Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Dying Art of Homemaking


I've had a copy of this article for years now tucked away.  It use to be in my purse so I could read it when I needed a good laugh or a little humbling and a few reminders of the things I always wanted for my husband and family.  Recently I came across this article again on Pinterest and you should have saw some of the comments!  Wow!  Well, those comments got me thinking.  I know thinking can be a dangerous past-time.  Some women think this article is quaint or humorous.  I tend to fall in with that group, mostly.  But as I read through some of the comments so many women were appalled at the very idea of it.  Angry even.

I'm a-okay with the fifties homemaker stereotype.  I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, but it just never worked out for us.  We needed two incomes to survive like a lot of families need in today's world.  I'm not going to lie though....I do day dream about being home and baking bread and trying to keep a clean house and doting on my family.  I think I could even love wearing a cute ruffly apron most days too.  In fact, I have one tucked away in a box in our garage that has never been taken out of the packaging.  I found it on sale at a fabric store years ago.  It was made in pastel colors and I just loved it and I think I just might pull it out of the box in the fall.  Right now it's just to darn hot to go rummaging around in a room that isn't air conditioned.  We live in Arizona after all.  It's 106 outside, so it's probably 120 in that oven we call a garage right now.    

I will say this, when the kids were all in school and on those rare occasions when I was able to take some time off work, there was nothing that brought me more pleasure that when my kids would come through the door at the end of their school day and immediately ask me what's for dinner.  My kids were excited about my cooking back then, I did a lot more of it then too.  I use to love hearing them get excited and saying, "Yes!  Mom, you are the best Mom ever!!".  I did a lot more cooking from scratch back then, which my family loved, and I need to get back to that again.  Right now it's been all about convenience and low stress meals, not exactly the most healthy meals, that's for sure.  When I come home worn out from work and my eyes hurt because I haven't worn my glasses it's all about the kind of meal I can either order from a clowns mouth at a drive through or something that just needs to be thrown into the oven to cook.  Sad but true.  I need to find a way to get back to the scratch meals and maybe find a way to do more bulk type cooking on the weekends when I'm home to get things pre-made and pre-assembled for the coming week so then meal time is easier for me on the days I work.  That way I can make sure we have healthier meals too.  Its not difficult to just warm something up and make a nice big salad or some type of veggie to go with it then.  We tend to not get all those wonderful veggies in our daily diet when we do the processed or quick dinner options around here and that's not good.  Plus I'd probably save a lot of money in the long run too.  This is something I'm working on.  Trust me!  

Let's get back to this article......

As a real wife and mother in 2017,....one who is sitting on the couch, Indian style, with her notebook on her lap in my t-shirt, yoga pants, and my hair going every which way, not a stitch of make-up on this face, and I need to brush and water pick my teeth as we speak, who has some college education but still needs to complete her degree (where do I find the time???), who can't keep up with the laundry, who works full-time outside of the home and loves to work on many projects at home.....I don't agree with everything on that list.  I too take offense to the idea that my husband's life and opinions are more important than my own and that I should never question him about anything.  Kevin and I have always been very much equals as husband and wife.  We each shoulder equal but different responsibilities for our home and family.  Then, when one of us is struggling to bear the weight of our responsibilities, like now since Kevin's SCI, the other one happily steps up and takes on a larger portion.  It's the only way to make things work and besides, isn't that what a marriage is all about??!!  Everything is not 50/50 all the time.  Sometimes it's 80/20 and sometimes it's even 150/50.  It all depends on the situation.  We don't keep score though.  We have never subscribed to the traditional division of labor - Kevin has done his share of diapers and dishes while I have fixed my share of garbage disposals, lawn mowing, and leaky toilets.  The point is, the work gets done with a hefty portion of mutual respect and admiration.

On the flip side, I can't say that I am wholly offended by the list either.  I do feel a certain desire and responsibility, if you will, to make my home a haven for my family to return to after a long hard day out in the world.  When I can, I like to have dinner ready, or at least in the works, when Kevin use to walk through the door in the evenings after work.  Now, don't get me wrong here, I haven't always cared about that, and Kevin would never say that he cared either, but I'm learning, especially now that our life has taken a huge change since Kevin's disability, just how much he appreciated that.  

I remember years ago also trying to straighten up the house and myself before Kevin would get home.  That's how I was raised.  My Mom always made sure the house was picked up and we would put our junk away even if we had to do a quick run through of the house about fifteen minutes before my dad got home.  My Mom also always had her hair done perfectly every single day.  She still does this!  In fact, I don't remember ever seeing my Mom's hair out of place or not styled perfectly.  She does it every morning.  It's just a part of her routine and she never leaves the house without looking well put together.  I think the only time my Mom's hair was not done was when she had to be hospitalized for surgery, but as soon as she was able to get up it was done, even in the hospital.  That's just the way my Mom is.  And besides, these are just nice things to do.  Now that the tables have shifted in our family, I've noticed that my kids tend to do some of these things for me when they are home and I'm at work all day.  They run through the house and pick up about 1/2 an hour before I get home.  Sure their reasons may not be always be the same and sometimes it's out of fear of avoiding the cranky side of Mom for the evening, but hey at least they are trying right??   Ha. Ha.

Is it really so hard to believe that we would be expected to be happy to see our husbands when they get home from work?  Or that we'd greet them with smiles and sincerely want to please them, even when they're late?  My husband did the same for me.  No matter how bad his day at work had been (and there have been plenty of pretty bad days in the past) I would like to think I brought a smile to his face when he came home.  Maybe not always because I've had some pretty bad days myself, but at least most of the time.  I do admit that I had to work on not opening the floodgates of all my personal frustrations and complaints the very minute Kevin use to walk through the door.  Some days were harder than others.  Now a days I have to work on not getting frustrated and going off the second my feet enter our home because everyone has been home but nothing gets done.  (And then they wonder why Mom is so mad.  Go figure).  Its caused me to have to learn more about the things that I can ask my Heavenly Father for help with.  Since each of us have our agency and have to have a desire to change our own habits and then after we have a desire we can ask Heavenly Father for help with those things (especially if it's a righteous desire.....and not something like...getting mad and upset at your family all the time.   I think that is a righteous desire, right??).  I have come to know that the only person I can really ask for help with is myself.   Now that my kids are older, and I believe we as parents do not have as much stewardship over them like we did when they were little, so I can't and shouldn't ask my Heavenly Father to help change my children and make them help me around the house.  But, I can certainly ask to change my attitude and help me not get so bent out of shape about their actions or better yet, lack thereof.  Another words, I have agency only over myself and now maybe a little over my husband especially where his health is concerned, so I can ask for help when it comes to us and a little bit with my children, I just can't ask Heavenly Father to perform a miracle and change them right before my very eyes.  Do I think it could happen, absolutely.  But is that really something I should ask for, probably not.  I will say this, since I started to pray for the things I can change, and I also notice a difference in my attitude when I am paying my tithing and fast offerings, things have been getting easier now.  It's also a lot easier now a days since our kids are older and we can communicate with them in a meaningful way.  It was a lot different when they were little, let me tell you!  When they were very young and Kevin and I were both working and going in different directions and he was gone some weeks 60-70+ hours, I can remember being desperate for someone to talk to that was older than 6.  I'm sure I overwhelmed Kevin every single night he would finally come through the door.  Don't get me wrong, Kevin is very much my soft place to fall as Dr Phil would say.  He hears my complaints and frustrations daily and offers me advice, and sometimes comfort to, but sometimes talking to Kevin is like talking to an old football coach who doesn't sugar coat anything and refused to treat his team like a bunch of whimps.  He's tough.  Kevin is good about telling me what's wrong with me and what I need to do to fix something, sure at times I do need that, but sometimes I just want a listening ear and someone that I feel is willing to let me vent and talk me through things instead of giving me "Coach Kevin".  Although he has softened up since his SCI some and that's been wonderful.  I'm learning to pick my battles, if you can call them that, and when to just try to figure things out on my own, especially when he isn't feeling well.  I also try to let Kevin know ahead of time if the kids have something pressing that they need his help with, so he can have some time to prepare and give a thoughtful response, especially on the days Kevin isn't feeling well and also when it's important and our kids really need their dad.  Priesthood blessings are some of these times.  It takes a lot out of Kevin to give them, but I'm so glad he can and is willing to give them.  (Lexi just went to Girl's Camp and every year her dad gives her a Priesthood blessing before she goes.  This year we were so busy trying to get her packed that I totally forgot to remind Kevin about it so he could be ready.  Well, as she was leaving for the church I remembered the blessing and I was sad because I thought she didn't receive one.  Well, Lexi informed me that she asked her Dad for one around six that morning when I was sleeping and so she got her blessing!!  I was thrilled!)  Again, it's just a nice thing to do.  And besides, I know if the tables were turned and I was the one disabled, Kevin would do the same for me.  I know it.  

A good wife SHOULD know her place......right beside her husband, working hand in hand to build a happy family.  I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again, my goal truly is to make sure my home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility (sure we've had our wild, crazy, messy moments too, but we are working though those and I know we can get back to where we were) where not just my husband and I, but our whole family can renew themselves in body and spirit.  But.... Kevin can take off his own shoes (most days) and fluff his own pillow most days too.  He is a grown man and I do have to work all day.  Sure, there are times he totally needs help with everything and I'm here for him.  Again, marriage and family life is not about keeping score.  It's about love of family and learning to put someone other than yourself first.  If you can learn to do that when it comes to your spouse and family then you will do just fine!!!!  Enough said.
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