I want to begin this post by pointing out that I, like most women, wrestle with the concept of being a homemaker. I assign more value to my work outside the home because I associate that work with a paycheck. But I find more creativity and fulfillment within the walls of our home. I think both can be done properly, but it's most important to have a good balance between the two (never forsaking one or the other).
Life for a modern homemaker has never been more polarized. In some ways it is exponentially easier and in others it is excessively (sometimes unnecessarily) complicated.
I can't image what it was like for my grandmother to be a homemaker. I have unlimited access to a treasure trove of other women's ingenuity via the internet. I don't have to put effort into friendships in order to glean helpful tips from experienced mothers. If I want to know how to cook dry beans in my crock pot (can I freeze them?), I simply turn to Google and read what hundreds of other moms have chosen to share with the worldwide collective of homemakers. My grandmother either had to find someone who had done it or figure it out through trial and error.
Pinterest is great for stealing ideas from people who are more creative. I can find instructions for how to cook, fix, clean, build and make just about anything. I can even find how to discipline my children, bestow values upon them, and record their memories in tidy little scrapbooks. The high-quality professional pictures inspire at best and, at worst, breed an unhealthy level of competitive one-up-manship between online moms. However, I am willing to risk it (understanding that most of these photos are like advertisements and are meant to attract/mislead/intimidate) because I don't want to fut around with my crockpot and ruin 10 batches of beans before getting it right!
One downside to this technology is that modern homemakers can feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices. The virtual clutter begins to fill our heads and we are crippled by the paralysis of indecision. We end up pinning 250 DIY projects for the house and end up making almost none of them. This usually leads to a sense of guilt and/or shame, as if we aren't good enough because we can't do it all. A healthy ratio is about 80:20. 80% of the time is spent doing/making something. 20% of the time is dedicated to thinking/planning. I find that whenever this ratio gets out of whack (when I spend 5 hours looking at knitting patterns online but only 20 minutes working with actual yarn) I feel most distressed and negative toward keeping my house.
Being self-sufficient and maintaining a high functioning, clean and lovely home is a blessing and a virtue. Although no one is going to assign any monetary value to my work, I still find it worthwhile and am proud to see what comes to fruition at the end of the day. I rely heavily on Pinterest, but am open to hearing about any other sites that might make my life easier...