The main domestic goddess of my panetheon is Elizabeth Zimmerman. She is author of Knitting Without Tears, a widely revered tome amongst dedicated knitters, and other excellent knitting books. Why is she a domestic godess, rather than just a knitting goddess? Well, by accident or, more probably, design, she expresses knitting as a microcosm of domesticity. Knitting isn’t about producing garments, it is about loving your family. It is swaddling infants, making sweaters that your adolescent children will wear in public, keeping your husband’s feet warm in wool socks, and in general, outfitting your loved ones for the Great Big Cold World. It is responding to your framily’s wants and needs with both thrift and generousity, with efficiency and attention to detail, and expressing your creativity by giving of yourself to others. She advises learning to knit without watching your work so that you can knit away while reading the children a bedtime story. She suggests that mittens for children should be gifted in threes, since one will always go missing. She says that there is always someone who needs a winter hat. She recommends knitting children’s sweaters from the neck down, so that the cuffs and hem can be more easily lengthened. Hobby knitters (such as myself) dreamily imagine living in such a world, where one’s knitting skills are a vital and important part of the household’s function. Even if we don’t have that in the modern world, we can still take the ethic of thoughtfully providing for our family to heart.
Another domestic goddess of mine is the Flylady. I appreciate that many people cannot stand Flylady, and to each his or her own. If you want to bash Flylady, feel free to start another thread, but I respectfully request that you don’t attack her (or anyone else’s choces) here. I don’t agree with her on everything, and she does certain things that I think are wrong, stupid, unhelpful, or all three. But her key messages—or at least the messages that are important to me—are an insightful blending of self-reliance and generosity. You, and pretty much only you, can make positive changes in your life. You must also do it for yourself, not to get anyone else’s approval, gratitude, or cooperation. To accomplish this, you have to turn away from negativity—stop beating yourself up over your failures, and stop playing the martyr. You cannot change enverything at once, and have to take it one step at a time. Sometimes you try to tackle too much at once and burn out, and sometimes you lose your motivation and drop out. If it happens, you just have to pick yourself back up and try again, and not dwell on it. Concentrate on the positive, which is mostly going to come from inside you. You can take satisfaction from everything you do to improve your home, no matter how small, even if you don’t do such a good job of it, and even if nobody else notices, or if they criticize what you did or how you did it. You’ve done something for yourself and your family, and something is better than nothing. This taps into something deep inside me. I cannot feel like a whole, successful person unless I’m taking care of my home and family. If that sounds like nonsense to you, you’re not alone. This isn’t something my husband can understand, either. But that’s how I am, and Flylady seems to be on the same wavelength and has been a great help to me. (Whew! I think I managed to get through that paragraph without any twee Flylady jargon!)
So, tell us about your domestic gods and goddesses, and why you are inspired by them. Even Martha Stewart.