From the time I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and a mother...in fact, I wanted to be the wife of a dairy farmer and have lots of children. As life has a way of doing, none of that happened as I envisioned. I married at twenty-two, took a full time job at twenty three and after seven years of infertility, adopted two sisters at the age of twenty nine.
My dreams of being a stay at home wife and mother were replaced with eight hour work days, putting a quick meal on the table, homework, bath time, putting in a load of laundry (that I hopefully remember to throw in the dryer) before turning in at night, five nights a week. That was of course if there was no soccer practice, girl scouts, choir, band practice, performance or game.
Weekends consisted of a few hours of house cleaning (funny, I could get the house cleaned a lot quicker when I was younger), grocery shopping, activities with the kids, a little gardening and church on Sunday.
Lest you think I am complaining, I am not. I loved my life, my kids and my husband. We were extremely blessed...just very busy!
During those years I bought countless magazines and books that promised to organize my life and house so that I wouldn't always feel rushed and frazzled. While putting systems in place helped, they didn't change the fact that there are only twenty four hours in a day and only one of me.
I have the utmost respect for those of you who are in the midst of this life right now. For me, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan without breaking a sweat was much less attainable than the commercial promised.
I think that's why I am so fascinated with the philosophy of keeping a home, of making a haven for myself and my family.
As Cheryl Mendelson says in Home Comforts, "This sense of being at home is important to everyone's well-being. If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor and courage will decrease...Coming home is your major restorative in life.
These are formidable good things, which you cannot get merely by finding true love or getting married or having children or landing the best job in the world-or even by moving into the house of your dreams...And going for nostalgic pastimes-canning, potting, sewing, making Christmas wreaths, painting china, decorating cookies-will not work either...Ironically, people are led into the error of playing house instead of keeping house...".
I know this is a hot topic. Please note that I am not talking about stay at home moms versus working moms. Home keeping has nothing to do with whether you bring home a paycheck or not. It is about the running of a household, about knowing how to take care of our homes and everything in them. I am merely sharing where I am coming from because it is the life I know.
What are your thoughts? Are we merely playing house? Or are we keeping house? What's the difference? That's what we'll be looking into in the weeks to come. Hope you'll join me again next Thursday as we begin to break down the nuts and bolts of keeping the home fires burning.