In an age where the world seems to be moving at an ever-increasing pace, a shift is occurring in many women, bringing them back into the folds of domesticity. Once seen as a 1950’s sitcom standard, or an oppressive way of passing away the days with laundry, cooking and cleaning, domesticity is taking on new meaning, and some of the brightest and most well educated women are reclaiming the word as one of pride.
Quilting bees are seeing a resurgence, as is sewing, knitting, embroidery, cooking, homesteading and gardening. Thousands of blogs, websites and books cater to those whose objective is to simplify the lives of their family, while creating a more sustainable way of life in the world. The art of domesticity is a balance of artistic expression and traditions of the past that are combining to create a new way of running our family households.
We find ourselves, once again, tending to chickens, using small urban plots to create gardens that can feed entire households, and finding new and creative ways to mend and sew our own clothing. Gone are the days of stuffy manners and prim and perfect ladies, and in their place are the pioneers of a bold new generation of women.
Some of us may still work outside of the home, and some are finding new ways to work inside of it. Taking our talents and our treasures to new heights in the arts and crafts world, writing books on small plot farming or raising chickens in our own backyards, the possibilities seem endless as to what we can contribute to the world at hand. We thank the women who have come before us, who have broken the glass ceiling and ensured that women are treated just as fairly as men. We thank those that have run corporations and who have pioneered what it means to be a strong and confident woman.
As a mother of three home schooled boys, I value the domestic arts for more than just creating beauty, but as a way of teaching my children that having a firm understanding in how to survive is important. I like the idea that my kids can embroider their clothing with as much ease as kicking the soccer ball around in the back yard. I feel strongly that children need to have a world that they can create and play in, and one that they can learn from at all times.
Being able to create a world of beauty is almost a lost art in itself, and I cherish the idea that what I create with my children will stay with them throughout their lives. Immersing them in art, cooking, gardening, music, these are things that will not only enrich their lives, but will help to foster a well-rounded sense of self.
Domesticity has spent so long as a negative connotation, that it is wonderful to see it’s resurgence in a positive light. Knowing that our children will value the domestic arts, will cherish the handmade and homemade, leaves me to believe that the creative world is not as dead as technology sometimes leads us to believe, and that the traits that are inherent in us are to be celebrated, and not hidden away.
Spring is a time of rebirth, and it seems the perfect season to explore the art, the fun, the joy of domesticity.
Heather Fontenot, co-editor and publisher of Rhythm of the Home, lives with her family on the Front Range of Northern Colorado. She has a passion for natural and creative living, and spends as much of her time outdoors as possible. She loves to knit, sew, garden, photograph, read and home school her three sweet little ones. She writes the blog, Shivaya Naturals, where she chronicles her life as a mother, artist, and gluten free baker.