Monday, February 04, 2008

Blogger Book Club

Hadias is hosting a book club, and we're reading Thrift in the Household. Here are my answers to this week's discussion questions.

1. Discuss the opinions of the author in chapter 6. Which do you agree with and disagree with and why?

I agree with the author that a homemaker must be careful to watch out for her own health and has to be prepared to rest when she is tired. She also has to be sure to ask for help when it is needed and help her children learn to be independent. I think it is especially important to learn to ask for help if a woman feels overwhelmed, because expecting help but not asking for it will breed resentment. It's pretty much a given in my mind that other people just won't notice the work you do, because they have their minds on all the work they have to do that you don't notice. Husband's and children are happy to help with work if they are asked to do so in a cheerful manner and thanked sincerely.

2.Do you agree or disagree with the following statement and why?

"Rest will do her more good than any medicine and help more to keep her well, and the housemother should rest some part of every day as soon as she is conscious of weariness; even fifteen minutes' relaxation will do her good, and after it she will go on with renewed energy." P. 98

I do agree with this statement. I find that resting between larger jobs, like sweeping or scrubbing the bathroom definately helps me keep my stamina better. When I try to fit many physically demanding things into one day, by the time my husband gets home from work, I'm exhausted and definately no fun to be with.

I do think that women should be careful not to take advice like this as an excuse for laziness. I've known many people (and have been guilty of this myself) who tell themselves, "I must rest or I'll be so tired and sick!", then leave the dishes slimy in the sink, and the dust collecting everywhere. In our times, it is much easier to find ourselves being lazy than doing too much physical labor. Sometimes, what we mistake for being sick or tired is simply lethargy or depression and the best course of action is to get moving and clear out the cobwebs from our homes and minds.

3. After reading the following excerpt, please explain how you choose what goes on your daily "To-Do" list.

“Do the duty that lies nearest," but be sure it is a duty. You can recognize a duty because it is something that makes you and your family physically well, that develops them spiritually and morally, and does not take from you more than you are able to give. Your first duty is to make yourself so lovely that your family want to be with you. Nothing is worth while to you or them that does not help you to be dear to them. P.100

Most days I ask Ben if there is anything that he would like me to take care of. Those items go on my to do list. I also take stock of any projects or correspondence that should be taken care of. I try to balance my list each day so there aren't too many really physical jobs and they include things, like sewing, that I enjoy but sometimes lack motivation to start doing.

I especially like to use my to do list to keep track of housework, like dusting or cleaning fans, that I tend to overlook. For me, it seems easier when I notice dust, to say that will go on the list for tomorrow, than it is to stop right there and take care of it. Then, the next day, when it is on my list, it doesn't seem annoying to have to take care of it, since it's part of what I'm meant to do that day.

4. What do you think is the motivating factor behind this statement? In other words why do you think women do the following?

Of all the wastes about the household this is the one irreparable, and as the housewife is wasting it she seems to think she is doing something very commendable. She will save her pennies and waste her life by overwork and lack of sleep, and in the end she spends all she has tried to accumulate, in the vain effort to be well again. P. 91

I think that today one of the main reasons for this kind of behavior is the fact that many people see homemakers or stay at home moms as lazy. A woman's natural defense against people thinking she is lazy will be to work and work, including even doing unnecessary things, in order to show the world that she is industrious and valuable. To combat this, a woman who works in her home must be secure in her own heart that the work she does is valuable, and she doesn't have to overwork herself to show other people.

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Hadias said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I enjoyed reading your responses. I think with these statements in mind we can better manage our homes and ourselves.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Hadias that you stated things very well.

You touched on one thing I forgot to mention in my comments. Sometimes, we can use being tired and sick as an excuse to let things slide. It's true in her day that the dirt that came into a home was just like that you'd encounter outside. But, today, we have more internal pollution. Besides, where I live, many people have allergies due to the vegetation we have around here.

Since I tend to have asthma and am susceptible to respiratory illnesses, keeping my house clean really is an investment in my health. So, it is important for me to get the toxins and the allergens out of the house in order to stay well.

Melonie said...

This sounds like a great book - the excerpts and your corresponding comments have me interested. I'll have to put it on the list for our next library run to see if I can find it. :-)

Bethany said...

Thank you ladies. I've enjoyed your comments as well.

Melonie, you can read it for free online. If you follow my link to the Blogger Book Club, Hadias has a link to the book on the sidebar there. I hope you'll get the chance to check it out!

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