December 4, 2010

Just Ask: My Homemaking Mentors

Today I'll answer the first question that was asked of me in the "Just Ask" post.  "So, who is your mentor (or an example in the past) of what a godly homemaker looks and acts like?"

In a perfect world I would like to say that my mom and grandmothers were mentors in my homemaking skills, but I had quite a different upbringing. One grandmother wasn't very domestic.  Her idea of gourmet was a TV dinner.  The other grandmother didn't invest much time into my life.  I wasn't raised in a Christian home (I accepted Christ's gift of salvation when I was 15 -- my husband, then friend, shared Him with me.) When I was born my mother had to deal with a 12 year old son who had just been diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome and other mental issues.  Taking him three hours from home to stay at a hospital that didn't care for him very well didn't allow her much time at all to be domestic.  From what I can gather that's when life changed for my mom.  She used to dress in pretty dresses, wear make up, do her hair, and have a spotless and nicely decorated home. I don't remember that at all.  I remember a less than tidy home, and a busy and stressed mom who had a rebellious teenager who wanted nothing to do with family but take and take some more.  Countless times we moved him from one messy place to the next.  He lived with people who were on drugs while cockroaches scurried here and there.  Anything that he ever owned was either stolen or given away.  He didn't want to abide by mom and dad's rules and when he hit my mom and had a fist fight with my dad He was asked to leave.  He moved back a few times for a day or so until he could find a home, but it was always short-lived.  At the age of 48 he's still living that lifestyle.  He needs mental help but he won't receive it.  And he most certainly won't ask for it.  My mom had little time to manage the finer things of homekeeping.  Menu planning, baking, gourmet meals, and decorating were few and far between.  I share all of this with you not so you'll pity me, but so that you will understand that while I know my mom wanted me to learn these things, she didn't really have an option.  She didn't have any help, either. Family either stayed in touch at a distance or didn't stay in touch at all.  I don't dwell on it.  It is what it is.  I do have a lot of happy memories that cloud out all the not-so-great memories.  I was loved a lot by my parents and they did anything they could do to make my childhood a mostly-normal one.

So to really answer that question my cooking mentors were my mother-in-law, and my grandmothers-in-law.  I write about my husband's Grandma Frays HERE.  There were also several nice ladies from church who took some of us newly married college students under their wings to show us the ropes.  Mrs. Saxe and Mrs. Roth will always hold special places in my heart.

As far as housekeeping I wasn't the best at the beginning, but I loved watching different shows, especially Martha Stewart and other crafting shows.  That gave me the crafty and housekeeping bugs. 

I must mention my first "Mommy Mentor"; my dear friend, Renee.  Renee and I don't keep in touch much lately except for a Christmas card and letter each year.  She was so instrumental in my mothering skills during the early years of mommyhood; especially new baby skills.  I'd never held a baby until we had our first so it was quite the shock.  Now we have seven and I'm the one being asked all the questions by new mommies! 

Well there you have it.  You probably know more about me than you cared to, but I felt that leaving out my mom as a homemaking mentor would not have been appropriate unless I gave you some background. 

Next time I'll chat about the homestead.


Fitter After 50 said...

Wow! What an amazing story! How sweet that your friend at 15 is now your husband too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Carmen. I was not taught homemaking skills either as a girl (my father died when I was eight, leaving my mother with myself and four younger brothers to raise). It was hard for my lonely, stressed mother to find the time to lovingly impart those sorts of things to me. But still I learned. My MIL has been instrumental in helping me learn to run my home, cooking, etc. I attribute my love for needle crafts, knitting especially, to the nice lady down the street, Mrs. Karen, when I was 14 and in 4H, who taught a small group of us girls to knit that year. I learned the basic and took off from there on my own. I still knit just about every single day. (I'm 43 now.) That's how much I love it!

~Kelly in MN

Anonymous said...

I want to mention too that it was my husband, then a friend, who shared the gospel with me my first year in college. Now I'm married to that Godly man and he leads me and loves me to this day. What a precious provision and gift of God he is!!

~Kelly in MN

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