Wednesday, April 22, 2020

When Money is Scarce

When money is plenty this is a man's world. When money is scarce it is a woman's world. When all else seems to have failed, the woman's instinct comes in. She gets the job. That is the reason why, in spite of all that happens, we continue to have a world. - Ladies Home Journal, Oct 1932

I wonder if you agree with this quote. Of course things have changed enormously since 1932 and I am watching my children as they share responsibilities within their marriages. Each is a partner to the other and their individual contributions are enormous. I do think though that some women have an instinct when it comes to creating a home on a strict budget. It might have been learned however. I wonder if this instinct still survives.

Economists in the news are predicting a new, frugal future for many Americans. In 2008, during the last major recession, many Americans were fearful that economic conditions would linger and a wave of thriftiness made discount chain stores, thrift stores and dollar stores way more popular than they had been previously. This frugality has continued and, in recent years, there is a resurgence in learning homemaking skills including mending, of all things. Craft channels and cooking channels on YouTube flourish. Young women, particularly, have learned how to sew and embroider, cook and make their own cleaning products and entertain more at home.

Teaching Miss Abigail homemaking skills has been a big part of what I have called the "hidden hope chest." When I look at the list of skills I created many years ago (which you can see if you scroll down the sidebar) I'm pleased at how accomplished she has become in all of these topics. She is honestly an amazing young woman. Yes, I admit to being completely biased. We worked at this for so long and some skills have necessarily been put aside when she left home to focus on other priorities. But I can see that she continues to learn new things that will bless her family in the years to come. For instance, this semester she enrolled in both a musical conducting course and an emergency first aid course and was chatting to me recently about what she was learning. Sadly, she won't receive credit for the first aid course as the hands-on aspect could not continue when the classes shut down, but much of the knowledge is in her hands now. I'm grateful for that.

The current pandemic has already revealed both the weaknesses in our personal preparation for at home stability and the strength of our ability to be creative and frugal. Let's hope we all have the traditional instinct to create a comforting home in spite of loss and struggle.

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