Hunting for Rubies

I suffer from that most enduring of traits of motherhood: I never have a very high self-worth, whatever else is going on around me. I cannot work out whether this is because there is always more to be done, or because there is never the time to sit and evaluate what is going well.

So I have resolved to take a closer look at Mrs Proverbs 31. I wonder how many of her exploits I can take on personally, and how many are well out of the question? Maybe there is a book to be written about this if I actually try it out. Hmm.

My Mrs Proverbs 31 To Do List:

  • Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
  • She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

These ones seem to be to do with being a good wife and getting the job done, before we even get to the proper list. Also I note ‘all the days of her life’ is not something I can just manage in a year or two.

  • She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

I am not great at knitting and wouldn’t know how to select wool – presumably something pretty? I have no idea what flax is.

  • She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

Actually, it is normally the Sainsbury’s delivery driver, but I have been known to strap both children into a trolley when in real need. Food from afar is counter to our household philosophy to buy things produced as locally as possible.

  • She gets up while it is still dark;


  • she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

You see this is where I am going wrong. Servant girls. Love it. Where can I get them? For food, see above.

  • She considers a field and buys it;

Yes. I did look up the prices of fields today. I found an interesting webpage about buying land for using to grow Miscanthus for selling to renewable energy suppliers. Or something. I will ask my husband to explain it to me, as I am not allowed to do all the considering on my own and he knows a lot about sustainable energy.

  • out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

I earn Child Benefit and that is all these days. Perhaps I should buy grapes with seeds in next time.

  • She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

After carrying Joe for a few minutes your arms would be strong too. Learning how to breast-feed and potty train simultaneously has proven to me that however good men may get at multi-tasking, certain aspects really do belong in the girls’ domain.

  • She sees that her trading is profitable,

Ebay. Every time. Unlike the poor dear who sold me some socks for Joe this week (Total cost to me: £1.75. Postage for socks: £1.72. Knowing that you are in profit: priceless.)

  • and her lamp does not go out at night.

This is a bit like getting up while it is still dark. The lamp sometimes gets left on for hours while we doze between feeds.

  • In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

I must find out what a distaff and spindle are. I have a feeling I used to know. Maybe google image will help. (I noted recently that google is really just Go Ogle with a gap).

I think it is something to do with candy floss and knitting again. Thankfully to tick this one off I’d only have to hold the candy floss things.

  • She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

I wish I could say I do this more than I really do. My home group have taken on a few homeless people in our town who sell the Big Issue and are trying to get to know them. I am lagging behind. It has been a while since I opened my home or my time to people in real need. Money is not always the solution. I need to do something, however small. The baby boxes scheme at church is on hold, but hopefully will be up and running again soon, now our new building is open.

  • When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

Mmm. I don’t know about the servant girls, but I think all the rest of us have some red clothes. I know my husband has some red socks somewhere for walking boots. I think scarlet clothing in and of itself is not the key to keeping warm, even if the text is referring to expensive clothes.

  • She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

I do not make coverings for the bed. My mum is the kind of person who can do this sort of thing, so maybe I should join her quilting class. Linen needs ironing, so doesn’t feature much in my wardrobe. Purple, however, does.

  • Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

The men of Old Testament towns and villages would sit at the least smelly part – the gate – where they would act as judges and community leaders and observe all the comings and goings. We are a bit short of city gates here and the local council is mostly made up of women I think. Still,  my husband is a respected guy and enjoys sitting in unsmelly places, so we are partway there.

  • She makes linen garments and sells them,

Oh yes, back to the WoNC again. Making linen garments is going to involve a bit more cottage industry than I had hoped for, but I know of a good place or two on the internet should I ever get around to selling homemade wares.

  • and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Maybe this was something to do with convention freebies. I can’t see me getting into sash-making (unless perhaps, as part of the linen garment company).

  • She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
  • She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

These ones also belong together because of the patterns. Strength, dignity and wisdom are in short supply when you have little sleep, hardly enough feeding tops and have to speak at the level a two-year-old understands. Instructions are constantly on my tongue though, and laughing is the only way I can get through each day as a mum.

  • She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
  • Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her

If anyone knows what is going on in my household, it is me. I seem to get more information than is really necessary about all the goings on and sometimes I remember what is what and even buy the right kind of bread. I’m not that partial to bread of idleness, and much prefer brioche, ‘best of both’ or warm rolls straight from the oven.

I think I look forward to my children praising me in their own right, but if I thought that cards on Mothering Sunday were what it was all about, I would never have got into this business. It is the little laughs and smiles, the making necklaces ‘one for lu, one for me’, the fun of trying to do roly-polys and making angel delight (even though no one likes it here) and having to stop blogging every time I try because someone needs my time that makes my life as a wife and mother all worth while. I don’t need to be a rubiesworth. I just need to live life one day at a time and stop beating myself up about not having got enough flax in this week.


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