A week or so ago, I was thumbing through Sunday's paper when I found an article about people who had changed their careers later in life. One guy was retired military and now he was teaching high school. One couple had given up their high incomes as successful salespeople on opposite schedules and were now together all the time, driving a big rig for a living.
But the one that struck me was the lady who started her own yarn store. Apparently, the local Wal-Mart or Woolworth's didn't carry a huge selection of yarn, so she decided to open her own store. The store is growing so much that they have classes teaching a new generation to knit. "It's what moms and grandmothers used to do," the proprietor said. And this lady is capitalizing on it. Good for her; bad for us.
Why aren't we learning "homemaking" skills from our mothers and grandmothers anymore?
I have read several book over the last year imploring women to recognize and accept their appointed roles in the home. It has been eye-opening and inspiring to me because with all honesty, when I am on top on my game, being a stay-at-home-mom is boring.
This time last year, I told Brian that I wanted to go back to school and finish my degree because I felt my brain turning into mush. I was literally bored out of my mind. I couldn't imagine that's what God intended when He told wives to take care of their families. Of course, my going back to school was completely unreasonable. Other than brain stimulation, was there a practical purpose? I'm not planning on re-entering the work force once the girls start school. I don't need a degree for what I do. My pay rate isn't going to increase with a degree and I'm not going to move up the ladder any faster with a degree. As it is, I'm already at the top of my pay scale. So what would be the point?
Except personal satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment is a big deal. People need it. What to do?
Lucky for me, my good friend Jackie invited me to scrapbooking, even though I'd told her at least a thousand times that I didn't scrapbook and I didn't like it. I have to admit, I get very frustrated when I try new things because, for some strange reason, I expect it to be perfect the first time I do it. I don't know why. When it doesn't come out perfect, I'm stop because I'm "not good" at it. Then I complain to Brian that I'm not good at anything.
Scrapbooking was no exception. It took awhile to get the hang of using my paper cutter and cutting the paper. Had it been possible, I probably would have left in the middle of the "cutting phase". When I came home, I had 4 scrapbook pages that I had made all by myself. Of course, I didn't have any pictures to put on my pages, but I felt like I had accomplished something.
This was my first foray into "crafts" and since I wasn't a complete failure, it made me want to venture out and do other things, except I didn't know how and didn't know anyone to ask. I want to learn how to sew. So few women my age know how to sew. My grandmother sewed, but my mother doesn't. My mother embroiders, but I don't. Generation by generation we are letting our skills slip away.
Again, my sweet Jackie to the rescue. She got me started on sewing. She spent a whole evening showing me how to thread my machine and the first time I had to rethread it, I nearly went berserk. It took me several tries while reading the manual to finally get it right. Of course, I haven't actually sewed anything (I have been working on an apron for six months) but I have high hopes. I've taken a break from it for a while, but I'm about to get excited about it again. I have a goal: that each of my daughters and I will be able to make her wedding dress together.
In another example of someone benefitting from what moms and grandmothers used to do, next month, I am taking a beginning quilter's class. I was told that I didn't have to have any skills, just a machine, which I have, although in my defense, I can sew a straight line, according to Jackie. I am very excited and very grateful that my husband is so supportive of all my "endeavors".
In answer to my earlier question, I think that moms and grandmothers aren't teaching us the skills we need to make things beautiful because for whatever reason, we're not at home. Whether we're working or involved in so many activities they might as well be working, we're just not home. The time is just not there. The second reason that keeps us from learning those homemaking skills is that the basic needs of the house aren't met. The laundry isn't done, the grocery shopping isn't done, the floors aren't mopped or vacuumed, etc., etc. We are busy putting out one crisis after another with no plan or routine or schedule in place. I think these things are basic. We must learn how to take care of the basic needs of our homes before we can truly devote ourselves to making things beautiful with our homemaking skills.
There were times during my childhood when my mother did not work. At those times, she decorated cakes and had time to embroider. The house was clean and the laundry was done. When she was working, those "extra" things that made the house nice fell by the wayside because the basics of the house and family came first.
I plan to document my attempts of bettering my homemaking skills here in an effort to not only challenge myself so that my brain doesn't turn to mush, but to encourage others through my experiences . I want our home to be a beautiful place made all that much warmer and inviting from my efforts.