Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Lied in Pre-Marital Counseling!

One of the first things I 'warned' David about myself in pre-marital counseling was that I was not domestic. I truly believed that I was telling him the truth and that I was doing him a favour by warning him so far in advance. A keep-your-expectations-low kind of warning. Well, guess what... I am domestic! This was such a huge revelation to me. I'll tell you how I found this out and why I've changed my story.

My dear friend, Jenni, bought me a GREAT book for my birthday. The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket is a delightful book that I was sad to finish reading.
As I was reading this book, I felt like someone finally understood what I hadn't been able to put into words about how I feel about the domestic arts. I didn't even know that that's what they were called. Here, let Jane explain it to you:
There is a world of difference between domesticity and domestication. this book is about domesticity and the pleasures and joys of the gentle domestic arts of knitting, crochet, baking stitching, quilting, gardening and homemaking. It is emphatically not about the repetitive, endless rounds of cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping and house maintenance that come with domestication. Domesticity rises above the bossiness of cleaning products and media exhortations to keep our houses pristine and hygienic, and focuses instead on creativity within the domestic space.
Domesticity gives us the opportunity to express ourselves, and the gentle arts are the most satisfying and achievable means of doing so.
(practicing the domestic art of crochet)

Jane also shares that it took her years to discover that she was "thoroughly domestic, and only grudgingly domesticated". I found her insights liberating and exciting. I suddenly felt the freedom to quit apologizing for not putting top priority on housework and admit that I find other things more satisfying and important. Yes, housework, to some degree, must be done. No, I don't obsess over unswept floors, dusty furniture and fingerprinted windows and mirrors. These endless, repetitive tasks take so much valuable time away from living. I am blessed to have a husband who encourages my creativity and gives me the freedom to explore homemaking outside of the society measurements. If I spend an afternoon sewing instead of cleaning, David lovingly compliments my accomplishments and overlooks what didn't get done. How blessed am I?!?!

I don't think we ever put it into a philosophy or anything, but Jane Brocket explains how I feel about it:
Domesticity is not synonymous with housework. In fact, I think there is too much media bossiness about cleanliness and tidiness these days, and nowhere near enough celebration of the joys of homemaking.
... I would argue that many of us are far happier in a more fluid state of domesticity with a certain degree of mess and disorder, and a more realistic and welcoming environment that reflects the busyness and creativity of its occupants. We may aspire to magazine-perfect interior, but, deep down, we know that the price to be paid in mental anguish and impossible effort, not to mention the deterioration of relations within the household, is far too high.
(Thanks, Patty~Jean! I love working with this yarn!)

There is so much I could share from her book, but I could get charged with breech of copyright, so I'll just suggest that you read it yourself. The local library is a great place to check it out if you're not ready to commit. I must warn you, you might want to buy several copies of this book by the time you're done. Just ask my friend, Jenni. Thanks for knowing me so well that you knew I would love this book!

 You can also get a regular dose of domesticity on Jane's blog, Yarnstorm.

1 comment:

patty-jean said...

I love it! YES, Coralee, You ARE Domestic!
Borrowed this book out of the library this winter, copied a whole bunch of quotes out of it...I think there may be a post on my blog with one of the passages from it...called Hands.
We can use all the help we can get in our great calling as Mothers!