Friday, July 29, 2011

Thoughts on parenting

DH and I have been thinking about how we want to parent our future kids. We have been seeing so many disobedient and disrespectful children that it makes us want to prevent that from happening.

Of course I am the perfect parent now that I don't have kids yet! But it was not hard for my mom to say "no", to set bounderies, teach values and morals, and table manners. I don't understand why all these are not so important today. Perhaps parents are too exhausted from their full time jobs to do the disciplining job. But there is also the issue that parents don't want to see their children feel rejected, so they call teachers to let them know they can't discipline their kids, they call employers asking them why their teenagers did not get hired, they even don't want sports to have scoring, as well as winners and losers. They get allowances that are not connected to any chores. The list goes on. I wished I was generalizing, but I'm not. Good parents are now the minority nowadays. It doesn't mean parents don't love their kids because they do! But I wonder why we lost track. Overprotecting kids do no good to them as they enter the workforce and expect big pay for little experience and everything to center around them. Kids should feel protected, loved, encouraged to do well in life and supported, but we also have to remember that we are raising future citizens that will have families of their own one day.

Perhaps it is because society rules are not so rigid anymore. Appearances and curtesy are not so important and we don't want to "hurt" children's feelings. Mothers are exhausted being a mom, wife, provider and chauffeur to a myriad of after school activities.

I choose to look at some retro parenting ideas for a return to common sense. I know I am sounding judgemental, but I feel so appalled at the way children act nowadays. I don't feel my parents were very strict, yet they still took the time to discipline us. It was mostly my mother, who is also a homemaker.

Anyway, I've heard that children of babyboomers are rebelling to be more conservative than their parents, seeing that a life of pleasure and money are not what makes people happy in the end. It is interesting to see if the next generation will rebel against technology taking too much time in our lives and our material mentalities.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The "s" word

Schedules! I don't like them. Why? Because it only leads me to frustration as I can never seem to keep up with them on busier days outside the house or on days I don't feel good. So what I need to do perhaps is to set up a flexible one or guidelines as to what to do.

I love the morning and evening Flylady routines (see Links), and I aim to dust, sweep and mop twice a week instead of once. There are a lot of weekly and monthly cleanings that I have been doing here and there, but I need to sit down with an actual dated list.

I let my dishes air dry so I do them once or twice a day. We have a dishwasher for the rest, which doesn't work so well and has been driving me nuts, but we need to keep it for now. There are things like organizing files, cleaning the closets and getting rid of stuff that might take me a whole weekend to do, if not more. Overall, since I spend most of my time here, I need to make our apartment more homey with decorative items that we like to look at.

What about you? In what ways could you improve your homemaking schedule?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer cooking

It has been so hot and humid here that getting in the mood to cook is hard! I love making summer salads such as panzanella (Italian bread salad), pasta salads, quinoa salads and anything that consists of a meal like pan seared fish on greens. I also love summer soups like gazpacho and vichysoisse. Grilling is also so much fun of course and takes the heat away from the kitchen! My husband is in charge of that.

We have an ice cream machine so making homemade ice cream and sorbets has been great! We still go for soft serve ice cream once in a while as it is a summer tradition after all.

Basil is one of my favorite herbs so I love making pesto while it is in season! Tomatoes, water melon, berries and zucchinis are fresh right now, so are lots of fresh herbs, peaches and nectarines, yum!

Now we only need our AC to work properly and a pool would be nice!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Laundry Day

I was out of oxygen bleach last week and decided to use a cup of peroxyde instead of going to buy it, and it worked! Even better than oxygen bleach!

Mondays have been known to be laundry day for a while now, but I personally prefer to start my day doing one or two loads and get it done in the morning. I wouldn't like to do it all in one day, plus stains get harder to remove after dirty clothes sit for a while.

I must confess that I don't iron. I take our clothes out as soon as the dryer is done, plus our clothes don't require any ironing. It may change someday though, but I am happy not ironing for now. I wish we could hang our laundry outside but we live in a condo so we can't, plus DH has allergies.

I have been wanting to make laundry soap for a while, but finding Borax and washing soda has proved to be very difficult! I will get to it soon hopefully. For now, we are using bulk laundry soap which isn't expensive. I also cut our dryer sheets in three parts to save money.

I saw on the Dr Oz Show the other day that he recommends doing an empty laundry load with a cup of bleach in order to kill bacterias like e coli, not a bad idea!

Happy laundry day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thoughts on feminism

I've been thinking a lot about the effect feminism has had in today's society. I believe there was a lot of sexism aimed at women in the past, so something needed to be done. But to what level?

Somehow, feminists have taught us that being a woman is not right. We need to be copycats of men (or the worst of men): aggressive, players and career obsessed. We have been told to either dress like men or dress to appeal to men. I believe some feminists just don't like women. They taught us that being sensitive, feminine, family oriented and generous are all symptoms of the patriarchy, so the solution is to act like men?

Not all women are the same and what makes a woman happy might make her neighbor feel miserable. The past was not all rosy, nor was it all miserable either. Women needed to fit inside a box back then and feminists just made another box for us to fit in. We have all been told to go to college, get a job and think about marriage and children much later. That would make a gal like me miserable, yet I am the constant object of unwelcomed criticism because I don't have a career.

If career is the definite goal, has it made us happier? Thinner, less stressed out, made children behave, dressed better, improved marriage and improved the cost of living? No, no and no. Women never know until they have a child how much love they will feel for the child, and how much they do want to stay at home, but it may be too late to become a homemaker because married couples mostly spend their two incomes, meaning two cars, mortgage, vacations, etc.

The problem we face is isolation. We homemakers, especially us without children, do not have a bunch of neighbors to borrow a cup of sugar from or have a cup of tea with anymore. So we rely on Internet for friendship. Housewives back then were never told they did nothing all day, so why are we told this now?

Feminism has invaded the media for the past fifty years. It has influenced our way of thinking whether we realize it or not. A child wants nothing more than to have a parent's presence. No money in the world can replace that. And we not only care about our homes, but we make sure it is safe and comfortable for our family members to enjoy, on top of other time consuming tasks such as sewing, gardening and canning.

I wouldn't have started this blog if no one had remarked about being a housewife. Of course, I still feel hurt, although more confident than before. But I remember that I never insult people. That is impolite and I wish to teach my future children to have respect.

So to counteract today's modern world, have a little retro in your life! Whether it's wearing an apron or cooking an old fashioned meal, you will feel some sort of peace, of time stopping to better enjoy it, of memories to visits to grandma and a sort of nostalgia not found anymore in today's morals and values.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homemaking thoughts

There are so many homemaking styles out there it makes it hard sometimes to pick one! There is vintage homemaking, retro, religious, farming, simple living, modern...Most of us simply find it rewarding to take care of our families and homes. It is not necessary to pick a particular method. Do what works for you and don't stress if you can't accomplish everything your fellow bloggers do! Homemaking is a hard job and needs planning. It is not easy and deserves recognition. If hiring help is necessary, there is no shame in doing so. After all, many workers have personal assistants and clerical help.

In this day and age of the "me" generation, it is easy to start feeling frustrated about cleaning floors. Remember that it also benefits us to live in a clean home! Our husbands are busy working hard. They are too tired to clean and cook after work. We women need to stop feeling like martyrs whenever we help someone out. It is okay to take some pampering and hobby time, but more should be said about the benefits of giving as well.

We all have the power to start a mini revolution in order to abolish the housewife stereotypes and the sometimes extreme narcissist woman type depicted in media. I am attracted to old fashioned morals and values as I feel we have become lost in technology, lack of formal clothing and enabling parenting. Family should come first. How many kids don't grow up to be loved nowadays and don't turn out right? Family and home are the grounding elements of life. They affect who we are forever.

That is why I feel that if you would be happy staying home, please consider being a full time mom. There is no job more difficult yet rewarding. This is not an attack on working moms: they have more energy than me as I am the type to collapse on the couch after work! I just feel that more girls should be taught that homemaking IS a job and that society should stop with their snarky comments toward homemakers.

Well these are my random thoughts for today as I feel we have a long way to go before we can truly make a change in others' perception of homemaking.

If you like this blog, please share it for me! It will encourage me to continue writing it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Casey Anthony verdict

I am as shocked as the majority of people that find her guilty of murdering her child. I keep thinking this is a dream that I will wake up to because I did not just hear the words "not guilty" three times live on TV: I must have daydreamed! Oh well, it is out of anyone's control right now and I hope she won't get any blood money from this. The only thing we can do is live our lives with the strongest morals and values, and implement them to our children. I am not a mother yet, but hope that my children will be morally good people.

I also wish to protect our future daughter(s) from the accepted world of promiscuity and show her that intelligence and self respect are to be commanded. Reality shows make it seem normal to show promiscuity, violence and stupidity. I really hope that my children will aspire to doing good things in their lives in the crazy world we live in.

The past had many faults but at least, families were focused on behaving good in public and neighbors looked after each other. Little girls were dressed modestly and didn't compete for disturbing beauty pageants on TV. We also didn't see little girls dressed in bikinis and moving their hips to sexy pop stars they admire.

Where am I going with this? I am furious, thinking that the jury found it totally normal and reasonable for tot mom to party for a month while her daughter was missing. Her lies helped her as she detracted police from finding the body. Her mother, Cindy Anthony, enables Casey like no other. Many parents enable their children's bad behavior nowadays as they are afraid to hurt their feelings. Maybe not to this level, but it is still wrong to encourage bad behavior.

I have often wondered what was the point of bringing up children in such a society, but I guess we all have to to our best in raising the next generation of adults so that they do make a difference. It seems like partying, stealing and lying worked in Casey Anthony's favor. She hardly faces any consequence for her actions.

Anyway, I am no prude but I just think society has gone too far. Mothering and family life has become uncool. We let our young daughters party at college and date jerks. But like I've said, as much as my outrage at this verdict is strong, there is nothing we can do about it. It just made me think. Poor little Caylee, may she rest in peace.