Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Have you ever requested a book to review and you were expecting one thing, and it turns out it was entirely different?
Mother’s Book of Home Economics is one of those cases.
The title suggests that it might be a training manual of sorts. A “How-to Train your Daughters” type of book. It might have step-by-step lists of projects to do, or maybe a home economics bucket list i.e. “Things to do with your daughter before she’s grown.”
All those sound like great books. They are ones I’d be interested in reading.
But that is not at all what Mother’s Book of Home Economics is.
The sub-title provides more insight.
Remembrances, Letters, and Essays from a New England Housewife
So if you’re looking for a practical how-to book this isn’t it. Not that what Mrs. White shares isn’t practical. It’s just so much more.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. I’m starting my 12th year of homeschooling. I believe completely that motherhood is a calling. We have made great financial sacrifices in order for me to stay home. So a book that’s a call for homemaking didn’t seem to be something I needed to read. But I was in for a surprise. This book really made me think. I was convicted many times.
First, let’s think about the shift in our society. Now we call ourselves stay-at-home moms or in my case, a homeschooling mom. The focus is on being a mom. Mrs. White reminds us that the focus used to be on being a wife. The old term was housewife. There was a dual emphasis on house and wife. Certainly the children are important and a major part of what our job consists of, but when they’re gone is our time at home over? Is there no purpose for us to stay at home once the children have moved away or should we just stay at home with our children for a season?
Those are interesting questions.
Mrs. White challenges women to work at keeping their homes neat and clean. She encourages cooking for our families. These are all things that to an outside observer, I do a pretty good job at. Relatively speaking anyway.
But the difference is in attitude.
“There is joy in dusting and polishing. There is pride in cooking for the family. There is happiness in creating a pleasant haven in our homes….
Ironing is done in a slow and careful manner. It forces one to be peaceful.”
Ouch! I’m usually rushing to iron on Sunday morning and grumbling all the time. Or cooking and feeling irritated that no one appreciates all the work I do for them.
“A wife who does not complain is a virtuous asset to her husband.”
I do make an effort not to complain, but I’m usually complaining on the inside and patting myself on the back for not saying anything.
What about this?
“Being quiet. . . We often talk too much, worry too much, think too much, and want to multitask every minute away! Being quiet and content takes effort, but it will bring peace and gentleness to the family.”
In other words, we shouldn’t be martyrs, Sighing and weary of all our work. We should feel weary but not of working, instead we should feel tired in a good way from working hard to keep our home. How can we do this? It is only with strength from the Lord.
If you’re looking for encouragement for making your house a home and learning contentment, I recommend Mother’s Book of Home Economics. You probably won’t agree with all of Mrs. White’s ideas on the topic, but I bet it will make you think about your attitude towards cooking and cleaning.