When I left the Army to stay home and raise babies I was sort of in a weird limbo. I stumbled through the motions required to physically maintain a home, husband and small child, but my mind was elsewhere. I looked forward to dinner being done and things being put away so that I could get out my small-business start-up books and LSAT study manuals. I continued to look at my 2.5 year-old daughter as the part-time job she had always been, eventhough she was now my full-time job.
About that time God led me into a Christian women’s group at our local post in Arizona. How eye-opening! These women were actually reading about mothering! They were reading cookbooks in order to prepare more nutritious meals for their children, they were even reading books about the spiritual benefits of doing laundry. I joined a small book group in which we read about how to be better wives. Suddenly, my eyes were opened — I could learn how to improve every single aspect of our domestic life and bless my husband and children so abundantly! I didn’t have to be a natural pre-school teacher who loves to meal plan and re-upholster. No way, there were forerunners in this vocation and they have written wisely. In fact, as our mothers’ rode the cultural pressure wave of feminism and entered the workplace full-force, we lost domestic role models and familial wisdom. We have had to relearn things that were components of every family home just fifty years ago. We have the added temptations of hydrogentated high fructose convenience foods and 24-hour kiddie programming to avoid as well. We have been told that aprons and ironing boards are the modern day equivalents of chains. Well, my readings over the past THREE years have finally enabled me to reclaim many of the objects of domesticity. In fact, I love wearing an apron at the end of the day so that I can prepare a dinner from scratch. I love when I have time to iron one precious shirt for my husband to wear on the plane when he travels. These are enormous blessings to my family, they bless their health and spirit, and I know I would not be able to do that if I were slugging it through law school as previously envisioned.
I have been really empowered by reading Michael Pollan on how important slow, healthy food is. I have loved reading Laura Berquist on how to educate my little ones. Even Dr. Laura, on whom I am personally ambivalent, shares great wisdom on being a wife. I am in the midst of a book that I found in our Church’s “trash pile” (your tax dollars at work, folks) that really hits home the importance of a welcoming, established home in every individual’s life. To quote: “The stability and sense of community a home gives is necessary not only for the child’s well-being but also for persons of any age. Home is the comfortable base where we all belong.” Amen! So God help, me, I am not a natural-homemaker, but I am educating myself, and intend to do the same for all my children. Why is Home education so taboo? Is there room for it in the schools? What are some of your favorite titles?