The Way Things Were

When I was a child, I read and re-read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books. I like how they all worked together to survive, from butchering to hunting to gathering. My own childhood had some of this in it.

We were poor when I was really little. We had a wood stove for heating the entire house. We had a huge garden that my Dad planted. We canned. I’d go to my Grandma’s house and watch her make grape jelly. It always smelled so good. It tasted good too. We butchered two hogs. We’d go fishing. I went hunting with Dad once.

Then Dad got a nice job and we moved to the city. The garden was a lot smaller. Sometimes we didn’t even have one. We didn’t can anymore. Once my dog died, we didn’t have any pets. I longed to get back to the country. (It took 20 years for that to happen.)

In the meantime, when I got married at 19, I wished that my Mom had taught me how to do these things more, and required me to do chores. I wish that I would have had years of experience cooking as a teen, as opposed to learning once I got married. Luckily, I was quick to learn the cooking, baking, gardening, and canning. The cleaning wasn’t and still isn’t my best thing, but I’ve learned ways around that, such as being somewhat minimalistic.

So, when my oldest got about 8, I knew that I’d have to make sure that they had some domestic skills. While none of us are “neat freaks”, we do clean on a regular basis. I’m confident my girls will be ready for marriage, when the time comes, and not overwhelmed like I was. My boys will hopefully impress their future mates too, by be no able to cook, clean, and do laundry.

I know that there are some parents who require the same things from their kids. I think it teaches them responsibility. I would have been better prepared, if more of the skills my parents had, were passed down to me. That’s why I don’t feel bad for requiring my kids to do chores. I know, or at least hope, they’ll thank me for it later.

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