In our day and age, home life is – sadly - devalued, unappreciated, and sneered at; good home life, with its orderliness, cheerfulness, peace, contentment and simplicity is so very rare, that some people of my generation grew up without knowing it at all. In too many households, there are no orderly routines, no lovingly arranged decorations, no home-cooked meals, no family dinners, no welcoming neighbors into your home and showing hospitality – none of the warmth and lovingness that transform a house, a dwelling, into a home.
The incredibly important work of a woman as a keeper of her home, the woman who is present at her home, being the center and spirit of it, caring and nurturing, loving and creating, tending to the needs of her loved ones – is also tossed aside, aprons and home-baked cookies sound almost offensive in the light of the feminist agenda.
By the more tolerant, a mother of young children who stays home to care for her little ones is still seen as somehow 'justified', making a noble – even if unfortunate and unrewarding – sacrifice; but mothers of grown-up children, or married and childless women, or grown-up daughters – how dare they remain at home? How dare they to focus on the home? How can they say they are doing something important and worthwhile?
Yet I think no woman – mother, wife, daughter, sister or grandmother – should feel guilty for loving her home, for cherishing her home and making it the focus of her life, love, work, energy and creativity. No woman should feel she is squandering her talents because the role she chose isn't glorious or well-paid. No woman should feel unimportant, useless, or unproductive, because she chooses to make home her first priority.
Think of a childhood spent without ever smelling a delicious cake or pie, fresh for the oven; without ever tugging at the strings of Mother's apron (because she doesn't own one); without long, peaceful afternoons spent side by side, learning, laughing and playing alongside each other. Think of a husband coming home, each and every evening, to an empty, silent, cold, unorganized and basically uninhabited home, full of appliances and objects, but devoid of love and dedication. Imagine a tired old man who is walking down the street, thirsty for a glass of water to drink or for a few warm words of friendly conversation – but there is no one behind those closed unwelcoming doors during the entire day, and way too much pressure and rush during the evenings and weekends; think of all the loneliness, detachment, stress, unhappiness and emptiness that have been our share ever since we dismissed the home as the woman's realm, as a center of love, joy, peace, warmth and hospitality, and not just a place to eat and sleep.
What cause can be more noble and rewarding than setting our goal to re-conquering that realm? We can do that, bit by bit, with our daily work at home; each sweet-smelling, sparkling clean clothesline, each home-baked pie and hand-knitted scarf, each neighborly smile and welcoming gesture lead us on our way to become, again, queens of our households.