Saturday, January 13, 2018

Modern Conveniences

Inside an old lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota

While I was going about my work yesterday I was thinking about the modern conveniences we have as homekeepers.  One of my thoughts turned into a question - "are the modern conveniences really that good for us?"  

While I wouldn't want to go back in time completely (I do like my washing machine, and the vacuum cleaner, and the food processor once in a while), I can see where some women think that housekeeping is dull and boring. I was out shopping once and overheard a couple of women my age talking about that very thing.  They were saying that there was no way they could stay home because they would be bored to death.  

Once upon a time, women worked really hard at their housekeeping.  My own grandma (my Dad's mom) was found dead under the clothesline and their family was told that she just worked herself to death.  Dad was only 5 years old so she was still young.

I certainly don't want women to work themselves to death in taking care of their homes, so there has to be some gratitude that someone wanted to make the work in the home a bit easier.  But I was thinking that there are so many things that women have gotten away from because of convenience.  That if they would just take up some of those things instead of doing them the "easy" way, they might find joy in their homes instead of being bored.

When grandma died, she was living the Great Depression days.  Saying that life was tough is an understatement.  But SO much was learned in those days.  People got inventive and creative.   It's so very easy to just go to the store and buy convenience food (bread, salad dressing, cookies, pre-made dinners), but it's something different to actually put flour, yeast, salt, and water together to make bread with. To actually feel the dough as you knead it and then to cut into it while it's still warm. It's fun to put ingredients together, place it in an oven and smell the goodness of cookies or bars.  It's healthy to buy fresh and take the time to put a casserole or soup together.  When you do this, it can't be boring.  A homemaker is actively participating.  And cooking from scratch takes time.  When I made chicken broth the other day, yes I did put everything into the modern convenience of a crockpot, but yesterday when I actually canned the broth and cut up the chicken meat, I was actively preparing it for the benefit of our family.  It was fun, it was healthy, it was relaxing and meaningful.  I just don't get that same feeling when I open a can and pour it into a pan to heat it up.

The same goes with the laundry.  While I wouldn't want the days of building an outdoor fire and scrubbing our clothes by hand, I do enjoy hanging our clothes up (even in winter).  I'm actually coming in contact with each article of clothing or other item - shaking them as they come out of the washing machine, hanging them up and observing them as to whether or not they may need replacing some day or if they need mending.  Again it's hands-on, not just throwing them in the dryer because of convenience.  The dryer takes a lot of energy and is not only hard on clothes but costs a lot of money to operate.

And there are other things in the home too numerous to mention where women could easily find great comfort and joy in doing.  I guess it all depends on what women consider boring.

Don't get me wrong on this - of course there are days when I open a can of soup and heat it up.  There are days when opening a bag of bread instead of making it is easier.  There are days when I don't want to take the time to hang laundry so in the dryer they go.  Again, I'm grateful that I have that option but always in the forefront of my mind is - what would be best, do I want to save money or time, what can I learn from this, will it benefit our family.  And time management is a consideration.  What do I really need to get to today, what things can I leave for another day, does it all have to be done or is that just me putting too much on myself and therefore becoming stressed out about it instead of enjoying it.

So, modern conveniences have there rightful place and I'm thankful for them, but I hope you can try doing things around your home (again, home is wherever you make it) with your hands - savor the moment.

Thank you for visiting.  Have a good day.  God bless you in your homemaking efforts!

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