Stoking The Home Fires

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It seems as though when Spring and Summer role around, me and my little blog of mine go into hibernation! I don’t ever mean to disappear from blogging, but come Autumn time, here I am! And you can bet we’re gearing up for the season!

Having my own house two months shy of a year now (excuse me, Mr. Time, where did my year go?), has made me internalize a lot of things about being a woman of my own home and what that means to me. I’ve waited for so long in my adult life to live on my own with my husband (especially after my in-laws have lovingly taken us in twice, living there a total of six years! Us millennials are the “boomerang” generation, after all!) that in some ways I’m still figuring out a lot about being a wife, a woman, and learning what kind of woman I’d like to grow into, even at thirty-one. And now I’m a woman who owns her own home. In the last ten months, there’s been a lot of adjustments and a lot of grace to be had by my husband, as I have the longer commute to work (anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on traffic). I’m basically useless and tired during the week. It didn’t take long for my “uselessness”, such as not picking up the kitchen after dinner most nights during the week, to show me what kind of wife I’d prefer to be. What kind of woman I want to grow into. What it might mean to be a “woman of my own house”, as I call it. It’s been a tough balance on the weekend to rest, decompress, and remember to just do laundry since our move, I’m not going to lie. And when I’m looking at the toilets that need scrubbing, I long for the day when the house is all the work I need to focus on (other than caring for my husband and hopefully future children, of course!).

Stoking The Home Fires 1

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I may be going backwards here, and believe me – I’m all for women’s rights and progressing forward – but sometimes all I want is to just take care of my house and my husband. I want to learn how to do those things better and not work a 7:45-5 on top of that (I’ll note here that I get up at 4:45 and get home at about 7:00. It’s a long day, folks! But I’m not complaining [too much] because at the end of the day, I arrive at my own house. That commute makes this possible!). Maybe it’s because it’s hard for me to focus on more than one thing at a time. Maybe it’s because sometimes I realize I give work more attention during the day than my husband receives in the evening. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I’m finding more and more value of a spouse being at home creating a warm and welcoming environment for the family (of course, it doesn’t have to be the woman, as we’re not all cut out for the job or even want the job). Maybe it’s because I grew up with my mom being at home and I loved how I could count on her being there when I got home from school and how she had the house always clean, food was on the table, and I always felt cozy. I want to re-create that in any way I can. I think that’s why I love Fall so much. It’s been the easiest way for me to create my own kind of cozy, no matter where we’ve lived. Fall has always been the kick-off of that feeling for me, when I can bring out the decor, sip some cider with my husband, huddle under a warm blanket, and that feeling lasts all the way until I put the Christmas decor back in the boxes. It’s the time when I’m more purposeful and set intentions for creating those feelings. And in the Spring and Summer, those intentions fade quite a bit…until mid-August when I’m rather antsy about bringing back out my Autumn decor!

Stoking The Home Fires 3

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I’ve been reading – and cherishing – Stepping Heavenward, a book written in the 1800’s in diary format. The main character also struggles with learning to be a wife and what that looks like for her. I remember reading a part where she visits a friend and she’s observing how this friend “runs her house”. I guess that’s when some sort of light bulb went off, as I hadn’t thought about how I had been “running my own house”. I began to think of what it might mean being the woman of the house. What it means to step into that role, especially in today’s world. Of course back in the 1800’s, the women were expected to take care of the house and children as their job. They had skills they needed to learn and pass off to their girls, some of which may have been lost in our world today (like sewing or making a meal from scratch, as small examples. Or how about even having time to make a meal from scratch? I love that more and more people are jumping onto the whole foods bandwagon for this reason – fresh food that you know how it was prepared [with love as a secret ingredient, of course!]). What skills do I actually have? I was shown how to operate a sewing machine when I was thirteen in a Home Ec sort of class in middle school, and how to bake oatmeal cookies from scratch, but none of that knowledge was reinforced at home. Lucky for us, we no longer live in the 1800’s and housework  and cooking a meal is a breeze in comparison to those days! Less skill is needed.

But with the passing of the times, I fear we’ve lost a lot of value with having a woman at home. We’ve lost the luxury of having a spouse at home holding down the fort – because it has become a luxury – since in modern times there usually needs to be two incomes to take care of the bills and then some. We’ve lost the ability to appreciate a stay-at-home wife/mother as more women are forging ahead in the work force. It’s truly amazing the strides the generations of women before me made so that I may have more freedom as a woman. But as more women are growing their career, are we forgetting about the value of the woman who chose to stay home, if she could? Are we forgetting that with my generation, it’s harder for the woman to have the luxury to stay home with her children and raise them? To take care of her home? To care for her husband? And if she stays home, what’s being sacrificed? Are they suddenly in the poor house with that lost income? I’ve seen so many women get that sad look in their eye after they’ve had their sweet baby and count down to when they have to head back into work and leave their baby with childcare. Are we going against nature forcing women back into the work place after 6-8 weeks postpartum? Is it possible to have the career-family balance?

All of these questions have been rolling around in my head as I think about my true desires and acknowledging that I’ve reached a point in life where I’m stepping into true womanhood. Figuring out what it means for me is daunting. It’s frustrating. It’s overwhelming. I love that the women before me made it possible for me to have options. But what options do I really have if our current world doesn’t recognize the value in running a home and our current economic climate requires two incomes?

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