Yesterday I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary with my husband and while the day was full with church activities, Paul and I managed to celebrate the day before with a delightful time in New Smyrna Beach. Which brought to mind our early days of married life to our current days.
Which brought to mind Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book suggestions for a young housewife has some advice that seems fitting. It's more about attitude than on the practical.
ON THE STYLE OF LIVING AND EXPENSES
This work is designed primarily for young and inexperienced housekeepers, and the following suggestions are presented as the advice of many judicious and experienced matrons in our country, to their young country-"women, who are to follow them in the trying duties of housekeeping.
Nothing in this country is a greater source of suffering to housekeepers, than bad taste in their style of living and expenditure. Good taste is that nice perception of fitness and propriety which leads a person to say and do whatever is suitable and appropriate in all possible circumstances. Such good taste is ordinarily the result of good feelings and well-cultivated mind, and an acquaintance with the world. Yet this correct taste is sometimes found in minds that have enjoyed but few advantages, but by nature are endowed with refilled feelings and good common sense.
Where this good taste exists, it leads a woman to wish to have her house, furniture, and style of living, in all its parts, exactly conformed to her means, and her situation. If she is not rich, she will not wish to have a house, or furniture, or dress like those who are rich, and will find a pride and pleasure in making a small house, plain furniture, simple dress, and an economical table, so neat, and orderly, and comfortable, and tasteful, as to ensure comfort and satisfaction to all around her. If she cannot command good domestics, nor live comfortably in a house, and with furniture which requires them, she will aim to alter the style of her establishment, and adopt one which can be thoroughly and successfully carried out by such domestics as she can obtain.
Where good domestics are scarce, it is a very great mistake to attempt to live in a large house. The labor of house cleaning, and window cleaning, the sweeping, the care of furniture, and many other items of labor, are much increased by enlarging the size of the house. In the country, where good help is scarce, a house on the plan of one of the cottages drawn in the Domestic Economy, with bed presses instead of chambers, will be found to be a great saving of labor, and the expense that might be incurred in building, furnishing, and taking care of chambers, can be laid out in making conveniences for carrying water, and furnishing the kitchen properly. The drawings for this purpose in the Domestic Economy will be found useful in this respect.
In cities, nothing is more pernicious to a housekeeper's health, than going up and down stairs, and a woman who has good taste and good sense, will not, for the sake af show, keep two parlors on the ground floor and her nursery above and kitchen below. One of these parlors will be taken for her nursery and bedroom, even should all her acquaintance wonder how it can be, that a wife and mother should think her health and duties of more importance than two dark parlors shut up for company.
When a woman has good sense and good taste, these are some of the things she will not do.
She will not be so anxious to obtain admission into any circle as to seek it by a conformity to its fashions, which will involve her in labor, or expenses that lessen domestic comfort, or are inappropriate to her income.
She will not be particularly anxious to know what the fashion is, in dress and furniture, nor give up any important duty or pursuit to conform to it. Nor will she be disturbed if found deficient in these particulars, nor disturb others by making apologies, or giving reasons.
She will not, while all that is in sight to visiters, or to out-door observers, is in complete order, and in expensive style, have her underclothing, her bedroom, her kitchen, and her nursery ill furnished, and all in disorder. She will not attempt to show that she is genteel, and belongs to the aristocracy, by a display of profusion, by talking as if she was indifferent to the cost of things, or by seeming ashamed to economize. These things are marks of a vulgar, unrefined person, that fancies that it is money, and not character, that makes the lady. And by persons of education and refinement, such things are always regarded as indicating a vulgar, uncultivated mind.
Let a young housekeeper, then, adopt these maxims as her guide in regulating the style of her dress, fuini tuie, table, and the size of her house.
Do not begin housekeeping in the style a which you should end it, but begin on a plain and small scale, and increase your expenditures as your experience and means are increased.
Be determined to live within your income, and in such a style that you can secure time to improve your own mind, and impart some of your own advantages to others.
Try to secure symmetry in your dress, furniture, style of living, and charities. That is, do not be profuse in one direction, and close and pinching in another.
Cultivate a taste for intellectual pleasures, home pleasures, and the pleasures of benevolence.
Have some regular plan for the employment of your time, and in this plan have chief reference to making home pleasant to your husband and children. It will save them from a thousand snares, and you from many sorrows.