I was at a potluck dinner the other night. I made garlic and rosemary bread and a simple puff pastry with apple pie filling. Nothing that took long and nothing fancy.
Another lady there said "Tell me you didn't bake this bread yourself!" Yes, I did. "How are we supposed to compete with Miss Suzy Homemaker who makes her own clothes and bakes her own bread??"
Is it a competition? I didn't realize that.
And also, why did I suddenly feel the need to defend myself?
My lifestyle has evolved into what it is over time. Some things that I do are choices that I've deliberately made, and others were thrust on me by need. But I love my life.
Why do I sew? In the past it was very tough to have a 35" inseam and matching long arms and find pants that are not unnatural capris, or blouses that should not have 3/4 length sleeves. It seems easier now to shop for clothes that fit, but I haven't always had the money to shop for specialty clothes. Now that the pants are more readily available, I've already gone through my learning curve and have mastered sewing pants. It's sometimes just easier and actually takes less time than shopping. But that's just me. Some people can buy off the rack. Lucky you.
Why do I bake bread? Because I got tired of questioning the bakeries, always asking if their mixes contained soy. And I am at home primarily, so a 2-hour batch of bread for the week isn't really that hard.
Why do I hang my clothes out to dry? When we shopped for a dryer we were told that there is no energy-efficient dryer. That's not true. I have a clothes lines that lowers my electricity bill. In the spring our clothes smell like lilacs without buying dryer sheets. We have less static cling in a city with very dry winters. Our house is humidified by the drying clothes in the basement during those long winters without buying or maintaining a humidifier. Yes, it takes more time, but I don't work out of the house (much).
I garden because groceries are expensive, but I also love to have my hands in the dirt and to watch plants spring to life, filling in the dark bare earth with green and colour.
I'm naturally drawn to the Suzy Homemaker skills. Economically, sometimes my reasoning is flawed, but I get satisfaction from those simple things.
This lady is a music teacher and great at gathering kids together, getting great music to come out of their mouths and teach them to clap in rhythm. I can't do that successfully. Why can't I allow this woman to teach my children to sing and she can enjoy my fresh bread without feeling like we're both lacking something?
Let's just enjoy the gifts of others and realize that we have to live in community in order to fill in the gaps in our own skills and talents. It's not a competition.