Brushing up on my photoshop skillz.
An ideal homemaker is lovely to look at and lovely to be around — she has a wholesome attitude and a pleasing appearance. She has the courage to be happy and strives to live above the grievous faults of moodiness, sulkiness, and complaining. She is gracious and thoughtful and is consequently adored by her family and admired by all who know her.
From The Art of Homemaking by Daryl V. Hoole
This month I’m focusing on becoming the ideal homemaker, and I’m using the book The Art of Homemaking as my guide. The first chapter is about the importance of the two A’s: Attitude and Appearance.
Gain an appreciation of your calling as a homemaker.
Second, learn to visualize the over-all purpose of your work.
Third, be at your physical best at all times — both in appearance and health. (If you don’t feel well, see a doctor!)
Fourth, take steps to secure good relationships between you and your husband and you and your children.
Fifth, learn and practice good homemaking skills.
Sixth, analyze yourself and be willing to overcome personal problems.
Seventh, plan frequent association with people who have good attitudes.
Eighth, keep busy so you’ll have only enough time to think positively. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!
Dressing takes such a few minutes, and besides making your husband happy, you’ll find that you feel much more eager and ready to begin your day’s work. You’ll find that your work goes by much faster and smoother if you are properly dressed for it than if you’re impeded by a flapping housecoat and slipping scuffles. If you LOOK THE PART, you’ll feel like DOING THE PART.
This is something that’s so easy to say, and yet much harder to do. To put it bluntly, life sucks! Sometimes there are moments when all you want to do is curl up and cry, and being told that you need to put on a cheerful face and wash the dishes is the last thing you want to hear. Over the past couple of years, I’ve struggled with PTSD, anxiety, and fatigue, and spent a lot of days unable to find the energy to smile, let alone vacuum the floors. I’ll let you in on a little secret though: the days where I pushed through my emotional troubles to work on chores and cook a nice dinner always ended on a much better note than the ones where I moped in front of the TV. My husband was always much more sympathetic and supportive when I did my part with keeping up the house as well.
When you wake up and find yourself facing a difficult day, the easiest thing to do is set a timer for ten or twenty minutes to focus on just one area of the house. It’s surprising how much you can get done in just twenty minutes! Then, give yourself a break to do something that you love, like reading or crafting, and an hour later set the timer again to focus on a different area. While it may feel impossible to take on the entire day in one bite, short intervals are considerably more doable.
Sometimes I like to use my imagination when the days feel especially dreary. Sometimes, I pretend that I’m Cinderella, slaving away for my evil step-sisters while dreaming of my Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming. The added bonus of a little bit of play-pretend is that when my husband gets off work, I can include him in playing his part of the handsome prince. This gets especially exciting after the children go to bed.
Appearance is something that comes more naturally to me, since I have a passionate interest in fashion and beauty and enjoy researching it on the internet. Something that a lot of women don’t understand is that it takes just as much time to dress well as it does to dress sloppily, and it’s just as comfortable. Make sure you get dressed early in the day. The Art of Homemaking recommends dressing before breakfast, but since I’m a “slow starter” and need extra time to wake up, I put it off until just after. Remember, when you look fantastic, it’s much harder to feel bad.
Make time for regular exercise. This may feel daunting, especially when you have small children who think that downward facing dog is some sort of “mom jungle gym.” I go for my timer again with this one, and set it for ten minutes. My dear sweet and loving babies can occupy themselves during that ten minutes, because mama needs to focus on her breathing! It’s helps me feel more relaxed and emotionally stable, so I’m better able to deal with their demands and misbehavior without losing my cool.
Attitude and Appearance provide a solid foundation for becoming an ideal homemaker.
My life has gone down paths that I never thought I’d travel, and this past year has been no different. I took time away from blogging for my family, and have spent the past year sharing wonderful moments with my husband and two daughters. Now that my baby #2 is approaching her first birthday, I’m finding myself with more leisure time and the desire to start chronicling my life and crafting once again.
This past year has seen many changes in my life. My husband and I bought a house that we are now renovating, and what an adventure this is turning out to be! For all of the quirks and oddities of our home, I absolutely adore it.
I have also, somehow and surprisingly, found myself going back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is difficult to explain how this came about, but the peace and understanding that I have found since opening up my heart to God has had an immense impact on my life and character. There are many emotional issues that I still struggle with as the result from my adventurous past, but I am solidly an the road of improvement.
This blog, from this point onward, will be different. I have decided to keep my older entries, since while it may not be obvious to most people, they do tell of my journey from naïveté, to cynicism, to understanding. I have certainly ruffled a few feathers along the way, but I am proud of how I have grown and have no desire to hide my past. Everything from before now will be categorized under “Archives.”
My focus will be on traditional femininity, and include topics like homemaking, cooking, crafting, motherhood, religion, and how to treat husbands (the last being of mega importance!). Being the perfect woman is an art that takes practice and skill, and it is the goal that I wish to achieve. While there are many areas that I fall short, I am earnest and determined to succeed, if only to provide my daughters with the role model that I longed to have for myself.
Onward and upward!
Part Two, Feminists Hate Women
My Feminist Theories class was held in a conference room, where we sat in cushy chairs around a large table — there were only about ten or so students in the course. I stuck out the second I walked through that door, and while the professor didn’t say anything outright I got the distinct impression that she thought that I was lost. All of the other women in the class were that carefully manufactured, “I don’t care about my appearance,” sort of frumpy — the sort where you know that they spent quite awhile in front the mirror making sure that they looked like they had just rolled out of bed. I was wearing glittery makeup and high heels, with styled hair and colorful clothes. I probably looked like a peacock that had somehow wandered its way into the midst of a bunch of chickens.
The first thing that the professor had us do was introduce ourselves, and every single one of the other students asserted herself as “heterosexual” in her introduction. I didn’t know why it mattered so much, since this was supposedly an open minded group that didn’t care about sexuality. I stayed silent about myself, and was labeled as being a lesbian for it. I ended up carrying that label through the entire semester, and it became something of a private joke for me.
With our first essay we were to write about a woman that we admired, and I chose my sister-in-law. She had recently quit her job to raise her baby, and I thought very highly of her for it. Every day it seemed that people were increasingly negative towards motherhood, and I was becoming familiar with the stereotype that housewives were vapid — even the Mormons from my youth had started to encourage higher education and careers over raising families. I wrote about how brave my sister-in-law had been to make that decision, and I immediately became the class pariah.
I solidified my position when I wrote an essay about how the “sexual liberation” movement was taking away a girl’s right to say no to sex, and it was then that I encountered virgin-shaming for the first time. It shocked me to hear those women rant against virginity, and I knew that I could never, ever, agree with them. For a group that decried rape so much, they were doing their best to institutionalize it on a societal level.
I learned that feminists hated femininity. They weren’t trying to achieve equality through acknowledging that everyone’s role was important, but rather through trying to force everyone to be the same. Qualities like nurturing and loyalty were attacked as being “weak,” and the desire to look nice and wear pretty clothes was considered the result of brainwashing. Feminism took away the value and influence that women had in their families and communities, then told them that if they wanted to be important then they needed to be like men. Women aren’t like men, and no one can be happy trying to be something that they are not.
I learned beyond a doubt that I was not a feminist — I actually enjoyed being a woman.