This post is unexpected. In fact, it is hard to believe I’m thinking about homemaking, let alone writing about it.
But, recently God has been showing me His heart for homemaking, and it has been quite surprising.
I fiercely resisted being taught anything related to life in the home when I was young. My assumption was when I grew up I’d pay to outsource house-hold chores!
While my full-time working mum certainly tasted the benefits of feminism, she still functioned in a traditional role within our house. Being a good mum, she tried to teach me to cook, sew and establish other domestic skills.
I would deliberately switch my mind into neutral to resist absorbing the skills. I found it boring and pointless (remember, I was going to outsource).
My poor mum. I made it difficult for her to hand-down the domestic skills she had learnt from her own mother. She tried to teach me about domestic life, but I dismissed it as trivial and not worth my time.
(Please don’t judge me!)
I regret not taking more notice. I am disappointed that I put energy into sulking rather than enjoying the experience, learning and making memories with my mum.
My ‘ah-ha’ moment
God has flagged for me the importance of creating a home for my family. He has challenged me to think about what that looks like – not physically, but what atmosphere do I want to create?
I have never really thought about this before.
And as I begrudgingly pondered this questions, I realised that there was a difference between house-keeping and homemaking.
My belief was that if I was good at homemaking then I had to be good at housekeeping.
While to some degree they go hand-in-hand, they are not one and the same.
I realised that establishing an atmosphere in a home is at the heart of homemaking rather than the dishes always being done. This, I can work with!
There will be women reading this that had this revelation years ago – apologies, I’m pretty slow to this one, but I suspect I’m not alone.
In order to make a home, or be a homemaker, I needed to intentionally build toward something. But what?
I recalled homes I had visited over the years and took special note of the ones where I felt truly welcomed and relaxed.
Some homes had beautiful furniture and were perfectly clean, but they felt empty and cold. Conversely, there were small dorm rooms and one-bedroom apartments that felt warm, embracing and full of life.
And then Proverbs 24:3-4 says, ‘Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled, With all precious and pleasant riches.’
A vision for my home
Considering all of this, here is what I came up with.
My home is a place of relationship, nourishment, wisdom, refuge, shelter, security, love, peace, acceptance, and rich and life giving conversation – for those who live there and for those who visit. There is a celebration of creativity, beauty, knowledge, order and delight in the things of God within our walls and property.
That’s an ambitious vision for my home, but its something I can build towards.
I note that there is nothing mentioned about clean floors, washing done, perfect meals, sparkling bathrooms and manicured gardens.
In pursuing this vision for my home, I’m finding that keeping the house in order is less forced-effort.
I had never seen homemaking like this.
The value of homemaking
Along with my husband, I have significant influence over the atmosphere of my home. We both set the standard of how people are welcomed, nourished and loved.
When I look at homemaking in this way, I can see it as valuable – as valuable as a job or other out-of-home pursuits.
As with everything, this is a journey. I’ve got a long way to go in building towards my vision, but I’ve definitely renewed my thinking.
I’m probably still going to outsource, that hasn’t changed. But I now can value more of what my mother was trying to teach me.
Not just a family concept
Homemaking is not just a marriage or family thing.
Creating an atmosphere and environment where you are nourished, inspired, and that reflects the heart of God towards ourselves and others is something we can do at any life stage – to a house, dorm-room or studio apartment.
This is not a expensive exercise either, and our homes don’t need to be insta-worthy. It is a heart exercise.
Homemaking is worth our attention. It is worth being humble.
A new way of looking at it
I’m still not overly comfortable with the term homemaking. It comes with too much baggage for this daughter of the feminist generation.
Here is my new term…
I am a life-builder, rather than a homemaker.
I am a life-builder because I seek for my home to bring life to all those who enter.
I want my home to be used by God to build secure, nourished and blessed lives.
And this, I can own with all my heart. How about you?