Being a homemaker conjures up many different images. Some see June Cleaver of the favorite 50’s show, Leave It to Beaver, while others lean toward a more modern day “soccer mom” ideal. For me, it’s a mix of new and old, but strongly built on the ideals that I gleaned from my mother and grandmother.
My Mom was a stay at home mother by choice, but she was hardly idle. She helped my Dad with his home based business (indeed, she was quite a part of the business) was equally involved in the family farm, and volunteered with our local 4H club as leader and project leader, all while raising 4 children. She also enjoyed her own food truck, long before they came into style, and though it was again a part time venture, it was a means to make a little extra money (again, from home) while still maintaining her full time homemaker status. We never wondered where she was, never even considered what coming home to an empty home would be.
But she was also a homemaker in the traditional sense. Her sewing skills kept us in clothes when funds were tight and helped furnish those little extras; her knitting skills gave us matching sweater coats one year, beautifully handcrafted pink coats that we proudly wore until they no longer would go around us! Her homemade breads could not be beat at the county fair competitions and her garden provided for much of the home canned goods we enjoyed year round. You might call her a Proverbs 31 woman, though I’m not sure she ever thought of herself that way.
My grandmother on my Dad’s side was also a stay at home Mom who helped her husband with his home based business. Though she was much less involved in the actual business, she played an integral part in keeping it flowing smoothly. She didn’t have a food truck, but her homemade treats were offered to guests within minutes of their arrival and she was well known for her delightful baking and warm hospitality! She could knit, but crocheting was more to her liking and she created some amazing items. One year, she crocheted each of us our own afghan for our beds; each in our favorite colors with our name crocheted in large print across the middle. Those afghans became treasured reminders of the love that can ebb from tired hands.
My mother and grandmother could have chosen a career that took them outside the home. They were both intelligent woman with abilities well beyond that to wash dishes and keep the laundry. But they found their fulfillment in raising a family and helping others from home. Growing up, I didn’t realize the astounding impact of homemade jams and a bouquet of freshly picked lilacs from the tree in front of our home. But many years later, I can still smell those lilacs, along with the warm, freshly baked bread being cut warm and spread with the jam; I can hear my Mom welcoming us home from school; I can see her organizing our 4H dog club and rushing us off to meetings after clearing the dinner table, the aroma of her homemade chili still filling the room; I can hear her voice on the CB, directing my father to his next tow call, while helping my sister with her English homework. Those memories are stronger than any dinner out or new dress could possibly evoke. My grandma’s cookies, peanut butter, snickerdoodles, or chocolate chips were among the regular fare, still tempt my taste buds, though it’s been many years since she last baked. My mother’s garden, a huge spread that she mostly tended herself with some help from us children, gave us more than good nutrition; we have the memories of those freshly picked green beans and peas that we snacked upon as we pulled weeds; the corn cooked and eaten with an hour of picking, and the tomatoes that had such intense flavors. Memories. My Mom and Grandma gave our family such a firm grounding that the memories are there to be savored, long after they have gone to rest. No career path, no high paying job, no expensive gifts could possibly even begin to touch those memories and the important lessons and skills they imparted to us.
Cooking, cleaning, sewing, yarn crafts such as crocheting and knitting….these are often set aside as today’s youth stretch toward higher education in hopes of seeking that big corporate job. I’m not against each choosing his or her own path, but I do wonder what would happen in our world if more chose to create that warm, inviting home life for our families, in preference to that next big project. What if Mom was always there to greet the children as they arrived home or perhaps homeschooled? What if the entire family was actively involved in a common interest, be it a community service project, 4H, or perhaps a family small business? What if our family time was every dinner together, rather than once a week?
And so this page will be devoted to helping others work toward the goal of family cohesion and making memories that cannot be bought; memories that will brighten your family’s life and inspire the next generation to create even more!