When I feel a pull to simplify I sometimes reread the Laura Ingalls books. Flipping channels on TV can sometimes land me on Leave It To Beaver, wondering how I’m going wrong to not have my act together like June.
While it’s certainly OK to feel drawn to another era, I think it is also important to remember that some of those depictions we’re so familiar with are no doubt romanticized. Do you really think Caroline would see her life the way we do? How about June? So, what about that friend that always looks like she has it together? Would she say so?
Some of these comparisons I make to iconic homemakers of the past are beginning to look like a cross-era “keeping up with the Joneses” and I’m not sure I’m happy about that. The message is clear: trying to keep up with the Joneses is a futile exercise, both expensive and inauthentic.
So can it also be said that using famous homemakers of the past is similarly complicated? Can it cause undo stress and frustration? I’m beginning to think so.
I don’t think it is in my best interest to compare myself to anyone else. In fact Galatians 6:4 says:
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.
So I’ll forge ahead on my own. Trying to learn from past homemakers without trying to duplicate their lives. Learning the concepts and making them my own. Using what works for a particular season and leaving the rest behind. Maybe some of what doesn’t fit now will seem just right during the next season of my life.
The hardest part will be doing this without comparing my success, without looking through those rose-colored glasses at past examples. They aren’t me, so I can’t be them. And that needs to be OK.