When I was sixteen I asked my father what A level subjects I should take. The first subject he suggested was home economics. Although I didn’t have any career in mind at that point, I was disconcerted at the thought of studying home economics. What career would I pursue with home economics? My father left me free to choose, so I decided to remove the “home” from “home economics” and took up economics instead. I went on to do a degree in economics, and obtained a professional qualification. I worked for an international accounting firm, a management consultancy and an international publishing firm before going back to school to get a diploma in teaching. Every job was an enriching experience.
I can safely say that I have picked up a lot of knowledge and skills over the years, but the skills which have remained relevant and useful throughout the years have been my home skills: cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, sewing, decorating the house, doing repairs, managing the household budget, etc.
I never imagined when I was sixteen where life would take me. It took me on an adventure. But there was always home to come back to. As I grew older, I understood better why my father wanted me to have home skills. My mother grew up in the times when girls were taught the art of homemaking. I remember the beautiful embroidered pillow cases and cross-stitch dining table mats at home, and my mother’s home-cooked Chinese meals. She had learnt a lot of her skills from her mother who was a excellent cook. As my grandmother was half European and half Asian, she mastered both European and Asian cuisine.
In my father’s last days, I was able to cook chicken rice for him. He said it was the best chicken rice he had ever had. It was indeed a compliment, but there was an obvious bias. He was happy that I had learnt some of the homemaking skills from my mother, who had leant them from her mother. I suppose we could call them family legacies.
What am I trying to say with all of this? We are human beings who work either outside the home or at home, and we live at home. Sometimes we think that by earning a good salary we will have a good home. One can buy a house, but a home has to be made, thus the expression “homemaking”.
The purpose of HomeBlog by Homskil is to create a platform for sharing the joys (and travails) of homemaking. Homemaking is not the exclusive domain of anyone. Most people think of their mother when they think of the word “homemaker”, but I would say that fathers are also homemakers, and anyone who lives at home and contributes in some way to the home is a homemaker. Come and join us in our new homemade happiness venture.
by Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 28 December 2020