I grew up in a multigenerational household. Shortly after I was adopted, my mom's parents sold their hardware store in Connecticut and moved up to Maine. We lived in a big 200-year-old farmhouse and my grandparents moved into the apartment which took up one-third of the downstairs. For a child, it was the best of all possible worlds. It was like having four parents, all in the same house.
My mom was not a domestic goddess. She was not domestic at all, in fact. She had a career - she was a teacher - and wasn't all that into housework or cooking. Mom was the queen of packaged food. We had dinner every night - meat, potatoes, vegetables, but they were likely to be instant potatoes and frozen veggies. She loved anything instant - I remember eating a lot of Minute Rice. She played the piano and organ, and knitted like nobody's business, but that was about the extent of the domestic arts for her.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was the very definition of domesticity. She had never worked at a job in her whole life. She cooked the most amazing things, all from scratch. She did calligraphy, sewed all her own clothes and tatted lace (something I used to know how to do.)
I ended up somewhere in the middle. I love to cook (baking is my specialty!) and like a clean house, but I'm not psychotic over it. I know how to sew, but I don't do it that much anymore. I knit, but it's socks and scarves and afghans more than intricate sweaters. I make cards, and often think how much Grandma would have loved rubber stamping.
I think the best thing you can do is expose your children to a lot of different things, and see which ones develop. I was certainly lucky to have extra adults in my household to expose me to things I might not have known about otherwise.
Mom - thanks for teaching me that a woman with a career can be a terrific role model. Thank you for my love of music, and every time I snuggle up under that beautiful Aztec Sun afghan you made and pick up my own needles, I think of you.
Dad - thanks for showing me that a strong man can still be gentle. And thanks for the twisted sense of humor. I couldn't get by without it.
Grandma - thanks for all the time you spent with me teaching me how to cook and sew. I learned more than just those skills from you - I learned that those things were important and they could be used to show love for your family.
Gramps - thanks for all the gardening lessons. I can still remember helping you plant, and then weed and water the huge garden, and I learned to be proud of the hard work and the payoff at harvest time. And thanks for showing me how hands, rough from working the land, could still cuddle a little girl while you read me the funnies.
I haven't had much luck teaching my sons the domestic arts, but I haven't given up hope yet. I expect it might skip a generation, and I might have some grandchildren someday.
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