With all of our academic focus for girls in school – few of us take home economics anymore. And many of us don’t have that many younger brothers and sisters to help take care of. Some girls today have never done chores at home, learned to cook, learned to shop for groceries, experienced balancing a checkbook, caring for babies, or any of the skills needed to manage a household.
GET ALL THE EXPERIENCE YOU CAN NOW!
I would suggest that you purposely seek out experiences to expose you to domesticity. This will help prepare you for caring for your husband, home and family in the future. If you have zero practice, you are probably going to feel completely overwhelmed and out of your element once you jump into marriage and later, motherhood. The more practice you have, the more comfortable you will be and the better off your marriage, husband and future children will be, too!
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS SHOULD I LEARN?
- Cooking – If you have a mother who cooks or a grandmother or neighbor, ask her to spend time with you teaching you to cook. One thing I did that really helped me prepare was to clean the whole house every Saturday (since I was 15 and a half years old) and cook for my whole family plus my boyfriend (at the time – who is now my husband). I had practice cooking for 8 people at least once a week for several years. That REALLY made a huge difference and helped me have a clue in the kitchen. I also helped with cleaning up after the meal every evening after supper, doing the hand dishes many nights, and sometimes I would bake cookies. If you don’t have a relative or friend who can teach you, get started with a cook book and try one new recipe a week or so to get some practice in. There are lots of tutorials online with videos that can help you – it’s almost like having a grandma or a mama teaching you the ropes! Be sure to have balanced meals with protein, fruit, veggies and carbs at each meal. Limit junk and desserts to keep your family healthy!
- Shopping for groceries – if you have a mother who can walk you through this, that would be helpful! If you are still at home, ask your mom to let you start keeping the list and do the shopping so you can begin to learn to find deals and figure out how to manage the grocery inventory at your house. What I do is keep paper on the side of the fridge and as soon as I realize I am running low on something, I write it on my list. I always shop at the same Wal-Mart and I know the order of the aisles, so I write the list in order of the aisles to be sure I don’t leave something out.
- Menu Planning- Again, it would be awesome if you could learn this from your mom, too. But it’s good to have a few favorite menu ideas to use each week, and to be sure to plan for having left overs if you are making extra so that you don’t buy too much for one week. You don’t want to throw away food! If you find about 10 recipes that you really like, you can mostly just alternate these, you may even want to have chicken tacos on Tuesday nights every week or spaghetti on Wednesdays. Some people cook ahead and freeze food for later. If your husband doesn’t mind leftovers, you can make the spaghetti last for 2 days and have it two suppers in a row. That will depend on the preferences of your man! Keep stocked up on canned veggies, starches (rice, pasta), fresh fruits and veggies (enough for one week at a time), enough meat for your suppers on your menu, and items for lunch (sandwiches, soups, salads). And of course you’ll need to keep track of toiletries and cleaning supplies, too! Keep in mind that pre-prepared foods cost a LOT more. Cooking from scratch will save you a lot of money!
- Finances – Ideally, you could talk with your parents about staying out of debt, how to handle credit cards wisely, how to plan for buying a house, how to spend wisely, how to avoid common financial mistakes. If you do NOT have financially responsible and wise parents, seek out someone older in the church you could talk to or take a free financial seminar at your church or in your community. Your online bank may also have good information, and there are reputable websites that you can learn from, as well. Get some practice writing checks – yes on paper sometimes! And if you need help figuring your balance, your online checking account can help a lot, but sometimes a teller at your local branch can help you, too.
- Childcare – It could be a very rewarding and useful experience to work as a nanny one summer or more and care for young children. The Mama will probably give you extremely detailed instructions about how to take care of each child at their stage of development and it will give you an opportunity to practice and work on your nurturing side. You may also discover some practical things that work and things you want to avoid as you watch parents make wise and foolish choices. If you have younger siblings or nephews/nieces it could also be a great idea to take them out by yourself to a park or playground sometimes to get used to dealing with smaller children. Or you may want to volunteer at a local orphanage and spend some time bonding with children who need a loving mentor to look up to.
- Housework – Ideally, your parents gave you chores to do around the house since you were young and you have already mastered them by now. If you haven’t, you can look online or talk to older, wiser, godly women about chore schedules if you are super organized. Or you can make a list of all the things that need to be done and then put each task on the calendar at the interval you want to try to do it. I am not that structured, I just try to work on the dishes and laundry daily, and try to keep the main rooms pretty straightened up, swept and kitchen counters cleaned daily. The dusting is less frequent, and then as I have time, I tackle one room at a time and try to clean it top to bottom.