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?