Monday, June 30, 2014

Learning The Art of Homemaking

Learning The Art Of Homemaking

For the first eight years of marriage I learned a few valuable homemaking skills. (Howeverclearly ironing was not one of them.) I was trying to dominate things like cooking for two, not running out of toilet paper, and learning how to dust in five minutes or less to maximize those valuable few minutes before friends arrived.

While I'm sure I was learning a lot of valuable skills during that period, I can't really specifically name what I learned. It is all a blur, really, because most of my memories consist of me feeling inadequate, uneducated, and like a failure when it came to the state of our home. 

I would compare myself to others and the skills that other friends were totally nailing. Combine those insecurities with living in an ever growing world of technology and being surrounded by knowledge and opinions and things that I should be doing and I was a mess! And I'm talking about feeling like a mess BEFORE the creation of blogs & Pinterest were even around full force. (I've learned to use these tips to help with the whole Pinterest thing.)

"Wait, I should do this and not that?" 

"Ok, now someone is saying that I should really try this?"

"All of the good moms do what?"

My mind was overwhelmed and I was just one more helpful tip away from exploding! 

But then as if some magical thing happens when you turn 30, my perspective started to change. I discovered what things made me come alive. It dawned on me that you never had to twist my arm to make me decorate our home. And when it came to figuring out how to organize things to best fit our family's growing needs...again no need to motivate me to learn more!

But what about all of those other topics in homemaking that I'm not too thrilled about?

Healthy Living, blah.

Cleaning, blah, blah.

Cooking, blah, blah, blah!

How do we continue growing in areas that don't necessarily make us come alive? How do we stretch ourselves to learn new skills, expand our knowledge and expose ourselves to things that might actually change the way we have always thought about things? I mean really, we all have plenty of things going on in life and, if anything, most of us need to scale things back but one thing is for sure...we still want to keep learning!

So how do we do that? 

Here is what I have discovered.

When I set out to learn just two new skills each year (that are outside of my comfort zone) I easily reach my goal, don't feel overwhelmed, get to add some awesome skills to my tool belt and I walk away feeling like I conquered the world!

After five years I would be able to name TEN new skills that I have learned.

In ten years I could name TWENTY!

That sounds a lot better than ten years of being overwhelmed, comparing myself to others and setting myself up for failure...with nothing much to show for it.

By shooting to simply learn two new skills a year it doesn't mean that I won't necessarily learn more, but it also means that I don't have to feel pressured to learn EVERYTHING! We are all going to naturally learn more about the topics we enjoy. I've seen those people who love to can't hold them back...they soak up Pioneer Woman like a sponge soaks up water! Kind of like how no one had to hold me down and convince me to plank a wall in our house.

What I love most about this is that once I've determined what I want to learn more about in a given year I don't feel any pressure or insecurities about the things I've still yet to understand. 

Ever since my thirtieth birthday I can tell you exactly what I learned over the past few years. 2012 is a little blurry. I did however survive our first year after adopting which was a learning curve all on its own and after watching how a friend did her laundry I adapted a system that worked for us. I also remember somehow finding time in the midst of that year to learn how to cook dry beans for the first time. (You laugh...I'm serious! I was convinced that it took a culinary chef to cook dry beans...turns out I was wrong.)

In 2013 I consciously attempted to learn how to make my own laundry detergent (which I'm now tweaking even more to use a dry version thanks to all of the wonderful comments.) I also attempted to make homemade granola for the first time which was no small feat. Now I keep these ingredients on hand in our pantry and making granola is a weekly tradition.

In the near future I'll share the two things that I've decided to learn more about in 2014. A friend was recently telling me all about her kombucha creation. It all sounded quite strange, honestly, but I told her to check back with me in 2015...maybe by then I would be interested in giving it a try. :-)

In Summary...

The art of homemaking...takes YEARS.
Don't compare your skills to others.
Focus on learning about the things that bring you the most joy.
Stretch yourself to learn at least two new skills each year.
Enjoy the journey.

Any thoughts you would like to add? Feel free to comment below.

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  1. Good advice! I know there's so many things I feel like I should learn to do, or at least learn to do better, and I usually end up just feeling like a failure. I tend to set way too many goals for myself and then not accomplish any.

    1. Katy,

      I've been right there with you!


  2. So while showing a new friend my garden the other day I've realized I do "know" a few things about gardening!!! Not nearly as much as many other people but I've managed to keep a handful of different plants alive and thriving when I always thought I wasn't very good at it. It just took me walking around showing someone else what I had here and there to realize I have grown as a gardener over the years... In my first tiny "garden" I planted birdseed... They were the only seeds my little 7yr old self could find at our house... I've come a long way from there. :) -becca

    1. Becca,

      What a sweet gardener friend. :-)


  3. I enjoyed reading this. I'm about to move into a house we've built on two acres and there is SO MUCH I want to do. I have to keep reminding myself that this is our forever home and I don't have to finish it all right this second. So I'm adding things to y one year plan, my five year plan and my ten year plan.
    I've always tried to do one homesteading project a week. Sometimes it's something simple like bake a loaf of bread and sometimes it's an undertaking like make am afghan for the sofa but it gives me a feeling of accomplishment without overwhelming me.
    Thanks for the reminder to take it slow and not compare. The not comparing is key. We all have our own pace and our own journey and there is nothing wrong with that!

    1. Lacey,

      It sounds like you have a wonderful plan. Have fun turning that house into a home! :-)


  4. This is such a fantastic idea, and I really needed to hear it today! I need to focus on one or two skills instead of feeling like I'm a failure at all of them! Thank you!

    1. I'm so glad that it was encouraging to you!


  5. Great post! Your tips are incredibly helpful and your posts are very pleasant to read! Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips!


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