Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learning Homemaking Skills

Sister Barbara Winder, General Relief Society President in 1986 said:  “It is important for all of us to learn homemaking skills; whether she is married or single, every woman is a homemaker.

"I know a single woman, a widow, who prepares meals on Saturday to last her through the week because she must work long hours each day. At mealtimes, she always has a tablecloth or a place mat, a napkin, and a flower in a bud vase. Her home is artistically decorated and full of wonderful books and beautiful music.

"There is an art to being a homemaker. For ourselves and for our families, it is important that we have a sanctuary—a place of refuge away from the world where we feel comfortable and where, if others come, they, too, can feel comfortable.

"In Proverbs 31:10–31 [Prov. 31:10–31], we read, 'Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.' In those verses we are told that a virtuous woman weaves fabric, sells linen—her hands are not idle: 'She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.' (Prov. 31:27.) I think that is one of the keys. We should not be idle. We should be constantly using our gifts and talents to build up our families, the kingdom of God, and the community about us.”  (Barbara W. Winder, Ensign, March 1986, p. 20)

Being a homemaker requires developing organizational skills first and foremost.  We are required to set priorities for those homemaking skills we need to develop.  I remember the first time I went to the grocery store as a newly married young woman.  I had $25 for the week's groceries (1988).  I had no list, no menu, no clue what grocery items cost, nor did I have anything at home in the cupboards.  After about 30 minutes, I walked out of the store crying in frustration.  The first thing I needed to learn was how to stock my pantry and prepare meals on a very strict budget—this was a priority. 

Other homemaking skills included washing clothes properly.  I remember receiving so many towel sets as wedding gifts that I need not replace my towels for a good ten years!  However, right off the bat, my towels started showing signs of mildew.  This had to be addressed immediately.  I also learned that I couldn’t spend all day cleaning out a closet.  I had to learn to place a time-limit on tasks—maybe break a large task into smaller ones.

Gooseberry Patch Xmas Bk. 5, p. 99
I had received a couple of recipe books as wedding gifts and began to read them.  I found a list of essential pantry items and budgeted each week to buy these.  I asked more experienced homemakers about the mildew and learned to wash towels with vinegar.  Also, I learned to make sure no wet items were placed in the hamper!  I read articles and books on organizing closets and cabinets and donated many boxes of unnecessary items so that my cleaning didn’t take all day.

My favorite section of the library became home improvement, decorating, cooking, and cleaning.  (I look forward to Gooseberry Patch Christmas Books each year for more homemaking inspiration!)  Educating myself in my spare time was job #1.  Once essentials of homemaking were taken care of, then I was able to concentrate on more advanced skills such as cooking in large batches or giving a dinner party, as well as purchasing furniture, painting, and decorating a room.

Throughout the more than two decades of marriage, I have relied heavily on the homemaking training I have received from issues of the Ensign (old and new).  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ website, has a Gospel Library where you will find church magazines.  There you can choose the Ensign (also called the Liahona) and look up topics found in past issues by using the search engine.  I have used this for the last ten years since the Church first made past issues available in this way.  I am always recommending this site to other sisters at church who have concerns over marriage issues or questions about raising children, cooking, organizing, cleaning—you name it, it’s there!

Did You Know...
Some of the skills required for a homemaking career include:
1.  Managing time, energy, and resources (including money)
2.  Communicating effectively
3.  Housekeeping
4.  Cooking skills and nutrition
5.  Sewing, mending, and handicrafts
6.  Making wise decisions
7.  Keeping abreast of the times
8.  Applying first aid and sound health principles
9.  Making a home a place of beauty
10. Providing an atmosphere of learning, cultural refinement, recreation, service, and spirituality
11. Mothering, child care and guidance and
12. Becoming a responsive, supportive, and loving companion and wife. (I believe I got this a long time ago from one of my favorite websites --you can also find Christy's Clipart on Facebook).

Hopefully this Homemaker's Journal will incorporate all of these.

For more on the subject: Resurgence of Homemaking in the Church

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