March 24, 2009
Home making thoughts
I came across some neat videos on youtube called 'Depression Cooking with Clara'. She shows several meals her mom made while living through the Great Depression, plus shares a lot about her experiences growing up during that time. Oh, she is in her nineties too :)
I began to think back on all the stories my grandparents told me when I was little about their childhood. I was fascinated by it, even at the age of 9. They were so poor, but as they say, they didn't know it because everyone else was too. They would smile and think of their memories of life on the farms of Oklahoma.
I wondered, what would happen if someone issued a challenge to today's homemakers to take a stab at trying to live in the Great Depression, on a farm. No electricity, running water, bathrooms, refrigeration, sewing machines etc. My grandfather bought his mom the first washing machine in their area when he was in the army, and everyone would come and take turns using it :) I think it cost him around $13. Anyways, could any of us make it? I might could, although I don't know anything about making fires in a cookstove or kerosene lamps.
I think women during that time and before knew how important their roles were. The very survival of their families depended on them to know how to make it with almost nothing. Read the Little House series- Ma knew how to make it with practically nothing. These days, we have everything at our disposal, and we feel without purpose sometimes. We can't see immediately with our eyes the value of our daily work. We just throw clothes in the washer, load our dishes in the dishwasher, open the fridge to get out the premade butter and make bread in machines :) What wondrous things these would be to housewives 100 years ago :) So much extra time to... do what? Even in their sitting down and resting time, their hands were busy sewing quilts, crocheting or stitching something, or maybe snapping beans for supper.
When my great-grandmother was done with her chores, many times she would go to the fields to help her husband, putting my grandmother on a quilt nearby while they worked. My grandmother became such a good field hand that her father wouldn't hire any help unless they could keep up with her. She was 10 years old :)
I've noticed many people sort of taking several steps 'backwards', as in adopting the lifestyles of the old timey ways. I can certainly understand that it seems so much nicer, calmer, more peaceful. But, it was a lot of hard labor, and people didn't live as long and generally looked older than they really were. Doesn't matter if you have a migraine, animals need care, garden needs work, food needs to be prepared etc. I think it is possible to have the mindset of that generation without living in the same way.
We need to keep it in the forefront of our minds that no one else can do our job. No one. You are the wife to your husband and the mother of your children. As small as that can seem, no one could possible fill that postion for you. Sure you can have help, but who is going to love and nurture your babies as much as you? (well, besides grandmas) Who knows the interworkings of your husband's mind like you? Many times thoughts have crept in about what I could have done. I was pretty smart and very determined, I could have probably done anything. I was considering chemical engineering or the medical field when in college. I passed the exam for the Navy. I wanted to be in foreign missions. Where would I be now if I had chosen those paths?
I was only truly happy when I fell in love with my husband. I knew it was the right path. A little less than a year after our marriage, I wanted children very much. It just felt like that should be the next step. I used to think girls who got married so soon after highschool were unintelligent and without ambition. What's so special about being a housewife and mom? Anyone could do that.
Hmmm, now I know different. It is an art! And I'm still learning the basics. The hardest thing for me is keeping the right mentality about it. Though I don't go out of the house a lot, and taking care of the house and the girls is about all I do, I am still serving the Lord. It is still a ministry. It's easy to get in 'self mode' and think about 'me' a lot, believe me, I've been there a lot lately. My thoughts: " Will I ever stop wiping poo off someone's bottom? Will my children ever be able to do something for themselves? Will I ever have time to work out again?" I've felt this a lot more lately knowing I am 'starting over' in a sense with a new baby coming.
But I know that years later, I will look back upon this time as fleeting and special. So I'm trying to keep that in mind and enjoy it. Anyways, if you find yourself losing the zeal for homemaking, try doing some things the old fashioned way. Make soap, bread by hand, sewing, planting a garden etc. and likely you'll start to view things much differently. It's interesting and fun to see what you can make with your own two hands, and makes you so thankful for the time saving appliances you do have :)
So that's your encouragement for today. Have a good day everyone.
Posted by Anneatheart at 7:04 AM