These days, I don't have much time to read blogs, but it's always such a treat when I can sneak a few minutes to visit Rhonda Jean. Rhonda, the way I got to know her through her writings, is such a wonderful example of an older, yet young in spirit, woman. She's intelligent, resourceful, full of energy, ever-growing, and an avid learner. Yesterday, I read the following encouraging lines on her blog:
"If I were a young wife now, with children to raise, I would be learning everything I could about how to do the work in my home without modern appliances... I would start mending clothes, I'd recycle and reuse everything I could. I'd start cooking from scratch with the intention of learning how to produce the most delicious and nutritious meals for the lowest cost.
If I were a young wife and mother now, I would take it upon myself to save every penny I could to pay off our debt. I would encourage my husband and children to economise, make do and learn to go without. My focus would be on the long-term health and prosperity of my family and I would hope to teach myself enough to give us the best chance in this tough economic climate.
There has never been a better time to know how to run a home efficiently. There has never been a more pressing need to know the skills of the homemaker. If you still need to learn a few things, you'd better get cracking, because what you learn soon and what you know now might mean make or break for your family."
Like Rhonda rightly noted, in the current economic crisis (which seems to be sweeping mercilessly all over the world) the value of a wise steward at home is rapidly rising. It's time for us wives and mothers to brush up all our skills, resources and education, and perfect our knowledge of homemaking.
Previously, it might have been cheaper to throw away a shirt and buy a new one because you never learned how to mend a button, or to throw away a good sturdy chair because it's scratched and you can't be bothered to repaint it; but if your husband is currently unemployed, or facing possible unemployment, or his salary was reduced, pinching pennies might be what enables your family to survive and thrive in the tough times.
A few days ago, one of you ladies asked me in the comments:
"Anna, did you get the guilt trip about wasting your education? I feel this one coming from my father, who doesn't yet know of my intentions of staying home after marriage. Might you have any advice for those of us who are single and might have to deal with that backlash in the near-ish future?"
There will always be those who criticize our life choices, and it's often difficult to deal with it when the discouragement flows from people near and dear to us, but as long as the value of our work at home is acknowledged by our husbands, and we work as a unit, anything else should matter very little.
Yes, eyebrows might be raised when a young, college-educated woman spends her days caring for children and running a household - and sees this not as some depressing transitional stage, but as her long-term vocation. But in these times, when our market is crashing and finding stable employment seems like a fickle prospect, it's more important than ever to channel our time and energy towards home, so we can become good stewards of our resources. It's especially important for young wives like me, who still have a lot to learn.
I can't afford to be disorganized. I can't afford to forget what I have in my home, what can and must be used, and which supplies must be replenished. I can't afford to be wasteful; a 4-year degree would certainly be a painful waste, but I'm far from looking at things that way just because I don't get a paycheck for my employment at home.
My knowledge of nutrition enables me to take better care of my family, and to be confident about the health choices we make. When food resources might become scarce, what I have learned will be priceless. Many degrees might be directly useful to the homemaker, and if not, the self-study and research skills you hopefully developed will be very useful too.
It's time to get going. There is still at least one room to be tidied, dinner to be started, and husband's lunch to be packed for tomorrow. There are ongoing projects of Pesach cleaning, organization, and sorting through a myriad of items. There's a sleeping baby who will soon wake up calling for Mommy's milk; to sum it up, there's a home that needs me. I wish you a wonderfully productive day!