Monday, August 31, 2009

Developing your "super powers"

I believe there are a few skills that are essential for every person to know. These are skills that make it possible to function successfully in the world. I also feel these skills are important for survival and self-reliance. If you have these skills, great! If you don't, maybe you should consider developing them. It won't hurt and will very likely improve your life.

1. Reading. Okay, so that may seem obvious (since you are reading this) but there are people in the world who are able yet rarely read. I used to only read for information; magazines, newspapers, How-to books, etc. This kind of reading is important and more people should read to learn something from time to time.
Several years ago I started reading for pleasure again. It has changed my life. I always enjoyed reading but I thought I had outgrown "fun reading". Since I started reading again I have found that I read faster, my comprehension is better, I have something to think about besides children and cleaning, and I am much happier than when I filled my time with TV and movies. I also read aloud to my children more. I used to hate doing this because I didn't like my voice. If I read for very long my throat would get dry and I would stop. Now I don't mind either of these challenges. I guess practice makes perfect.

2. Cooking. This might seem obvious to some of you but I have met many women who can not cook...or DO NOT cook. I find this incomprehensible. I enjoy cooking most of the time. I like trying new things and having control over what I eat. I am by no means a gourmet but I think I am a pretty good cook. I feel satisfied that I can provide meals for my family. I also believe that cooking for yourself saves money. During our recent move we found ourselves spending between $30 and $60 per meal to feed our family! I have added up the cost of our favorite meals and the most expensive was only $18 with lots of leftovers.

3. Basic Financial management. I am not a financial expert but I have learned from my mistakes and work very hard to avoid repeating them. That is why I am horrified when I meet a woman who says "I let my husband do all of that." or "Money isn't important." Are you kidding me!?!?!? Money one of the most important tools we have in our society. Without money you have no home, no food, no transportation, no education, the list goes on and on. Now I am not saying that you should be obsessed with money or that it should have unrealistic priority in your life. I am saying that by not understanding basic principles like interest and budgeting, you can get into SERIOUS trouble. I guess many people are learning this lesson the hard way. What is most devastating is not finding your self over your head in debt but learning how a simple it would have been to stay out of that pit.

4. Sewing. This might seem like an outdated skill to you but it isn't. Although making your own clothes may not be cost effective, sewing skills are still valuable. Simple minding does not take much time or effort but can save you in the long run. I am surprised at how many people can't hem a pair of pants or sew on a button. They find it too much work and would rather replace it than mend it.
Another important reason to learn to sew is modesty. I have very strong feeling about little girls wearing short shorts and sleeveless dresses. I would much prefer to add a sleeve or lengthen the hem than let my girls be overexposed.

5. Organizational skills. I hate trying to find something in a pile of junk. My husband would laugh at that because I am the "cluttered one" in our home. My argument is that I have to keep track of 8 people's stuff and he only has to keep track of some of his own. Still, I do have meticulous standards when it comes to our important documents and records, storage items like baby clothes and Christmas decorations, and the children's toys. Less important clutter ends up in piles or boxes or bags until I sort it and re-sort it and eventually find a home for it or throw it out. It is an ongoing process. I can't tell you how good it feels when you need scissors and they are in their place or when your 3 year old put all the cars in the car box without being told what to do.

6. Shopping skills. I know what you are thinking. ALL women know how to shop. I disagree. All women know how to SPEND MONEY!. There is a difference. A successful shopper can go into the store and buy what they need without overdoing it. She knows how to get a good deal and buys with the future in mind. I am particularly surprised at how many people buy only enough food for one or two meals instead of stocking up on the things they eat often. I tend to buy food on a cycle. One week I might buy several jars of spaghetti sauce. Another week I stock up on ground beef. When we start to run low on an item I buy at least a months worth. The same principle applies to kids clothes. I might buy several pair of jeans in different sizes because they are on sale. Now when my "giant child" has yet another growth spurt I don't have to rush out and buy him something so he can breath at school the next day.

I have only listed a few of the many skills that help keep a family running smoothly. Not only are they good skills for a mother to have but good skills to teach her children. As I said in the beginning, these are important for anyone to master...even guys!

1 comment:

Christine said...

Amy!!! I just wanted to tell you that...WOW!!! You have quite a talent at writing! Your blog is so fun! Thanks for writing!!!