already raised their children and are enjoying leisurely years, with new enterprises or old friends.

Not everyone conducts the business of the day in the same way. Some people enjoy putting on their work clothes in the morning to really dig in and clean their houses, and then take a shower and change into something pretty afterwards for less strenuous activities.  Others begin the day fully dressed, hair fixed, ready for any outside trip they might have to make.  It all depends, I think, on what works best for each person, what work they have to do, and what stage of life they are in. 

Despite of these variations, homemakers from all eras and all cultures have a lot in common:

- Being able to make the home a place of refuge and rest for her husband.
- Making the best use of time.

  -Taking care of the house without spending a huge amount of money, and figuring out out to live within her income.
- Raising up respectful children who believe in the values that their parents teach them.
- Having a happy home atmosphere and being content.
 -Creating a clean and beautiful home.
- Allowing the home to influence others through hospitality, and extending hospitality within a reasonable cost.
 -Guarding the family from bad influences that would contribute to the breakdown of the home
-Making the best use of her time by being resourceful and creative.
-Taking care of herself and her health, and growing in love for the Lord.

In the midst of all these concerns, sometimes the homemaker has to defend her territory from the discouragers who tell her she ought have her head examined. Sometimes they will accuse her of being extreme, or a religious fanatic.  The world has made it abnormal to do normal things, like stay home and keep house. In pushing women into the workforce, they make the working women seem normal, while the homemakers are portrayed as scary and freakish.  Some women are even told that they ought to be "locked up" or committed to an institution, where they will learn to rethink the fantastic idea of staying home.  We know one thing, though: the word of God is our ultimate authority, and it gives us permission to stay home, to guide it and to guard it. We cant do that if we are away from home during most of the productive hours of the day.  We cant do that if spend too much time arguing with the naysayers.That is not to say that critics should not be rebuked. These are good opportunities to teach them what is right.  We just have to do our job, and that is also teaching--like show-and-tell. The home will, in the end, will prove its own worth.

All these things can be more prudently accomplished in the home, than by any other organization or institution. The home is the best place for everything that homebodies want to do, free from pressure to comform to a certain standard of living.


Donalacasa said...

This was absolutely beautiful and very encouraging. Thank you for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post..I was wondering do you know any history on how and why many homes were given "names"? I've often wondered this...I always thought it to be such an interesting thing. If you have any history on this I would love to hear about it. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

How you keep coming up with such splendid articles is beyond me but I so enjoy reading and learning from them. Thankyou again!

Anonymous said...

I liked the angle you took with this post. It's true that every home is different because every homemaker is different. It is easy to read blogs and think that the way another woman runs her home is how you should run your home.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember me, but I've commented a couple of times on this blog under the name "Moderate Mouse."

Shortly after I finished college in December 2008, I moved from my mom's house in Kansas to my dad's in St. Louis. That lasted until October when my dad had to have some surgery. Due to the nature of said surgery, he had to go somewhere else to recover. (The remaining length of said recovery as well as his living arrangements thereafter have yet to be determined.) For now, I'm back with my mom.

A combination of upbringing and financial obligations warrant the need for me to seek full-time employment. However, as I have yet to obtain any, whenever I'm not out seeking/returning/checking on applications, I do try to make myself useful at home (e.g. load/unload dishwasher as needed, sweep up dog hair, let dog in/out as needed, etc.). I also make a point of doing my laundry once a week. (When I was in St. Louis, the way I was expected to go about my job search--which ended up getting scrapped as a result of having to return to Kansas--involved me being constantly glued to the laptop nearly every day. Needless to say, the cleanliness of the house would slide. To me, it's more annoying to let the housework slide when the day will be spent within the confines of the home, glued to the laptop, even under the guise of "working" than for the housework to slide when one is out going to school, work, etc.)

The particular morning routine I have at this time consists of getting up (I generally do that at six), maybe grabbing a cup of coffee, getting dressed (including putting on shoes, brushing/pulling back my hair, and--depending on whether or not I'm going anywhere, job-search-related or otherwise--tying on a bandanna), making the bed, eating breakfast, brushing my teeth and washing my face, reading my Bible (NIV version for now. The church I'm currently going to has a "read the Bible in a year" program, for which they put out guides for every month), and then playing the rest of the day by ear.

One thing on my "To Do" list is to sew some buttons back on some of my clothing. I got a sewing kit for Christmas. Now all I have to do is look up how to go about sewing the buttons back where they need to be.

I'm sure when/if I'm married, have children, etc., that, job or no job, my routine will change.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia, your posts make my days so cheerful & bright; thank you!

Anonymous said...

"The world has made it abnormal to do normal things, like stay home and keep house."

Wow. I had to let that one sink in.

Also, "Guard the home." Do people even know what that means anymore? I live in a quite affluent neighborhood and every single child over the age of ten is a latchkey kid. Their mothers are driving Mercedes, and their sons and daughters are coming home from school with keys on strings around their neck, with two to three hours to kill alone in these big houses. It's like living in some sort of upside-universe.

~ Ann


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