Monday, October 13, 2008

Homemaking vs. House keeping

I'm a sucker for books about homemaking. When we were at the library last week, I saw The Better Homes and Gardens book of Homemaking. It looked promising, so I added it to my pile. But, I have to say, after looking through it, it is as disappointing as most books on homemaking are. The trouble is, I believe that authors (editors, publishers?) are confusing the art of homemaking with the act of house keeping. House keeping involves the cleaning, organizing, and general running of a household. It is important, but, in my opinion, is somewhat superficial. It doesn't get to the heart of what a home is. I have been in houses that were immaculate and tastefully decorated, but they were houses, not homes. They felt sterile; as if they were missing their heart. I don't feel the need to read books on house keeping. I know how to do it...even if I don't always do what I ought...and, frankly, once one has read the tome, Home Comforts, there is very little left to say.

No, what I want is a book that discusses what makes a home. How do we go about turning the set of rooms we live in into a place of comfort and refreshment? I want a book that reinforces the importance of making a home and provides encouragement in doing so. I want less mechanics and more thought. I want something that feeds my soul while it encourages me to feed the souls of my family. The best example I can think of is Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking. But surely, she is not the only one to write such a book. I'm beginning to think I may have to write it myself.

One more quibble about the BH&G book I first mentioned. The section on household help belonged more in the universe of television than in the real world. First, families in this book's world have 3 children at the most, and then, the writing makes it sound as though the mother is totally overworked. Second, the idea that hiring outside help is unaffordable for some doesn't exist...no mention is ever made that this might not be economically feasible for some. And third, this book seems to inhabit a world where children are merely a thing, something you acquire because it's nice to have. Why do I say this? Because, right there in the household help section, along with window cleaners, cleaning ladies, and upholstery maintenance person, is child care provider. It truly does look like children are merely one more thing that requires cleaning and maintenance. Surely children and their care warrant a different level of importance. In fact, it seems that a section devoted to the care of children would make more sense than a few throw away comments that would indicate you should give the same amount of thought to the question of who cares for the children as to who washes the windows. Who knows, maybe they're really expensive windows....

4 comments:

Stevens Family said...

Seems you've got a wonderful book alread written in your head; you just need to put pen to paper so to speak. I think you should go for it (not that you don't have enough on your plate, LOL).

Ann said...

I'll buy your book :-)

Have you read "Shelter for the Spirit" by Victoria Moran? It isn't a housekeeping book but it is a book about making a house a home in a variety of ways.

Two others you might enjoy:
Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner by Edwards

Are We Having Fun Yet? by Willis

You can probably find them at your library which I am still extremely jealous about ;-)

The last two touch on homemaking and are written by moms with 10-12 kids--just like you will be someday! :-)

Happy reading and happy homemaking!
Ann

maxhelcal said...

I have never read any housekeeping books but for me it's while some of it is about putting things that comfort you(and your family of course) into your home, it is also about energy. I strongly feel that a house holds the energy of the family within. Walls can be cold or warm depending of the members within. Positive energy is such a powerful thing. Not trying to get too deep on you but I really believe it. On a different level, I think color helps too. Warm tones help comfort a home. Bright tones make a room cheery but be careful of being too cold. Anyway, we have LOTS of pictures of friends and family everywhere. We are totally picture people. I also frame the children's artwork when it's really special. The stairway going down to our lower level ( our recreation rooms) is lined with all these pictures. I think this really helps peronalize our space.

Your family members are book lovers so you have so many options there.

By the way, I am one of those people whose house is very clean(although not sterile) and organized but still very homey. I have so many people tell me that when they visit. They just feel like all their problems are left at the door. Just have to mention one's home can be both.

maxhelcal said...

and yes....I really must take the time to spel check! ;-P

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