I spent Saturday night staying with my Mum which meant that Sunday morning I was able to indulge myself, by staying in my dressing gown and reading the Sunday paper with a cup of tea. I luxury that is impossible at home for the simple reason that we don't get the paper delivered.
One story stood out and had me puzzling for a while though. The Sunday Telegraph article entitled Don't call me a "housewife" – I'm a Chief Household Officer had me slightly enraged in parts.
It talks about how women who run homes are having to apply skills that they use in the workplace to do so. Apparently this is "news", although it beats me as to why this is the case. I would have thought that anyone running a home (male or female) would use the skills that they have available to them, and if they work then it's highly likely that some of these skills will come from the workplace. Common sense.
Secondly, what is wrong with the term housewife (or househusband)? Why the fuss to call it something different? Although, I note that only the title of the article seems to do so. I think that running a home is a pretty important role, and certainly one that takes skills and effort, but I think that the role is summer up in the housewife title, isn't it?
Over the weekend Mum and I were looking at a coy of my late Nan's book on household management. From what was written in the front cover we think she must have had it in 1935 and this wonderful book contains details on how to do pretty much everything. It covers how to mend things in the home, write correspondence, managing money, understanding modern electricity and arranging a funeral. All the kinds of things that so many of my generation haven't got a clue about.
Many of those things are totally applicable today, but somehow it seems that they're "uncool" to learn about when people are at school and then once people start working often they don't have time to go back and learn these things. Sure, you can google for most things, but is that the best way to learn?
I feel a bit sad at times that for many of my generation the skill in running a house seems to have disappeared. I'm not saying that it must always be the woman who takes on this role, but I do strongly believe that someone must. The craft skills that went along with doing so have also greatly reduced. Back in my Nan's time all women knew how to sew as they had to repair what they had and also use sewing as a way of creating pretty things to make the home look nice. In the days of cheap clothes and linen this is no longer necessary, but does this mean that we're going to lose these skills? In the current economic situation, will it really be the case that everyone will be able to afford to buy everything they want? I'm not sure that it will.
The article points out that when it comes to money management, often those living on very tight budgets are better than those with large disposable incomes. The logic behind this being that if you don't have much then you learn to make it go as far as possible, yet if you don't think about whether or not you can afford something you may well end up in trouble.
I've rambled a bit here, but I guess the question that keeps going round in my head is whether or not those running homes in the current time actually have the skills to do so if some of the money dries up? I'm not convinced that all do, and I feel that someone should be addressing this, but I can't work out who. I realise that I still have much to learn, but hope that I haven't left it too late.