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Hello, my friend, it’s so wonderful to have you here. Keep house like a Mennonite – what in the world does that even mean? Have you ever noticed the trend to idealize all of the Plain folk – that is, the Mennonites, Amish and all associated with them? Admit it, you’ve probably done it (at least a little).
Am I right?
I’m Marie, main contributor here at Just Plain Living, and author of the back-to-basics cookbook A Cabin Full of Food. I’m so happy you’re here. What I want to talk to you about, though, are these interesting ideas – and misconceptions – many of us have about Mennonite life.
You know how it goes.
If a recipe says Amish, it will be incredible.
All Mennonites have perfectly clean and tidy homes.
Plain men are hardworking, muscular and handsome.
Women are sweet and gentle-tempered and never, ever argue with their husbands or yell at their children.
That works well until you actually get to know a group of Mennonites and you find out that none of the stereotypes hold true for all of them.
Oh, there certainly are incredible cooks, immaculate homemakers, hardworking and muscular men and sweet-tempered women, but … not all of them. (And most of them aren’t all of that at the same time)
Although we’re not Mennonite, many of my friends are Old Order and Conservative Mennonite. They are some of the most amazing people. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I’m happy to pass that along to you.
Subscribers get access to a 5 page printable (and many other resources!) that will can help you catch up on the housework craziness. I hope you enjoy this almost as much as I enjoyed writing it!
The truth is that, like any other group of people, there are some Plain folk who are fabulous homemakers like my friend Elizabeth and then there are ones that are more like … well, like me. To keep house like a Mennonite, though, you don’t have to be like Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, who has eight children, has a spotless home. I would feel safe eating off her floor – in the bathroom.
She’s sweet and loving and hospitable, welcoming strangers into her home for meals at a moment’s notice. Her sister, Mary, with a severely disabled adult daughter, also has an immaculate home. However, not all Mennonite women have that skill set. Some are great seamstresses or amazing cooks or incredible gardeners and farmers … but barely adequate homemakers.
I’m one of those “barely adequate homemakers”. I’m happy to be home with my children, and I find plenty to do every day, but cleaning just ain’t my thang!
The irony is that I know quite well what to do and how to clean the house, but I’m scatterbrained. Were I a child today, I expect I’d be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I’m good at gardening, (getting good at) raising animals, cooking great meals and raising awesome children … not so good at the housework.
There are a few things I know, though, and as much as my mother tried, I learned most of these from Mennonite homemakers. Luckily for you (and me), none of them require that you start living simple like the Amish. As appealing as it can be from a distance, the plain life isn’t for everyone.
Are you ready? Let’s learn few things from my wonderful friends so that we can all keep house like a Mennonite. Kitchen clean up, smiles, children and …. dogs.
Yes, dogs. Keep reading!