Thursday, March 19, 2009

Being Domestic: A Lost Art

I was reading about making my own butter recently and had no idea it was so easy. I bought organic heavy whipping cream and voila! Butter. I involved the kids throughout the process, but they were mostly interested in eating the finished product. I told my mom how easy it was to make butter and she said that she remembered making butter in school. That got me thinking....

If she made butter in school, why didn't she ever make it with her kids? Don't get me wrong - my mother did plenty with us and was a star at playing fun games outside. She also cooked most meals from scratch, although my sister, brother and I usually did nothing to help in the kitchen. In fact, I had no desire to cook much of anything until I had my own apartment in college. I didn't really learn to cook until I got married and I am still learning a great deal about cooking.

I have to wonder though if my mom had done "cool" things like teach us how to make butter if I would have been more interested in cooking. I suppose I'll never know, but it has made me think about homeschooling and the kinds of things I want to teach my children. 

I think being domestic is a lost art. My Sicilian great grandmother made the best pizza I've ever tasted. It saddens me that I will probably never know how to make it. My grandmother was an award winning quilter (well not sure about award winning, but I know she was heavily involved in the quilting scene) and I have no idea how to quilt. Why? What other family talents were missed because I was too busy learning calculus? I'm not saying calculus isn't important, but why isn't the same kind of importance placed on all things domestic? 

I want my children to be able to grow, can and cook their own food. I want them to know how to use a sewing machine and serger. I want them to be able to build structures and want them to know other practical skills to use throughout their lives. 

Being domestic is nothing to hide from or find shame in. I love the fact that I made my own laundry detergent. It was easy and works great. I love that Finn wore two diapers that I made today and they didn't leak or sag. Some of Maeve's favorite skirts are ones that I made with leftover quilting material that had been given to my mother. I am looking forward to sharing my love of the "everyday" with my children and hope that they learn to appreciate the skills of all of the women (and men) before them. 


Anonymous said...


april said...

I totally agree with this! I think being a homemaker is so cool and so creative. I love that homeschooling will allow us the time to teach our children so many useful and fulfilling skills.

Wheelchair Mama said...

OK--We're making the butter!