This post was prompted by a friend's. When my comment got too wordy, I decided to put the bulk of it over here on my site.
Usually I would link to an article I'm stirred by (whether positively or negatively) but I don't want to draw a feminist crowd unnecessarily. I believe the bulk of the blog my friend refers to is inspiring, entertaining, and gracious. But every now and then a post of theirs comes across too dogmatic for even an opinionated person like me. To their credit, they all have a great sense of humor and sometimes I believe their simplistic or dogmatic-sounding statements may be a case of humor not transferring well in cyberprint. Furthermore, the daughters who contribute to the blog are young moms, and have very young sons still in training. I have a feeling these women will train their sons in more domestic skills than they think. And I'm trusting that if their sons marry, each one will be equipped with the knowledge of how to cook more than Ramen noodles. (I hope so, anyway. Can you spell hypertension?)
I think the whole gist of the article gets sticky with the word "mission." A mission has a purpose, a plan, and a person or people to execute it successfully. (Sidebar: If you're a single guy living on your own, you are "a person"--i.e. solely responsible for your home or rented room) and you'd better have some domestic skills like how (and how often) to do dishes. "Weekly" is not the right answer). If you fail at that, you better darn well know the difference between Raid and a rifle. 'Cuz I'll tell you what, ain't a man alive that would attract a woman if his roommates were rats or rodents.
I believe it's the woman's primary "mission" to love her home and manage it. An essential part of good management is training the subordinates. Children are the subordinates. Her husband is not one of them. He can support her efforts or sabotage them by his own example. My man excels at the former. He has a gift for rallying the troops to work around here by modeling a good work ethic that doesn't stop when he comes home from his paid job.
My "homemaking" mission includes spending lots of time with my kids. And since 80% of our waking hours are spent in the kitchen, why not capitalize on it? I've always wanted them to be capable of living alone with practical skills, and then if God wills--get married and bless their wives in very practical ways someday, I considered it all part of my "mission". I would have done a great disservice if I'd said, "Now, boys, since you will pursue a different career someday, I won't show you how to vacuum a room, saute' onions, or iron a shirt because I am so positive you'll never have the gift of singleness."
I've taught all my kids to cook, and required they each make a meal twice a week from about the time they hit 6th grade. Once a week with me, once alone. We may have had Ramen noodle soup once in a while, but not for lack of skill. (I stopped the weekly cooking requirement when they went to high school outside the home, but I expect them to cook occasionally.) If I had had ALL boys, this weekly cooking rule still would have implemented.
I consider it part of my "homemaking" mission to train my children to make their own homes someday. That takes a lot of time and energy. I knew I couldn't work outside the home and still fulfill this training mission well with my three older children. I'm whooped by dinnertime, and (too often) grouchy. It's not ideal teaching (or learning) time. Kids don't just learn by watching, they must do. Frankly, I'm more than a bit nervous about working even part-time outside my home this coming school year, giving other people my best and my family the leftovers. It's especially challenging when, deep down, I know I enjoy teaching academics more than I enjoy training anyone in domestic arts.
I'm not saying I've done everything right. Far from it. I often battle a sense of failure as a "home missionary." I'm just saying that, by God's grace in the form of training by both a mom and dad committed to raising adults (not kids), my grown boys can--with equal ease-- handle chain saws and paring knives, motor oil and fabric softener. They are real men, not "Ra"men.