Notice I said ‘good homemaker’, not ‘housekeeper’! I am still very much learning how to be organized, neat and tidy. I do not deep clean my house every spring and fall. (gasp!!) I do deep clean, but it tends to be in spurts and random times. Just yesterday I took down all the bedroom curtains and washed them, scrubbed the windows (and the blinds – gag!) and replaced the fresh-smelling curtains.
I was raised by a mother who grew up Amish, and she taught me to be a homemaker. She taught me to cook, bake, raise a garden, can the vegetables from the garden, sew my own clothes, make a quilt from start to finish, raise fluffy baby chicks for a couple months and then butcher them. She taught me to rise early, get dressed, show up on time and to work fast. She taught me to clean fish—no, wait! That was my dad. Mom actually hated cleaning fish, for some reason! Anyways, she taught me to fry the fish and cook a meal for a crowd and how to stretch the food budget. How to diaper a baby and how to get a baby to nurse who was refusing.
I used to see lots of articles on the web telling women how to cook, clean, manage their time, train their kids, etc. I loved them. Because I need them!
But lately it seems I have read a lot of articles where the writer says something to the effect of: “Don’t try to be perfect! Don’t try to have it all together! It’s OK if you don’t know how to cook, teach your kids, clean, etc. Just be YOU! (whoever that is?!) Just enjoy life and don’t try to keep up with these super-women. Proverbs 31 women are just a myth anyways. Why bother trying to learn how to bake your own bread or grow some veggies or sew a blanket? Just buy it and be happy. You are you. Not everyone has the same talents as others. “
And my most hated one of all: “Just be content with who you are.”
Really? I mean, REALLY?!?!
I am certainly not satisfied with who I am! I don’t believe in beating yourself up over someone you’re not – or comparing yourself, no. But I believe that if we are called to be homemakers, we should be continually striving to become better at what we do, and who we are. We should have the goal of becoming the best homemaker we can possibly be!
Of course not everyone has the same talents as everyone else. But skills are not really talents, are they? Skills can be learned. By anyone. My 10-year-old knows how to make bread from scratch, and I know lots of women who say they can’t. (I wonder – is it can’t, or won’t try?)
Don’t get me wrong – if you detest baking – fine. If you can’t stand sitting at a machine and sewing, so be it! If you have zero interest in gardening – that’s OK! But please, oh please, don’t mock and belittle those of us that do know how to do all of those things. Don’t say that knowing how to do ‘everything’ is a myth, and don’t act like it’s unattainable. It’s not. I have many friends who didn’t know how to boil the proverbial water when they married, and now are much better cooks than me. I have a sister who started gardening later in life than me, and doesn’t even enjoy it that much, and she is MUCH better at it than me!
I used to feel bad when friends and acquaintances would marvel at what all I accomplished in a day, they would claim they had no idea how to do it, they didn’t have the energy, etc. I felt like because I could do or make nearly anything, I was weird. I felt like I had to apologize for being able to home school AND bake bread AND raise a garden AND butcher a cow. (all by myself, mind you!) I was constantly reminding people that I was raised differently, had experience, could do it in my sleep, etc. And it’s true. I was trained to many do many things that others weren’t. I am experienced. I can bake bread with my eyes closed, I bet.
But I don’t feel proud about it! I am thankful I know how to do things, and grateful to have the energy and desire to learn new things. But I certainly don’t despise or look down on people who don’t have the skills I have. I love to help people learn, and I have so much to learn from others. (How to keep an organized house, for one thing. 😉 )
One day I decided that I would never again allow someone to make me feel guilty for being a good homemaker. I was trained, yes. But I have learned much, much more by trial and error, just like everyone else. I have worked hard to learn things, I am constantly reading books about mothering, cooking, gardening, schooling, marriage, etc, etc. I never want to stop learning. I want to become the best homemaker I can be! I don’t care where you are on the journey – if you are not as far as me, just ask, I would love to share my experience. If you are further – Praise God! You can teach me!
I don’t want you to feel pressured to be someone you can never be. But I do want to call you higher – always higher and better. Don’t be content with who you are or what you know. Keep learning. Keep trying. Keep seeking to be the very best you can be.