I didn't set out to read "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" by Jane Brocket. I had read some good reviews for her new book "The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking" and was actually looking for it. Neither of the libraries I use had it, though. So, I filled out a suggestion for purchase form and took home her first book to tide me over.
I am so glad I did.
I was enjoying it- digging the spectacular photos of crafty projects. And then I read this:
"The only way to knit a sock in the round is to keep coming back to your starting point, But, almost imperceptibly, progress is made. It's a pattern, yes, but its not really a circle, it's a spiral and all the stitches and rows, like days and weeks, are linked to form an unbroken chain. We can think we are getting nowhere with the cyclical nature of domesticity, and yet all the time, as with sock-knitting, we are moving on to a new stitch or a new day and then, suddenly, a whole new row or color or, as in Tom's case, a new shoe size."
It was an absolute revelation. One of those moments that changed how I look at everything.
You see, lately I have been getting very frustrated with housework and being the mom. Cleaning the same dishes over and over. Picking up the same toys. Washing the same laundry. Over and over and over again- for the next eighteen years or so. That whole "cyclical nature of domesticity" she refers to can really be a downer.
But, I've been looking at it all wrong. I've had the wrong goal in mind. The goal is not clean dishes, clean clothes or even a clean house. That goal just leads to frustration because it will always get dirty again- rather quickly in a house of full of small children. The goal should instead be making a home. Housework will always be a necessity. It just has to be done. But, homemaking is entirely different. It's all about building a safe, comfortable, spiritual place where we can all enjoy time with one another. Where we can all grow and develop talents. It's a delicate balance, housework has to be done but it also can't be allowed to get in the way of homemaking. So, while the dishes have to be done, I'm going to try and be less grumpy about it. And, if I want to stop in the middle and build a fort with the kids- that's great.
And there was an added bonus to reading this book. I rediscovered the quilt that kind of started my whole quilting obsession.
I guess I was reading her blog- yarnstorm- years ago for knitting reasons and found a picture of this quilt. I love it. I remember printing out the picture and putting it in my crafty book. I couldn't get it out of my mind and within a little while I was buying fabric for my first serious quilt. Which was black and white. Hmmm...I still have never done a red and white quilt. I may need to remedy that very soon.