Monday, June 23, 2008

New wives - learning all the time

Lady Lydia wrote a wonderful article about the importance of the first year of marriage to you as a wife and homemaker. If you haven't read it yet, you definitely should!

The time before babies come along is a unique period of your life as a homemaker and it will not be repeated again. Of course, I understand that not every couple will have a child within the first year or two of marriage; if and when children arrive depends on the Lord's plan alone. However, the first year is typically spent without children for almost every married couple.

There is so much to be done during that time - getting used to running your own household, creating an efficient homemaking schedule and adapting it to your husband's, and mastering all the useful skills you might not have had time to learn prior to marriage.

Some say it is a waste of time not to work outside the home before you have children, and that the money earned by the wife during that period can provide a nice cushion. Money can be easily wasted, however - as can time.

If you are a new wife, right now is the time to practice all the skills that will be so useful later on, but can be nearly impossible to learn from scratch when you have one or more little ones to take care of.

Many young wives, like myself, have a lot of catching up to do in the area of domestic arts. The link of knowledge passing from mother to daughter was broken in the previous generation, and often we lack knowledge in the very basics of housekeeping. I was 20 before I could operate a washing machine. And only two short years later, I found myself married, with a household of my own. I'm far, far from having sufficient knowledge!

Even if you can somehow manage the basics, so many lovely and useful arts are yet to be learned: fancier cooking and baking; sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, and other types of needlework that can help you beautify your home and create priceless gifts for your loved ones; gardening; canning; and I could go on and on. The list of wonderful, creative pursuits is endless. Most importantly, I think, we should try and develop an efficient basic schedule we will be able to work with during busier periods of our lives.

Today, there are endless resources to help you learn - which is wonderful, because many women don't have anyone who can teach them. You can find online videos and tutorials just about anything. Websites such as www.knittinghelp.com are extremely helpful as well.

9 comments:

Michelle Potter said...

Take it from someone who didn't have that opportunity. I went from live-in boyfriend and an "I'm never getting married" attitude, to taking care of his two children within four months, and then almost immediately had a baby of my own, and didn't stop working until a couple of weeks before he was born. Foolish, foolish, foolish!! I don't suppose there was really a way around taking care of my (toddler) step-children right away, but I do so wish I'd had a chance to get settled into domestic life before having kids!

I will never regret having children young, or having so many, but I will always regret not doing things in the right order -- first preparing for domesticity, then getting married, then having children.

A Wonderful Life! said...

I think its great you get to stay home newly married and before children. In the US we are told go go go as women . I have 2 little girls and went right back to work after having them. I feel like I missed out on a lot of things.I can never get those days back but try to enjoy everything else. I read your blog daily and can say from experience you are doing the right thing and are blessed to be able to . Stephanie

Tracey, In Word Adorning said...

Mrs Anna,
I must say as a wife of almost 20 years, you are blessed to be years ahead. But not really ahead of what is good and right, but ahead of where I was as a new wife. If only I understood then what you do now.

Having a clear understanding of your role, and then having the practical skills to carry out the task of keeping a home are invaluable. Keep up the good work.

Amanda said...

I greatly enjoyed Lydia's post, and yours as well.

My dh and I did not do things in the proper order: we had both of our children, and had been living together for 3 months prior to getting married. While I certainly don't regret having our children, I do look longingly at women who are lucky enough to stay at home the first year of marriage without children.

I was lucky, in that my mom did a wonderful job of teaching the things necessary to running a home. I was washing my own laundry quite early in grade school, she taught me how to clean well, sew and crochet (though I taught myself how to knit!), quilt, embroider, etc... She also taught me how to cook and bake, though that is something that I have always enjoyed and has come easily for me.

After living together and being married for 6 months now, I am only beginning to see the importance of having a household schedule. Esp. with me working outside the home (I do pray that changes soon), I have limited time to accomplish household duties. Without a schedule, it is easy for such things to fall by the way-side.

My children are a joy, but do enjoy this time without them!

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

Wonderful advice, Anna. As I shared over on lady Lydia's wise post, I am so very thankful for having spent all of my married life at home. There was so much to learn and try before Peapod arrived--from establishing a routine and learning to bake bread to embroidery and trying my hand at garden, and everything in between. Without the time spent at home before I became a mother, I am not sure how my house might run now, or how difficult the adjustment home might have been after my daughter arrived. Such a blessing it has been to be happy homemaking since day one :o)

I have also found, once child/ren arrive there is even more to learn too. Right now I am looking into all sorts of crafty recipes for clay, paints, and other art supplies; canning & preserving foods from the spring & summer harvest; learning how to grow teeny tiny vegetables for a itty bitty baby garden of Peapod's own, and taking sewing & knitting classes before Sean leaves, hoping to send him off with a few pairs of homemade pajama pants, among other little surprised Peapod & I shall be tucking away in his luggage. All of the learning (and teaching!) that has come on my homemaking journey has been such fun. I can truly say I've never been bored at home without trying to be. :P

Julie said...

I too loved the article by Lady Lydia. I came from a home where my mom was too busy to teach and I had too much of an attitude to learn. I will have been married for 8 years in December. Two years ago we adopted five children at once and I came home from my job. What a mess everything is. I am trying to learn to manage my home, train up my children, homeschool, garden, sew, crochet, embroider... the list goes on.
I wish I could show young women how much there is to learn.
I love your blog because its somewhere I can steer my young girls for a good example.

Kelleigh said...

I enjoyed Lady Lydia's post too! The thing that continues to amaze me is how much there is to learn about homemaking! That first year is so precious!

Best wishes with learning to knit!I love to knit also. It's a go anywhere craft. I'm taking my knitting camping with us on this weekend. ;)

Mrs Amy said...

I am so glad that Andrew and I had time together before the blessing of children arrived (although we are still waiting for the actual arrival of said blessing!!) I think that your relationship changes so much with marriage you need the time to get to know one another and build your life together, it also gave me time away from full time work to learn how to run the house and cook for Andrew and all the little things that I have picked up! Although I lived out of home before I was married it was a big change to suddenly have someone else around full time! I think it is definately a time to enjoy, it will never come again!!

Alicia said...

I stumbled upon your blog about a week ago, and I've been reading it almost every day since. I love your writing! I'm twenty, live alone in an apartment in the city, and I'm halfway done with a Bachelor's degree. My parents divorced when I was little, and growing up my mom was always busy either in school or working, so I never really got the opportunity to learn anything about homemaking. Coming to college was a bit of a shock - I've had a two-year crash course in laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, bill-paying, and everything else.

It seems so unheard of in Seattle, where I live, for a young woman to just want to get married and stay home. From childhood on, I was driven to succeed in school, so I could go to a good college and get a good job. But as I get older, I really just wish I could spend more time in my apartment, decorating, sewing and cooking, but I wish I had a husband to do all those things for! It seems like such a more fulfilling life, creating a happy home and taking care of a husband and children. Most of the men I know aren't even remotely interested in getting married this early, and I must confess myself pretty impatient. I enjoy studying and learning, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to get a bachelor's degree, but what I really want to do with my life is raise a family!

It's nice to know that there are other young women out there like that, too, who realize that there's nothing wrong with being excited to stay home and raise children.

God bless!