On Sunday we attended an anniversary of my husband’s first school.  It was a one teacher country school half way between their home and town.

There were many people there from around the area and a lot of people attended who had moved away as well.  So it was nice to catch up with some of the people I knew from when we lived on the family farm when we were first married some 25 years ago.

There was one person that I caught up with that left me with a lot of food for thought.  She is actually the mother of one of my dearest friends.   Her name is Mrs T and she is about 86 years old.

Apart from just catching up on our family and how our grandchildren are going she actually shared with me about her life as a young wife and mother so many years ago.  She gave me an insight into what life was like before we had power and all the mod cons that we do now.

When they were first married they lived in a one room hut, which still stands today.  They had no electricity and she milked 10 cows by hand every day.  She had 4 children under 5 and by the time she had the 5th child she was milking 20 cows per day.

She made all her own butter, soap and candles. She sewed all her children’s clothes on a treadle sewing machine.  She had a huge vegetable garden and heaps of fruit trees.  She preserved around 300 bottles of fruit per year and also vegetables.

sewing machine

When the children were little she had a girl helping her with daily chores and with the children.  I would suggest this would have been a great support to her, as her husband was busy with the farm and wouldn’t have had time for inside work.

I asked her whether all this work, with little help bothered her and she said no.  Her opinion was that that was how it was and you just got on with it.  Wow and I complain when the floor gets dirty and I have to plug in the vacuum cleaner!!!

They built a timber home when the children were little and eventually bricked this home.

I remember her vegetable garden at this home and the large amount of fruit trees and it always astounded me.  She also had an amazing garden of trees, shrubs and flowers, you could tell that she really enjoyed gardening.

I jokingly asked her when she slept when her children were little and her daughter replied “not much”.  It’s no wonder she is struggling with her health with all the hard work she did years ago.

So how hard is it for us modern mums really????  We have power and running water and toilets that flush.  I know that I have a supportive husband and children who also help around the house and with outside chores.

I wasn’t actually looking forward to going, but it turned out to be a great afternoon.  Not only did I catch up with some old friends but I got an insight into what life could have been like for me had I been born some 80 years ago.

It has made me realise that I should stop complaining about the little things and be grateful for all the mod cons and gadgets that I have that make my life easier and chores quicker.  I am also grateful for the children I have that help me out and collect the fire wood and hang up washing.

My experience today makes me want to get up in the morning and be a hardworking wife and mother, to strive to make our house a home.  It makes me want to be diligent in my housework and in teaching my children.

There is so much we can learn from the older generation and their wisdom on being wives, mothers and keepers at home.

It makes me want to rise up before the grayheaded and be thankful for her wisdom to a present day mum.

I am truly blessed.

You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honour the aged, and you shall revere your God. I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:32

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also , and he praises her.  Proverbs 31:27-28

How have you been challenged in your life and homemaking by the older generation??

PS.  The candles that Mrs T made were made with tallow or animal fat, not bees wax.  I found this fascinating…

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The Art of Homemaking Mondays Buttonand here



  1. So true, so true! I think a difference might also be that we have so much to entertain us in our homes that we get frustrated when we have to do housework. Back then there was no media distractions which helped to keep focus on the home and work you had to do and not being upset for not having time to do other things… Just a thought. I enjoyed reading this! 🙂 Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week!

    1. Hi Jes, thank you for that comment and yes you are right about the distractions (entertainment) in our lives. Mrs T probably got up did her work and fell into bed exhausted at night and didn’t need to answer emails and update photos on her web pages. It is good to go to bed exhausted, when I do I have a great sleep. Have a great day. Blessings.

    1. Hi Kate, thank you for your comment and for reminding me about my own mothers upbringing on a diary farm in the early 1930’s. Blessings, Terri

  2. I never knew my own grandmother, but was blessed to become very close with my husband’s. Your Mrs. T sounds a lot like grams. My “grams” was 93 when she went to be with the Lord. She talked fondly of the days long ago, where she walked to school before dawn (whether there was snow or ice or sunshine) to light the wood stove in her one room school house to make sure it was warm for the students.
    She talked of wash days, milking cows, working in he corn fields, canning, and the works.

    What I loved most about her life stories was that she was always “all in”. Everything she did cost her time and energy. I think that’s what life richer for her…

    1. Thanks Bekki for that insight. My mum grew up on a dairy farm too and had to help milk the cows before school and then walk to school, she learned to knit when she was five and used to help around the house. The “good old days” she used to call them, and I would think that your grams would say the same. Sometimes I think it would be good to go back to those ways but I think I’ve gotten soft with all my mod cons. Your grams sounds like a fantastic lady. Blessings.

  3. I live in Kathmandu, Nepal. Most of our laundry us done by hand. We have power 6 hours a day– on a good day. We must filter water for it to be safe to drink. And yet…. My job as a Momma to 8 is easier than the life of many of the women we tell about Jesus. Perspective is EVERYTHING!

    1. Heather thank you for your comment and insight into your life, and yes perspective is everything. I really appreciate what you are doing over there for God and for your family. Blessings.

  4. WOW. That is just amazing… I am always so impressed and in awe of the tireless women who worked so hard to raise her kids back in the day when she literally had to do it ALL.

    Thank you for this reality check.

    What a powerful message here.

  5. We have it way easier, yet I find that many moms, including myself sometimes, think that life and motherhood is so hard. I often wish that I could escape all the technology and drama that is in the modern day and live in a simpler time. Thanks so much for sharing with the Saturday Soiree Blog Party!

  6. I agree! I am glad you are sharing what you learned. My grandmother emigrated to Michigan from Finland. At first she lived in town but when she had three children she moved to a “farm”. She took care of the garden, orchard, cows and chickens while they continued to clear the land. She had four more children while managing the farm. My mother was the 6th child.

  7. I think of this often, as I press the start button on my washer, or “patiently” wait for hot water to come from the water heater. We live in a time of convenience and yet, we are more impatient than ever! I do believe it’s because of our modern habits of getting what we want when we want it. Not having to wait or work to enjoy a coffee or be entertained or talk with a person right away, has really killed our patience. When we must slow down, like in the old days, it gives us time to think and ponder, gaining rest for our souls. We need to make time to slow down or we’ll burn out, both our bodies and our souls. Thanks for sharing!

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