Sunday, March 1, 2015

Allow Yourself To Be Domestic

My new centerpiece.

Here is a close-up:

The wood pieces were all grey originally, so I painted them using some old watercolours.

Domesticity is so much more than simple housekeeping. One can keep a decent house and to cook regularly and still miss something, something which makes the house really feel like home. Women nowadays aren't supposed to be overtly domestic. I once joined a ladies' craft group in a friend's church, and all the ladies with one exception were in their 60s and older. In fact, I was the youngest.

Domesticity isn't only knitting or cross-stitching, of course. It's just taking a general pleasure in making your home beautiful and cosy, attending to small details, arranging flowers, lighting the candles when your husband comes home in the evening, stuff like that. My friend tells me it was quite normal for women in the 1950s and 60s to be interested in beautifying their homes and their lives, until you-know-who arrived and started telling women it was silly.

Nowadays men are taught to discover their soft feminine side, while women are taught to be strong and independent, which apparently means wearing ugly clothes, having messy homes and avoiding any traditional feminine occupations and hobbies as a vampire avoids garlic.

Another friend once told me how she was alone at home knitting when a postman came along to deliver a package. She felt embarrassed that he saw her sitting there with her knitting needles "as an old lady." Of course, young ladies aren't supposed to be home at all during the day-time, they must be working at a job, so it's only logical they won't have time for creative hobbies.

Even many Christian homemaking sites only write about the practical side of homemaking and child-rearing and encourage women to use their free hours for establishing home businesses. The truth is you won't really enjoy your life at home if you never allow yourself any time for a more creative part of housekeeping, namely, establishing a cosy and beautiful home. It doesn't have to cost much money, either.

One of the blogs promoting domesticity is Mias Landliv, which I link to. Another one is Home Living from Lydia Sherman. Domesticity isn't boring or silly, it's essential for a good home life. Remember, man makes a living, woman makes life worth living.


  1. Hear her! :-)

    Btw I love love the color combination of your new centerpiece! After a all-white/dull grey winter I'm thirsty for some color!

  2. Thanks, Miriam! I like colour in the house, too.

  3. I love the colours of your centrepiece, and you are absolutely right. Making a home gezellig gives for a peaceful, comfortable atmosphere. Men do appreciate it.

  4. I am not in and out of homes now a days other than our families ones. I had not realized women had abandoned the notion of brightening up their homes to suit their personalities. I have heard this mention though on other blogs. How sad. It is so fun to make somethings for our own homes and families. To use our God given imaginations and talents. Thankfully the homes I still see have kept this. Yes in the 50s and through the 60s homemakers did do so many creative things for their families and for their homes. There were even annual Church Bazars where most of what was sold was made at home. There were so many things I even remember making or working on with others. Gifts for bridal showers and holiday gifts and many many things for our homes or hope chests. In our first home together we had little money but that did not stop us from having pictures on the walls and table clothes and such. A bit of paint and cloth and imagination and we had a beautiful home. As you know from the beautiful changes you make in you own home it changes a room and puts a smile on your face to put your own touch in your home. We need to try to mentor a younger person in some sewing or craft or any skill we have to show them how much fun and satisfaction they can have too. I know several older women who have adopted a young lady on their street to show them the arts. One is teaching sewing and the other cooking and how to make cards. If their parents do not seem to have the time or the notion maybe we can step in and show one of them? Many seem hungry for some beauty. I have had school children stop and want to ask me about flowers in my yard. In my area few of the homes show any beauty let alone flowers. The children notice the difference and seem to be attracted to it. Maybe we could put some ideas of a better life into their heads. :) Sarah

  5. Sarah, unfortunately, most young and not-so-young women simply don't have much time for this sort of things. It's impossible to invest much energy into domesticity when a woman works outside home, or even staying home with a very young children. It's when the children start getting older and going to school, that the mother has some leisure for developing domesticity. It's also exactly when the society tells her to get back to work immediately.

  6. Marietta, thanks! Is it really so cold in Toronto area as I have heard? - 30*?

  7. Domesticity is necessary indeed, but just staying at home and keeping house and family life is a first step to be achieved at the very beginning until the homemaker reaches a dexterity or patience to do all sort of things she hadn't been trained to do before and then comes the second step - feeling like doing some enterprise in this direction, not just doing things from a to-do-list. Domesticity is a refined version of homemaking that few women like or even tackle during day-time. We belong to a anxious, nervous, rushed generation and don't take our time to do things step-by-step. That is why homemaking is despised, it takes much effort to become a good homemaker and it is much easier to give it all up and say women have the right to work outside their home etc. Accepting a limited schedule at work is much easier than working full-time at home and perfecting one's skills life long. We must regain our natural ability of learning and achieving skills, our brain has to relax from the masculine rhythm we have been taught to work and act and maybe turn off some technology that surrounds us too. We have to say no to several activities that distract us from doing a good job at home, otherwise goat and cabbage cannot be pleased at the same time, how a popular proverb says in my country.

  8. Housewife from FinlandMarch 2, 2015 at 4:11 AM

    Here in Finland women seem to like to decorate their homes enough. But I wonder how much their husband's enjoy those "homes". Stylish house is not necessarily cozy...

    Our home is rather old-fashioned, simple and man-cavish. We both like it that way.

  9. The weather in Ontario - In February the thermometer never went above zero -not even once! It was mostly -10 to -15 during the day. Very different than normal. It is warming up now and the strange part is that in a few weeks it can change totally. All the more important that we keep our homes cozy - we spend a lot of time in them. Last week we had a special evening for the ladies in our church and put lots of spring flowers on the tables. It might have been cold and snowing outside, but it was spring and pretty inside. Our guest speaker spoke about being hospitable to others. We need to be hospitable to those around us and our homes need to feel welcome.

  10. I know some people always exaggerate:) My mother was told it was -30* the whole time:)

    I didn't mean a home must look like a show place. Everybody's tastes are different, that the best part of it, there is space enough to choose whatever you and your family like.

    Alexandra, you are right about anxiety, but how can people relax when they are taught to spend as little time home as possible. Husband and wife both work, then come home to an empty house and start fighting about whose turn it is to make dinner.

  11. Staying at home is not beneficial for consumerism that is why one-income families spend less money on wants or selfish impulses. Homemaking is crucial for family stability, divorce is easier to undergo when both spouses have their own money. The making of dinner is a common thing among two-income-families, the wife asks her husband to do the job she cannot do and the husband claims it's not his duty. The wife then reminds her husband that he owes her respect because her salary makes their house, comfort etc. If the husband asks the wife to stay at home the wife might refuse because she fears to depend economically on her husband. I had a recent discussion with a friend on this topic and the conclusion was men need us to depend on them in order to take on responsibility for us. We cannot ask a man to protect us if we tell him subliminally that we don't need him, that we are strong without his help. This is not power, but feminine weakness. It takes a great effort to change one's mentality about what it means to be a wife and what it means to be a husband, it's not the same romantic and reciprocal love we see in movies, man loves woman, woman loves man and they live as partners with equal tasks in their family and then decide to divorce if the romance ends.We have to make our family work properly but not in the sense of gaining more money or prosperity from this stability family gives us, but rather gaining spiritual strength and value. You said well, life has to become worth living and this modern greed for more, daring for more, taking more and more due to consumerism doesn't make life worth living. It takes away the life itself, not just our daily comfort and pleasure for living.

    1. Housewife from FinlandMarch 3, 2015 at 5:02 AM

      " We cannot ask a man to protect us if we tell him subliminally that we don't need him, that we are strong without his help. This is not power, but feminine weakness."

      This is so very wise, thank you very much.

      I think that women who think that they are so emancipated and strong that they cannot or need not to give any responsibility to theiry husbands are weak. Weak and full of fear. I know because I used to be like that myself. They are afraid of really trusting their husbands, letting go of total control. Attitude like that often kills love and real intimacy.

      One has to be really strong and independent to be submissive wife nowadays. It took me a lot of courage. But I am so happy I found it in me.

  12. Nowadays it's all about economy and money. There are other things in life which are more important, but people are taught to despise them. Also, if a woman (or a man) wishes to stay independent, why marry?

  13. Thank you for these thoughts. I wish I had had this opportunity when I was young. Still, it's a great help to me now. I still have one teen at home. I've not raised my first two in a nice clean home, let alone cozy. I wallowed in self-pity for the most part (and for good reason, though I should have fought the feeling more fiercely).

  14. Housewife from Finland, it's very true we need more courage. We don't have to explain ourselves so much why we have chosen to be housewives, it's our nature that proves this to be necessary. Our history shows that strong civilizations have been built on families with working men and wives who stayed at home. Our past is a good teacher, but unfortunately we are taught to despise our past as being old fashioned and useless, or against women's rights.

  15. Alexandra, I deleted the double comment.

  16. Sanne, Ok,I hadn't even noticed it was double.