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.


Leah said...

Well said!
I love the book called The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I think this book tell you how to do just about everything! So great, and such a great read!


Joy Comes in the Morning said...

I have seen those videos too. She is great.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your lovely was the shot in the arm I needed today.
Tammy in Germany

My Life With Boys said...

I married young too (18) and had a baby by 19. Also...I think you mentioned before that your husband is alot older than you. Mine is also- by 12 1/2 years. ;-) I love it! Anyway, great post.

I wasn't the least bit offended by your comment. I am blessed that I can have my babies naturally (I really 'shouldn't' be complaining!). I wouldn't have it any other way- seriously. Jonathan (my first...and my 11 1/2 pounder) was very traumatic though. I labored for 29 hours, pushed for 12,doctor had to push him out of birth canal, turn him and use forceps and do a full episiotomy(sp?). His apgar score was a 2. It was awful. I experienced so much pain that the pain started to not hurt (does that make sense?). He had to be monitored (there was meconium) and I didn't get to hold him for 10+ hours after having him. I also broke my pubic bone when having him. I couldn't walk completely upright for weeks! I was very weak and it took me about 6 months to recover and feel somewhat 'normal' again. With Austin (10.4 lbs) I labored for 17 hours (not too bad) and had back labor. Delivery went okay and he was born without any complications. When I got up to go to the bathroom though I hemorraged and lost so much blood I became anemic for 6-12 months afterwards. Noah's (8.6 lbs) labor and delivery went fine...I contribute that to him being 2 pounds smaller- he was born 3 weeks early. He had some 'pre-mature' breathing issues though and I didn't get to hold him for several hours. I'm only saying this to tell you that I can sympathize (a little?) with you all who have had to have c-sections. I can imagine it's not fun adn I understand it wasn't a choice you made. I am VERY grateful I've never had to have one! I wish everyone could experience a vaginal 'is' an empowering feeling! I wish for your sake that you could but I also know that for you a c-section is probably the best decision. I'm so sorry if I offended you. I'm just a crabby, pregnant lady...don't mind me much! ;-) Anyway, I hope your day is going well! Take care!!!

Kat said...

I love the cotton field picture at the beginning of this post. I actually can drive down a road and see that scene during cotton season as I live in Mississippi. Also, I will have to check out those videos on youtube. I am somewhat fascinated by The Great Depression. NOT that I want to have to live like that, but I so admire those that did. My mother-in-law grew up during the Great Depression, and we have her tell us stories of those times often. To this day, she is still one of the most frugal ladies I know. NO, she IS the most frugal lady I know. She is also extremely content. She has little and wants nothing...

vehementflame said...

You definatly gave me encouragement today- I had been thinking all the same things. I was feeling convicted b/c I let managing the house get to me- It's tough but at the same time I am so said how I felt so nice. Thanks for sharing all those lovely thoughts.

Tereza said...

Ah huh...nodding head:)
I agree that th e"old fashioned way" looks very romantic but it was HARD work!! And just think of all the women who died in c~sections etc.
I read somewhere that o homesteader really means someone using a little plot of land and nurturing their family on it and taking care of it doing whatever they can to help the budget etc. It's not necissarily the big farm and animals and huge gardens etc. i'll have to find that blog for you!

kkate said...

I think that people chose to take "a step backwards" or rather, take a step back, because it helps to put life into perspective. Busy hands are productive hands, we have all simply grown lazy because of the conveniences modern life has brought us. Instead of being motivated by all the spare time, we sit down and complain that it was so exhausting to spend a whole 30 minutes getting the kitchen clean, and then proceed to turn on the television and feel justified, because our work is "done."

My point is, I really think it is good to take a step back and do some things the old fashioned way, to keep our hearts and minds busy so that we don't end up using all our spare time thinking nasty, sinful thoughts.

I don't think most modern women truthfully take an account of how much spare time they really have. Nor do I think they apply themselves to the possibilities of what they could be doing. How hard is it to take a little knitting, crocheting or embroidery to the couch whilst you relax? And is it really that difficult to learn those things, or are we all just too intimidated to even start trying? so what if we fail? We didn't learn to walk overnight!

Thank you for this post, it has really got my thinking cap on!