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Being a homemaker was never my dream as a child or teenager. I knew I wanted to get married but I thought I’d work until I had kids, then stay home full time. When I was a teenager my mom worked a lot, as single mothers often do, so she wasn’t able to teach me things relating to homemaking.
Oh sure, I knew how to cook basic meals and how to operate a washing machine (I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was about 10 years old). But there are so many more things I wish I knew before setting up my own house. It’s not my mom’s fault I didn’t know them, nor is it my fault. Nobody is to blame for my inexperience, but my hope is that I can share some insights to help homemakers-to-be feel more prepared.
Before getting married I never really thought about all the daily tasks involved in homemaking. My mom was stay at home mom for almost all my childhood, but I never really paid much attention to what she did all day. I knew the meals were cooked, and the house was tidied, but that is about it. And as I said already, I had not imagined myself in a homemaking role as a newlywed at age 22.
I won’t go into all the details, but as a new wife, I found myself suddenly without a job, which was concerning since we bought our home on the basis of having two incomes. For the first several weeks after my job loss, I mostly watched DVDs on my laptop (we did not have internet at home yet). That brings me to the first thing I wish I knew as a young homemaker:
The Art of Time Management
At work, I could easily prioritize tasks and was known to be very efficient. But at home, it was another story. I struggled to even get motivated for housework, and when I did manage to do anything I sort of wandered around the house not really focusing on any one task. To me, the home had always been a place to unwind after school and work (I went to college right after high school and then worked full time after that), so I couldn’t even wrap my head around doing “work”, much less actually doing it.
Yes, I had been washing my own clothes since the age of 10, after my mom got tired of telling me to not turn my clothes inside out and throwing them in the basket.
I was careless and honestly didn’t think she would actually follow through with her threat of making me do my own laundry. But she marched me down to the washing machine and showed me what to do. I’m glad I was taught that skill early on, but I wish I also knew how to properly read clothing care labels.
I admit to still being totally clear about all the symbols and washing garments incorrectly! Another skill I never bothered to learn was how to iron and press. It was something my family never did because we all had iron-free clothing.
And even when I became engaged I didn’t think I’d need to learn because my husband-to-be had a job that allowed him to wear jeans and t-shirts to work. It wasn’t until one of his company’s parties that I realized I was sorely lacking this skill, and how important it was. Thankfully I managed to fumble through without ruining any of his clothes, but I wish I was better prepared.
Basic Home Repairs
I am blessed with a very handy husband! He has done so much work to the house, both large and small jobs, and I honestly have no desire to help with those tasks. However, I wish I was better prepared for when I need to quickly fix something. For example, our sink pipes were leaking for no apparent reason but my husband was able to determine the problem and repair it quickly. It’s a good thing he was home, because I would have had no idea what to do! This wasn’t a major repair, but still an important one.
I wish I knew how to do things like replace an outlet box, repair leaking faucets, remove stripped screws, and more. Having these skills means I can handle small problems if they arise while my husband is not home. I did manage to master drywall patching, but sanding is a whole other story!
It has been over four years since I became a wife, and therefore, keeper of a home. There were a lot of skills I did have already, such as sewing and cooking, but others that took a while to develop. This in no way made me less of a homemaker than someone else, and if you feel like you are an ill-equipped homemaker, please do not beat yourself up over it. This post was not meant to discourage you, but to share some of my own shortcomings to show that nobody is perfect.
I know as bloggers we may seem like our lives are totally 100% together, our homes are always tidy, our families are well fed with homemade meals, and our clothing is always perfect…but as I type this up, I am surrounded by mess from a renovation, my husband made his own breakfast today, and am still wearing PJs.
I consider myself a pretty good homemaker, and I enjoy what I do. This is my full-time job and I wouldn’t have it any other way! But I didn’t always feel like this, and there were times I wondered what on earth I was doing in this role. But with determination and a lot of prayers, I came to the place I’m in now.
Homemaking is easier now than it was a decade ago. If a homemaker does not know how to iron or cook a whole chicken, she can simply do a quick internet search for the answer. Women who did not have a homemaking mentor or support system can now easily connect with others worldwide!
My final thought on things I wish I knew as a young homemaker is this: do not focus on what you don’t know, be proud of your current skill set and seek to develop those you desire.