When I was a violin teacher, I obtained teacher training, joined the SAA and ASTA, and read their journals regularly. When I was a technical writer, I joined an online forum of technical writers and spent time learning about the best ways to get the job done.
So what about homemaking? We don't have professional resources and associations, and most of us didn't study cooking, cleaning, and parenting in college.
But we do have mothers. I learned so much from mine: I never realized it growing up, but she managed to teach my siblings and me all the basics of running a home, along with basic cooking and child care. Where we showed more interest, she took more time. My mom taught me how to make bread and pie crust when I started asking her about it; she taught my youngest sister to knit when she showed interest. Especially at the beginning of our married life, but still occasionally now, my husband asks me how I know things, and I just reply, "My mom."
After I was married, I started inhaling books about cooking and housekeeping. I read a Queen of Clean book that my high school English teacher gave me for my wedding, and every Sunday afternoon I sat down with The New Best Recipe and read about the whys and hows behind the ways recipes work. I read about FlyLady and devoured cookbooks that I checked out from the library.
When I found out I was expecting Red Chief, I went a bit overboard reading parenting websites and magazines. Talk about too much information! I was much happier once I decided to stick to The Nursing Mother's Companion, What To Expect the First Year, and my doctor's advice.
More recently, I've enjoyed reading vintage cookbooks and homekeeping guides. For a more modern, scientific approach, I absolutely love Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. This book will tell you how and why soap works, the best way to make a bed, and how to iron your tablecloths. It's also balanced enough to tell you that you don't have to iron your tablecloths if you don't want to (I don't).
Blogs have offered me endless inspiration and ideas. I never knew how many talented, ambitious homemakers there are out there! This is where I need to add my grain of salt, though--ladies with perfect homes don't usually have two-year-olds, and so forth. We're all different, and we all have different talents. I love reading about people with different talents than I have, and I enjoy the inspiration I obtain from them. Here are some of my favorites:
- Frugality: Like Merchant Ships
- Wise use of time: BeppyCat & Co.
- Home decoration: Mias Landliv
- Joy and beauty of life: Morning Has Broken
- All-around everything: Pleasant View Schoolhouse
- Green living and toddler activites: Clothesline Alley
- General industry and living with small children: More Than Rubies
Where do you get your homemaking inspiration and ideas? Where do you turn with questions? What do you do (or want to do) to keep up your "professional development"?