Friday, October 7, 2016

Enjoying Your Home

A couple of weeks ago I criticised a book by an Evangelical author stating that Christianity is basically about abolishing class distinctions. The book in question had a good example of what is called "cognitive dissonance"" when the lady who wrote it was lamenting that women are still experiencing "oppression" in more traditional countries yet praising the fact that since so many women were home they had time to practise hospitality and support each other while their men were at work.

That's how Western society used to be, before the majority of women exchanged their freedoms for a paycheck. Nowadays we are experiencing the movement of women going back home, but they often find themselves lonely and without necessary community support, so they turn to the internet for instructions and getting in touch with like-minded individuals. (One of the regular favourites on my blog, for instance, is the post about Vintage Housekeeping Manuals.)

The problem is that they sometimes get a twisted message about what it means to be a homemaker. Instead of enjoying their life at home and time with their children, they are guilt-tripped into various money-making activities, whether they need money or not; overwhelmed with schedules often accompanied by pictures of perfect homes and are warned against most innocent hobbies as something which wastes time and keeps them away from domestic duties.

Hey, I'm not saying that one should be lazying around watching soaps while the husband breaks his back at work and children are running wild, just that folks should be realistic in what they can achieve given their own circumstances, their finances, their state of health etc. However hard you try, you'll never be able to achieve perfection, especially with small children.

 Also, most homemaking manuals, including some recent ones, exaggerate when they push incessant scrubbing, dusting and vacuuming. One of those I read suggested changing tablecloth twice a day. It means I'd have to wash 14 tablecloths every week! Just think how much it would cost and what an enormous workload it is (you have to iron them, too). May be, when one has a house full of servants it works, but for an average family it's not a great idea though.

To enjoy homemaking and life at home in general, one has to achieve some form of balance between order and chaos, depending on one's priorities and circumstances. The most important thing is not to be dogmatic about it. Also keep in mind that practicing hospitality is at least equally important to taking care of stuff, after all, someone besides your family has to appreciate your nice teacups and your baking skills! 

For further information, check this post by Lydia Sherman:
Are You out Working?


  1. Housewife from FinlandOctober 7, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    I notice every now and then that I start feeling guilty if I am not "busy enough" during the days... I quite often feel that only women with children are "allowed" to stay at home. Even if the kids are already grown up, I feel that those ladies have done their duties and have right to rest. I have to remind myself that as long as my hubby is happy, everything is fine.

    The Protestant Work Ethic is very strong in Finland. It is very difficult to get rid of that mindset.

  2. I wouldn't blame our Protestant ancestors (I guess no one has any illusions about our modern society being dominated by Christian ethics)for the spirit of this age...Unfortunately, it made its way into the churches, too.

  3. Housewife from FinlandOctober 8, 2016 at 2:44 AM

    I do blame our ancestors. They made virtue out of necessity, and even nowadays when people really do not need to work so very hard, it is literally the only thing that many people here value. Hard work.

    I have noticed that younger generations do not think that way. They value being busy, but not necessarely hard work. But my parents generation is full of total workaholics who cannot relax. And my generation is full of people who believe that they must be BOTH hard-working AND busy.

  4. Hard work used to be a necessity when everything was difficult to achieve: food, energy, resources, land. I agree that Christianity doesn't exist for abolishing classes, that is rather socialism. Christianity is about God Who became Man and how this affects us. I wouldn't associate protestantism with hard work only, workoholism has to do with consumerism and making money over making life meaningful.

  5. Exactly. Post-war consumerism, obsession with material wealth and owning more stuff than the neighbours and second-wave feminism which insists that women should live like men (i.e spending all their time in money-making pursuits and endless activity for the sake of activity) are more to blame than Protestant Reformers from the 16th century:)Even in the 1930s there wasn't such a pressure on women to achieve.