Lucky Mrs. Hen – Lucky Mrs. You!


Featured picture at the top of this post is by artist Nat White.


When I was growing up there was a book in our church library that I loved to check out called Richard Scarry’s A Story A Day (affiliated link).  It had 365 short stories and poems, and my favorite one was Lucky Mrs. Hen (page 77). 

The story starts off with a dark rain storm.  Mrs. Hen decides to clean her house, while the neighbors just stare out the window and lament the rain, having wanted to work in the garden.   

But little Mrs. Hen put on her apron and cleaned her house.  When every corner was spick and span, she did her baking, clucking happily to herself.  Then she made doughnuts.  Just as she was sprinkling them with sugar, the rain stopped and pop! out came the sun!   

“Just in time,” clucked Mrs. Hen.  “I’ll wash windows.”  She did. And she cut her grass and planted her garden.  Then, since the day was so beautiful, she packed a picnic basket.

Then she asked all of her neighbors to go on a picnic, but each one said that the bright sunshine made their homes look so dirty that they had to clean them after weeding, and they couldn’t just go gallivanting off any time they felt like it.  They sounded very snippy, but she didn’t notice.

The story ends…She waved good-by, and without a care in the world, she went off to have her picnic in the beautiful, sun-shiney, springtime woods.

Back then I couldn’t see that doing your work first thing instead of moping could later result in “being lucky” by freeing up your time to do what you wanted.  “Of course I would clean my house if it rained,” I thought.  “I’d love to.”  (It’s pouring rain right now, and I’m not cleaning!) Though today I can see the “lucky” wisdom of doing your work early and quickly every morning more than ever.  How long did I go without doing a basic morning routine because “I didn’t feel like it”? 

Little girls love to keep house.  The nesting instinct is naturally ingrained, unless someone important in their life diminishes its value – either an overwhelmed (or sometimes lazy) mother who hasn’t yet learned how to properly keep house, or a father or other influential person who, not seeing the blessing in a wife who keeps house, demeans it. 

Often little girls enjoy making the beds, dusting, setting the table, etc. if they are allowed to let their imagination run while doing it, and not be micro-managed, bossed around, or have their work redone.  I can remember doing these things and thinking that when I grew up I wanted to be a maid! (Hmmm…)  But that is the power of being a little girl – home-keeping is such fun that we think it will always be so.

Eloise Wilkin, We Help Mommy

I also remember going off to school and looking longingly back at my home in the morning sunshine.  I wanted to be in the kitchen with the sunlight pouring on the counters, baking.  I love sunlight shining in a mixing bowl. 

Eloise Wilkin, Illustrator

I wanted to make sure all the beds were made and the house picked up and dusted. 

Eloise Wilkin, illustrator, and Jean Cushman, author, of the Little Golden Book We Help Mommy

I even wanted to hang laundry on the line, like our neighbor. 

Eloise Wilkin, Illustrator

Once I arrived home from school the sunlight had shifted out of the house and into the backyard, so I typically played out there, unless it was too hot; then I stayed inside to read.  We played with friends from 3:00 to 6:00, dinner was at 6:30, and homework was begun at 7:00. 

How I would have loved to have been homeschooled!  I would have learned to keep house while I was naturally interested in it, instead of having it demeaned while in school. 

Of course, little girls aren’t dealing with bills, deep cleaning, feeding real babies on little sleep, and cooking.  It gets a lot harder as we grow up. 

Eloise Wilkin, Illustrator, from the book Baby Dear, written by her sister, Esther Wilkin

Unfortunately, many women who do not keep their own house, but hire it out, still live with the illusion that it is easy, and therefore demeaning. 

Maria Rabinky, Illustrator

When they decide to have children and come home to reality, they get the biggest shock.  Keeping one’s house clean and organized, along with cooking and caring for self, husband and children, while making ends meet on one income, really is a full-time endeavor. 

When I finally woke up to the fact that working for myself and my family was infinitely more pleasurable than working for others who reaped the benefits of my labor, that it is easier to cut expenses than earn income, and much more fun to stay home and do whatever I pleased whenever I wanted to, I also had to learn the hard way how to actually take care of my home, my child and my husband, and that all the excuses were gone. 

Keeping house was supposed to be so easy….so why was it so hard? 

Gil Elvgren, Let’s Go Out to Dinner

Reality is much more difficult than the fantasy our culture imparts. 

However, there is great news!  Once you have decluttered your house, your life, and your thinking, once you have routines and have learned to cook nutritious food every day (I’m still working on this one), and once you know what cleaning methods work best for you and your family, life starts to really hum. 

Maria Rabinky, Illustrator

Every day, taking care of your family and home becomes more and more enjoyable, the more you get into it. That is the secret. Get really, really into homemaking and all it encompasses.

When my son was little and the sunlight peeped into our kitchen, we’d have a picnic breakfast or lunch on the floor in the patch of sunlight on a blue and white checked cloth. Other days we’d picnic in the front or back yard. Once a month we’d meet friends at the park for lunch.

Being at home, you can really live in the moment without rushing, and focus on the pleasures of each day. 

Arthur Sarnoff, Illustrator

Get really, really into being the best Christian mother you can be. Remember that how you train your children is how they will train and treat your grandchildren!

You can use the dark, stormy days of training little ones to your advantage so that pop! out on the other side comes Lucky Mrs. You. 

You’ll be the one driving off with your husband and children to the sun-shiney, springtime woods…

as your neighbors bemoan their ill fortune, jealous how you, a simple house wife, can go gallivanting off whenever you feel like it, because, “she doesn’t work, you know.”

Vintage Peter and Jane book Happy Holiday, illustrated by J.H. Wingfield

May God bless you and your family as you care for them and your home. I wish you many sun-shiney days and picnics at your house and in the woods!


Eloise Burns Wilkin was the mother of four children. “…she drew – and painted – the chubby, wide-eyed, eager but well-behaved toddlers every parent dreams of having. …she placed her youngsters in idyllic rural settings with birds’ nests in every branching tree – look, don’t touch! – as well as daisies in the meadows for picking, scampering squirrels, shy bunnies, unpolluted brooks in which to wade, and hip-roofed red barns in neat farmyards behind solid homes of fieldstone or white clapboard around which the colorful seasons turned.

“A warm and creative homemaker, Eloise shared with the world glimpses of her big, busy, welcoming household, its rooms papered with gentle patterns, its drop-leaf tables and rocking chairs aglow with hand-rubbed sheen, its four-poster beds covered by hand-stitched quilts. A devoutly religious person, she shared ever so gently her values, her sense of the beauty of order and love, of implicit self-discipline, and of regard for others. In her voluminous work she has left us, only slightly idealized, rich reminders of a lovely time not very long ago.”

The above excerpt of A remembrance written by Jane Werner Watson in 1987 is found in its entirety in the back of the book: A Little Golden Book Collection of Eloise Wilkin Stories, Nine Beloved Classics, where she was the illustrator. The contents are:

  • Introduction, by her daughter Deborah Wilkin Springett, that includes very interesting information about her mother’s life and talents, including that of being the designer of the first soft and cuddly doll that resembled a newborn baby, Baby Dear.
  • Busy Timmy
  • Guess Who Lives Here
  • My Little Golden Book About God
  • Wonders of Nature
  • Selections from A Child’s Garden of Verses
  • We Help Mommy
  • Baby Listens
  • Baby Dear
  • Baby Looks
  • Plus “Little Boy Blue” from Mother Goose and the poem “At Sunset”
  • and, A Remembrance of Eloise Wilkin

Eloise married Sidney Wilkin in 1930. She took a decade off from illustrating to raise her four children. In 1944, after she received an offer to illustrate three Golden Books a year, she agreed to do it only if she could work exclusively from her cobblestone home. The editors accepted. She illustrated over 100 books – and 47 of them were Golden Books.

Eloise’s sister, Esther Wilkin, wrote many Little Golden Books, including the three “Baby” books in this collection. Esther married Eloise’s husband’s brother, and this is why they both have the same surname, Wilkin.

You may also like to read The Esther M. Wilkins Story, as told by her friends.

Eloise’s biography is told in the book The Golden Years of Eloise Wilkin, but, unfortunately, it is expensive and hard to find!

Our home joys are the most delightful earth affords, and the joy of parents in their children is the most holy joy of humanity. It makes their hearts pure and good; it lifts men up to their Father in heaven.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Do you want to come home but don’t see how it could possibly work?

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. This compensation pays the annual costs of running this website. Read our disclosure policy at the top of this website. Thank you!)


Popular posts from this blog

An Honest Review of The Clutter Connection

From Christmas Chaos to Christmas CALM

The Secrets of Fascinating Womanhood Book Synopsis