But I Hate Sewing! (And Other Excuses Homemakers-in-Training Make)

9:30 AM

It doesn't take much for a reluctant homemaker-in-training to argue her way out of practicing her skills...especially if there's a new book to read. As said reluctant homemaker-in-training, here are the excuses I put to myself when presented with dishes to wash, quilts to sew or a new skill to learn - and the truth that sets me free.

Excuse 1: I'll learn this later. When I'm married. When I have my own home.

Reality: The point isn't learning every single homemaking skill one might possibly need before marriage. The point is developing a heart toward home and the basic building blocks to make homemaking easier. And quite frankly, if I'm not motivated now when the house is a wreck, lunch isn't made and it's two o'clock, how would a change of marital status plus three babies motivate me in the long run?

Excuse 2: Homemaking isn't my thing.

Reality: Even if one is a bookwormish, deeply literary, philosophical, thought-thinking kind of gal (me), this is no excuse. One doesn't have to be a Martha Stewart to be a good keeper at home. My home may eventually end up looking more like a book store than an Etsy shop - and that's okay. I may never learn the fancy stuff of needlework. But in every art - like homemaking - there are certain basics that must be mastered. In homemaking, there are just the generals like cooking, cleaning, organizing, baby tending and simply learning to love the home. We can't eat out at McDonald's every day. We can't always go to the laundromat. We can't always hire the Merry Maids on the weekend. That's my job - the homemaker's job. And while I may never be as creative with the crochet hook as the ideal homemaker, I can be confident in the basics. That framework of skill and a love of home starts here - now. Even if I don't go for tatting.

Excuse 3: My parents just expect me to be a slave in the house...that's all.

Reality: Perhaps I am the only one who tries to excuse her lack of industry by blaming it on the parents who aren't there with horns and confetti every time she changes a load of laundry - and really, this is the weakest excuse possible. But I have thought it. Truth is, homemaking isn't about my personal empowerment. It's about service. Our God made it very clear that service in secret is actually done to the pleasure of God Most High. If that doesn't motivate me to get off the couch and start some laundry, I don't know what will!

Excuse 4: I'm too busy.

Reality: For someone, this might be true. If so, something has to go - something that's not encouraging a homeward attitude (maybe softball?), that won't matter in the long run (the local play?). Learning to give up activities for the greater good of the home's peace is, also, an imperative part of homemaking.

But for me, this is not true. I'm just as liable to say this when lazying on the couch than when hopping in and out of the van. Busy with what? A book? Put it down. A movie? Turn it off. Outings with friends? Spend your Saturday tagging along after your mother instead. Fact is, if my mother is too busy for leisure, I am too lazy.

Excuse 5: Nobody will teach me!

Reality: A lack of teachers never stopped someone with true passion and interest from pursuing a goal. Our mothers taught us to read: we can pick up a knitting book and figure out how to cast on stitches. My younger sister taught herself all her homemaking skills from books and online patterns - with no teacher but patience and practice.

I've found with myself that this is a true statement: "Nobody will teach me!" is really a covert "I don't have the motivation to learn." Even the busiest of mothers, if begged long enough, can stop to give a lesson in de-boning chicken. But it's got to start with me. I have to pursue the teacher. It's not a question of the eagerness or availability of the teacher, but of the student.

Excuse 6: What's so hard about macaroni and cheese, anyway?

Reality: Not much. So why don't you make lunch?

Excuse 7: I just don't want to right now.

Reality: And here's the truth of it all - there is no excuse better to my mind than the fact that I just don't want to. If this is our excuse, then we have none. Our mothers have felt this too and if they followed through with it, we their children would be naked, starving and living in squalor. It takes guts and a vision outside of oneself to pursue homemaking all day, every day - and we're not talking tatting and fancywork. We're talking three basic meals, laundry and vacuuming - plus all those dirty diapers and deep theological conversations with the home schooled high schoolers.

Finding excuses to not help in the home shows a faulty humility and servanthood. This is where we serve. This is where we employ our talents. And that's a beautiful thing, if you think about it. The point is developing a heart and a vision for home. Not perfection. Not crocheted doilies. Just availability, humility and a servant's heart.

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10 impressions

  1. I'd have half a mind to do this all in italics because I'm so excited that you finally taught me. :)

    Anyways - Come on, Mrs. P. showed me the basics on crocheting, Mum showed me how to read patterns, and she even taught me the basics of knitting when she knew how...Don't flatter me by saying it was all books. :D

    Were you actually going to make macaroni and cheese today? I'm starved. Old, baby teethed apples are not my idea of breakfast.


  2. Ah, and there's the rub.

    It's cruel of you to make all my faults public, Bayleaf! What? You say I didn't tell you I'm just like that? Oh. Oops.

    The fact of the matter is, my dear sweet sister, you have listed out most of my vocabulary. I guess I really ought to try to do more work around here... I mean housework - Farm work is easy for me... housework, well, I don't enjoy it as much.

    You have inspired me however to try harder to enjoy it, and when I can't, to simply do it anyway.


  3. I really, really enjoy your blog. It'll be posted on www.thewhiteraft.com in just a minute :)

    You have wisdom to give even those of us who are approaching 39 years ;)

  4. Flop: what? You want macaroni for breakfast? I stand corrected on your talents. You learned most of them from books.

    It's shocking to know that I stooped to accidental slander, my dearest Lizzy! We can sympathize together, knowing that our interests and our laziness match up perfectly. :D

    Mrs. Harris, thank you so much for your sweet words! I cannot honestly accept any praise for my wisdom, though - any wisdom of mine comes from Christ alone. :o)

  5. Lizzy, you are my kind of person. I'd much rather do farmwork than housework. I'm not really a farmgirl, but I am a country girl. We do have chickens, though. :-) Yep, lots of farmwork. We have to get up at 2 in the morning to milk them. Ok, not really. Anyway.

    Yes, housework is something that should be practiced. Although, I'm not sure about the sewing and stuff. Nobody can teach me. It's not really my thing-er, you were saying, Bailey? We get all our clothes at Goodwill.
    Is saying, "I don't have enough patience a good excuse?"
    Hey, it's not really fair to pick on the girls. How come you don't teach your brothers to sew? OK, seriously, now. But it's no fair.

    I have a feeling the Proverbs 31 woman is going to be coming up next. :-)


  6. LOL Katie. ;o) My mom says I don't like doing sewing and stuff because I don't have enough practice - or patience. For example: I hated grammar growing up, especially one particular course which killed me...and the next school year I was a grammar geek. 'Cause I got it. :o)

    Chase knows how to sew, a little, but he's not interested in stitching up dresses and purses like another little lady in our family.

    By the by, homekeeping (in Scripture) isn't just about housework...what you do for the upkeep of the home (e.g. milking chickens) is just as important. You can leave the sewing to more talented sisters as long as you're part of the home economy. I might go crazy at some aspects of housework, but homework...never. I wouldn't trade all my little siblings, teaching and hospitality for anything. :o)

  7. I saw my 19 year old son trying to iron his shirt before church,and he was muttering something about hating to iron! I've also watched my husband and son do dishes from time to time to help me out, and they always come away from the sink with a huge sigh of relief. Why do I point these minor details out? Only to say God has specially designed us to fulfill our God given roles. I have been called by God to be a keeper at home. Undoubtedly, it requires doing over and over many simple household chores. I have, by God's enabling strength, been able to do these responsibilities without being too overwhelmed. On the other hand, I am not able to chop and stack firewood, do automotive maintenance,and till the garden with a heavy duty cultivator like my husband and son. These things could easily overwhelm me. All this says is we have been designed and made to fulfill different roles. I thank God I am doing what He says I should be doing.I please Him evenmore when I do my work cheerfully. Embrace the role of being a keeper at home and find true blessing and fulfillment!! Lovingly yours, Mrs. Reinke

  8. Thank you for your encouragement, Mrs. Reinke! I think of you when I think of "keeper at home."

    Strangely, my brother irons much better than I do - he taught me. (Ironing is one of the essential military skills.) And there are some days when dishes overwhelm me - soup bowl days, mostly. But there's something very different when these little things add up to your own home. Apart from the general economy of the home, these things seem...boring. Time-consuming. Not so if you see the big picture.


  9. Wow, Bailey, excuse 6 explains me completely! I must say, I rather like puttsing arround the house and getting chores done such as dishes, laundry, or vacuuming. My advice to you is to play music or have a pal to talk to or (one of my favorites) think up a dramatic story or major summer project while folding your 9th t-shirt in a row. ;)

    I love how you have such a heart to serve your family and help your mother out so much, God doesn't fail to notice such things, even if they seem insignificant now.


  10. LOL Excuse six was my personal reprimand, 'cause I used to say that about doing my English lessons. I follow your style of housework - singing, talking, thinking. In fact, if I don't have someone to talk to, something to sing or something to think about, I feel prone to banging my head on the wall in frustration. I was thinking of you when I wrote this post, knowing what a big help you were around the house and wishing I could be more like you. :o)


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