I WOULD like to change the name ‘Housewife’ to ‘home-maker.’ ‘Housewife ‘has such a commercial sound, but ‘homemaker ‘- there is all the love of home, of happiness, of family and neighbourliness in its meaning.
I have found that there is something more important than running the home itself. It is that a woman has her husband’s temperament to consider as well as her own, and also, later on, the temperament of each child.
The woman who can make every member of her family feel that his or her personality matters in all home affairs, and that a little bit of home specially belongs to each one, will surely succeed as a homemaker.
When I got married I knew nothing about homemaking. What young business woman does? There is no time in which to become interested in or learn the intricacies of running a home economically until one has one’s own.
The happy homemaker never stops learning homecraft. I question if one could ever take a degree in it, for each homemaker has different family problems.
But I am convinced that the woman makes or mars the marriage. She it is who has the job of making a new world for two people, and whether happiness or bitterness dwell in it must depend largely upon the woman. A man chooses a girl principally because he feels that she is the one person with whom he would like to live.
It is an inspiring thought, and a great honour as well, to think that one is chosen from all others to make and dwell in a little world set apart and to build up a little kingdom of one’s own.
I like to look on my marriage like that. I feel that as long as I never forget that I was the one chosen to build up and dwell in a man’s own personal world, I shall succeed as a homemaker. But the wonder of all this is apt to be forgotten in the struggle of early marriage days.
Striving to make-do-and-mend, to pay bills, makes women irritable – not because they are annoyed with their families, but because they want the best for them.
My mother’s understanding wisdom taught me that the secret of a happy marriage was for a woman to cultivate, above all else, the control of her temper – to keep quiet under the greatest provocation. Any woman who can keep the peace will have a happy home.
I have tried to make my home routine run smoothly, and to keep a love of home and all that home stands for uppermost in the hearts of my family. Doing that has only been possible by a constant study of homecraft and remembering my mother’s wisdom. I can assure you it hasn’t always been easy.
Mainly I have come across two big obstacles to happy marriage. The first is the ease whereby a homemaker can become smug, self-centred and narrow-minded if she lives for her home alone – and how quickly these things can destroy her married happiness unless she makes a big effort to fight against them.
A married woman owes it to her family to have an outside interest – a club, a church or welfare interest – even a part-time job. So long as the outside interest or the job is of minor importance to her compared with the home, it will broaden her outlook and make her less of a ‘recluse,’ keep her up to date with outside affairs and sustain a pride in her appearance.
The second obstacle is the ease with which a woman can, unknowingly, become a ‘home-worshipper ‘instead of a ‘home-maker.’ When she comes to think more of the pile on a carpet than she does of the child playing with bricks and making the carpet untidy, then there is not much harmony in the home.
If a wife can remember that the happiness of a husband and the freedom of the home mean more than the tidiness of a room, just so long will there be home happiness.
As one gets older one begins to realize there is no one so lonely as a lonely wife and mother, and that there is no marriage without its major crisis now and then.
When you are worried and you feel you must talk things over with someone, never, never confide in a relative, a friend or a neighbour – that would be fatal to your happiness.
Confide in a stranger. Choose a person twice your years, who has brought up a happy family and is still living with her husband. She will put you right. You will be amazed to find she went through just the same troubles as you are going through, for marriage is like teething – we all go through it with the same sort of problems, the same joys and heartaches and the same worries.
Where will you find such a stranger? Trust the matronly type of woman who conducts a ‘help column ‘in a magazine or a newspaper. She will give you an unbiased opinion and you will feel better after you have unburdened yourself to her in a letter – and no one will be any the wiser.