Brian Breadwinner, Sarah Homemaker–a natural falling into place, some would say. As a stay-at-home mom (the only reason being I was laid off), I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I am a good cook (I keep fresh baked goods made for my husband, who loves his sweet treats), I keep a clean (but not sterile) and tidy home (I put myself on a cleaning schedule about a month ago to help me remember what needs to be done and how often to do it), and take care of my daughter’s needs. This is quite an accomplishment, coming from a mother who had a career as a postal clerk/letter carrier (I don’t know what they call them these days) in the Navy, who cleaned house maybe once a year and whose only claim to cooking was goulash (which I’d always thought odd, considering we aren’t Hungarian). I’m also good with coupons, but what I save, I end up spending on something else. One of my biggest accomplishments was having a year’s supply of laundry detergent to last us our first year of marriage.
When I married my husband, I was over 30 (my hope chest having become a hopeless case), I had everything we needed to fill a house, with the exception of a dinette set, which we got for free at our church rummage sale. I had been purchasing and putting linens and dishes and such away for years, and those items, combined with furniture I’d inherited from my grandparents, we didn’t have to buy anything for our house save for a few trash cans. I try to keep this in mind whenever I feel I’m not contributing monetarily to the household.
I was LDS (Mormon) for several years, and being a stay-at-home wife and mother is highly regarded. However, to me, that means not just taking care of your children, but teaching them, not just cooking, but preparing meals with fresh ingredients (I’ll be making all my own baby food), and keeping the household running smooth.
To take it a step further, it’s good to know what are becoming (in my opinion) the lost arts of homemaking: sewing, quilting, and canning, for examples. I’ll admit, I’ll probably never know how to do at least two of those things. However, I have become quite good in the art department. Pinterest has piqued my interest in learning how become more crafty (in a different way than I already am). I’ve gotten into photography and framing projects, and have considered taking a sketching class at the local community college. I realize those arts aren’t as domestic, but I’m seeking to broaden my horizons.
When my mom and I finish getting together our supplies for our Etsy soap-making business, I’ll be working on that. Though I’m interested in the soap-making process (it’s a skill I’d like to have), this is one endeavor I expect to make money at. The writing is going to take awhile to pay off. That’s why they’re starving artists, not craftsmen.
I want to work outside the home because I’m not this amazing homemaker; I feel this need to make up for my lack of domestic deity status by bringing home a portion of the bacon. Even if my husband made more than enough for me to stay-at-home, I’d still want to bring in an income. I just need to be not only good, but successful at something besides being a wife and mom, even though I know that is still the most important job in the world. If I didn’t do my job at home, then any success outside the home wouldn’t matter; but because I do strive to be a good wife and mother, then whatever success that comes outside the home will be icing on the cake.
(The quilt pictures are courtesy of my friend, Gina Maddox, who makes them.
More of her work can be found on http://gulfcoastquilting.wordpress.com/)