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Homemaking, a lost art?

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemaking, a lost art?

I was reading this post on a blog that I follow, From Highlights to Housework: Housework. This post by Nicole on Highlights to Housework raises the question of are todays stay at home mums just not good at housework and why. Are we missing something as a generation? I have often thought about this myself. It is hard to raise a child, please a husband, and keep up with housework. I often wonder how I'm meant to do it. although I 'waste' time, I really don't waste that much time. Are we less skilled than previous generations, or are we just too hard on ourselves? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

I think to some degree women aren't being taught skills that our mothers and grandmothers were taught. I had the option to study home economics at school, but I couldn't fit it in with my timetable. I was wanting to be a doctor at that stage, so I did biology and chemistry, and I did Indonesian and Legal studies because translating and law were my back-up plans! These days I'm a stay-at-home mum and I love it, but I do feel incompetent at times. Perhaps I should have done more to be better prepared.

Also I think we have unrealistic expectations of how "good" we should be because we compare ourselves to our mothers, who have had a lot more time to practice! My mum admits she wasn't the best housekeeper when my sister was born. Cooking, cleaning, tidying, de-cluttering, washing, ironing, being organised, these are all skills that need to be fostered and developed over time. I know that it's hard for me to do things that I don't do well straight away, but I am learning to give it a go and laugh at my mistakes and keep learning.

Let me play devil's advocate and throw this suggestion in the mix. Are we a generation of procrastinators? Are there too many distractions that fight for our time? Are we so good at saying "I don't have time now but I'll do it later"? Do I, and others like me, need to stop making excuses, stop thinking and just get in and do it? To a point, probably. Although having ways to unwind and stay social are healthy and necessary, there are times when I should probably prioritise my time a little differently. Should I have intentionally studied cooking and sewing at school or should I just have spent more time helping mum at home instead of studying so hard, or working a part time job (ooh, there's a whole new avenue to be explored.. Being at work everyday after school and every night after uni so mum took pitty on me and didn't give me any chores, did it help me or hinder me!?I can't blame mum, when I was home I'd often just spend too much time on the computer... If I didn't have msn messenger then I might have learned more. If I didn't have Facebook or blogger now things might be different. Although to be honest I only really do this when I'm holding a sleeping baby or when I'm too tired to move.

The cause of my poor housekeeping is probably a bit of A and C, and also an overly intelligent overly mischievous baby! I personally think babies are getting cheekier, faster. Lets face it, it is hard, and there's no point being too hard on ourselves. I don't there's anything wrong with having little cheats for making the place look good when people come around, such as the empty cupboard ready to stash things in (my personal favourite, except things never come out again!) or taking everything to the spare room and closing the door. As long as the home environment is safe and the household is happy, does it really matter?

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