While browsing a couple of blogs, I came across a comment which made me smile. I don't remember the exact way it was worded, but here's the general idea:
'I really don't get all this homemaker-in-training thingy for unmarried women. After all, how long does it take to learn to do laundry or change diapers? Can't girls just learn these things in a jiffy and then be free for exciting experiments with their lives until they get married?'
Why did it amuse me? Because the person who wrote this, obviously, knows very little about successful home management. And so, instead of starting a whole new discussion at the comments section, I decided to take this topic over to my blog and give it a good and thorough look.
During my years in college, I met people who studied for a degree in Hotel Management. They spent 3 years learning about how to do it successfully, and no one would dare to question the seriousness of their studies. But learning the arts of homemaking doesn't require much time and effort?
The way I see it, successfully running a household is in many ways similar to managing a small hotel: meals have to be served on time, everything must be neat and clean and presentable, with a well-organized routine of work that helps things run smoothly. All this, while staying within the strict limits of a budget. And in countless ways, running a home is so much more than running an hotel, because the homemaker is responsible for the long-term well-being of her family, and therefore must make sure her husband has his needs attended, meals are nutritious and made of high quality products and the menu doesn't become too predictable, her children healthy, educated and occupied with pleasant and worthwhile pursuits. She is also the one who sets the mood and tone of her home with her sweet and soothing presence.
I know it's impossible to list the many arts a good homemaker must know, and there's always something new to learn. But beyond cooking, cleaning, laundry, budgeting, scheduling, organizing and decorating, there is an important trait a homemaker must have, a trait that cannot be learned and tossed aside, but is only acquired through years of practice. It is patience.
Maybe your floors are so clean you could eat off them and you cook like a chef, but as a homemaker you need much more than that. You must learn to do the same tasks, day after day, week after week, with joy and contentment in your heart. Sure, technically, it's not very hard to change a diaper. How about ten thousand diapers? Doing a load of laundry is easy. Then why is laundry piling up in people's homes? Obviously, because after the thousandth load, we have a tendency to get bored and just let things go.
Suppose I say, 'OK, I'm 22 years old now and I already know, technically, how to take care of a home. I still have time until I get married, so why don't I drop all those boring duties I have here at home and go and do something wild while I can?' – is it going to help me prepare for a future when I become a wife and need to plan menus, wash dishes, iron my husband's shirts, wipe little hands and faces every single day? Of course not! The only way to develop diligence and patience in my life at home is to have my character molded bit by bit through practicing those daily tasks, which will help me become, someday, the homemaker I want to be.