September 22, 2010

The New Homemaker??

We are in a busy time of the year for our family.  It is cross country season and my DH is the coach for our high school team.  It seems like I never get a lot done during this time of the year as there are meets to go to and I bake 9 dozen muffins for the team for breakfast once a week. 

Because my DH spends a lot of time on cross country and he also has a full time job, he doesn't have extra time to help me around the house.  I understand.  Tonight after supper he washed the dishes and wiped the counter tops.  He did it without saying anything, he just got to work.  Then he made some coffee for the two of us.  Do you have any idea how that made me feel?  Absolutely wonderful.

I need to finish painting the fence, finish painting on some other areas of our house before winter and my DH plans to build a shed to put in our backyard plus bust up the side steps and pour new concrete steps.  Probably not the best time of year to tackle these projects, but that is how it is playing out due to the wet spring and summer we had. 

In the meantime I am in "minimum" house work mode.  You know, tidy up, keep the laundry up, cook some simple meals and clean the bathrooms as needed.  The one thing I will not cut out of my schedule is my daily bike ride as I need the fresh air and time to enjoy nature and let my mind wander.  Today as I was biking I started to think about the phrase I keep reading on the internet and other blogs - "the new homemaker."  Am I a new homemaker? 

It's interesting how we have to put labels on things and perhaps "the new homemaker" is one of those new labels.  I consider myself a homemaker and am not afraid to tell people that I am one.  Perhaps I should now say that I am a "new" homemaker or a "new and improved" homemaker.  How about "homemaking on my terms." 

I have watched episodes of "Mad Men" and it is very interesting how they portray the 1960's homemaker. It is not how I want to be perceived.  Women had "their place" and there were certain expectations of how a house was kept.  I grew up in that era and I remember very well the homemakers in our neighborhood and they were nothing like what is shown on "Mad Men."  I remember that the majority of the women wore housedresses during the day, they hung clothes out on the line and kept their houses moderately clean.  I remember playing in many backyards in the neighborhood and that many of those homemakers would stop and watch us play with a neighbor.  They would sip coffee and talk about was going on in each other's lives and watch us kids run around and play. 

The ladies in our neighborhood took pride in their homes and did their best but they weren't perfectionists.  When there was a tragedy, the neighborhood homemakers would get into action mode.  There would be calls made, cakes delivered to a family and babysitting services offered.  If a kid got hurt and needed stitches there was no need to ask, those women would in a heartbeat drop any plans they had for the day in order to watch another neighbor's kids or drive someone to the doctor.  I remember recipes being shared.  The recipes were simple.  All of the familes in our neighborhood were one income families with the husband being a blue collar factory worker and living on a small income. 

And there were those coffee times.  A couple of times a week 3 or 4 of those ladies would gather at another lady's house and they would have coffee and maybe cookies.  The cookies didn't matter as long as there was coffee and conversation.  They would talk about what was going on in their lives and advice was given.  It would last at the most an hour and then they would go back to their homes to face the laundry, cooking and the cleaning. 

I learned a lot from these neighborhood homemakers. One lady taught me to sew, another would listen to me when I was a teenager and went through that "I don't like my mom phase."  She listened, didn't say much but she listened and it really helped. 

That is my role model for being a homemaker and it isn't new.  I aspire to be the kind of homemaker that lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up.  Someone who was willing to help another, who did the best she could with her housework but wasn't a perfectionist, who laughed and shared a cup of coffee with another woman and encouraged each other.  That is in my opinion the best kind of homemaker and it isn't new. 


Maureen said...

I was a Homemaker for the two months that I was off of work, and now that I have returned to the workforce, things at home have stayed pretty much the same.Except for the fact that I had nobody to turn to for Muffins and a chat, as my neighbours were all at work.
I think I may have to start looking at picking up a hobby for when I retire or I am going to be one bored New Housewife.

Moxie said...

Wow that sounds wonderful! I love being a homemaker too....only thing is....we are few and far between. I've got the coffee and the yard with kids...but no neighbors or stay at home mom's to share it with! Sigh.....I did hear a report on the radio the other week that said the trend is moving towards ladies leaving the work force....that was encouraging! I hope it's true! Enjoy your busy season...we're getting ready for our too!!

tammyyarbrough said...

There's no better feeling in the world. Wonderfully written :D

Martha said...

Being a homemaker in today's society can be lonely as it seems everyone else is out there working. I will always remember my growing up years and running through the backyards of my child hood friends, hiding behind the clothes on the line, and sitting out front on the porch steps eating a popsicle. While those days may be gone for good, I can still catch glimpses of those days when I am hanging out clothes on the line and chatting with some retirees as they walk by my house.