Mrs Isabella Beeton - most of us have heard of her and her classic tomes instructing the homemaker in everything from cooking, cleaning and childrearing, to how to be unselfish and make a happy home.
I borrowed this book recently from the library.
This was first published in 1893 and as I love anything from the past, I had to read it!
It is a real gem - so much wonderful advice that is just as relevant today as it was in 1893 (although maybe not all the references to servants; don't have any of those!)
From the very first page:
'Not everyone can realise what the work of a good housekeeper really is. We see in a well-ordered household everything neat, clean and comfortable, servants doing their work thoroughly, and meals well cooked and punctually served, and we take it far too much for granted that it should be so. Could we, however, look behind the scenes we might be surprised at the method, care and labour needed to make and keep the wheels of domestic machinery running so smoothly.'
I take homemaking very seriously and consider it to be my 'job'. It is always disheartening to hear that often society in general, and certainly our current government, think that women who stay at home are 'slackers' and 'lazy' and they should find a job so they can contribute. Nothing could be further from the truth! I personally feel sympathy for women who feel they should work out of the home or need to for financial reasons, even though they do not wish to, as in the majority of cases, they are also managing most of the home as well. I am so blessed and feel so grateful that I am able to stay home.
I also enjoyed Mrs Beeton's financial advice. I have kept a cash book of sorts for a long while now, since reading Your Money Or Your Life and this post on Mrs White's wonderful blog, The Legacy of Home. I also love Mrs. White's book, Living On His Income.
From Mrs. Beeton's chapter entitled Housekeeping Accounts:
'It is far better to live in a small house that we can keep nicely in order, with service well within our means, than in a large one where the whole of our income is consumed and for which we can barely afford sufficient servants.
There are too many people who prefer to be grand than comfortable; and still more who, without meaning to, spend a good deal more than they need or can afford upon unnecessary luxuries. Let our young housekeepers beware of falling into this grave error. Let them, whether their incomes be large or small, remember that it is their duty to live within their income and that extravagance is a vice, whether it is found in cottage or mansion.'
It seems that things don't change! Change some of the wording, take out references to servants, and this could have been written by any modern-day advocate for simple living.
Too many people are drowning in financial troubles, often caused by the desire to always have more, better, newest. Mortgages have sky-rocketed in Australia and I simply cannot understand the need to have huge homes with three or even more bathrooms, media rooms, parents' retreats, etc. If only we could be satisfied with less. Less wouldn't even be a reduction in the standard of living for most.
And to my mind, all of this comes full circle back to Proverbs 31. I feel that if I can follow the teachings in Proverbs 31 as much as possible, it will make my homemaking and myself the best that I can be.
We can all only strive to do the best that we can, and that will always be pleasing in God's sight.
I love to hear of any other books that you have found useful on these topics, especially Proverbs 31. I need to keep my library busy!
Linking today with Darling Downs Diaries for Good Morning Mondays, and Strangers & Pilgrims On Earth for The Art of Home-Making Mondays.