I’ve had some of these thoughts floating around in my head for awhile but hadn’t verbalized them or put them to pen until a conversation yesterday morning at my bible study regarding purpose. I wasn’t sure if my thoughts would make any sense outside my head but they were warmly received and affirmed.
When I first stayed home to care for our children full time, there was a real shift in identity. I prickled at the thought of being called a homemaker as if it was something of lowly status and unrealistic expectation. The term stay-at-home-mom seemed more palatable but awfully vague.
Years and experience would have me more confident in my value in our home and family and the label, stay-at-home-mom began to feel like it didn’t do justice to the role. Then something happened…my father-in-law wrote in his Christmas letter last year that I was a full time homemaker, and I read it, and I didn’t prickle, and I realized, yes, I am a HOMEmaker.
Somehow over the last seven years I was able to slowly suspend all former definitions I had for a homemaker and develop my own. Indeed, I wasn’t able to embrace this title because I succeeded at making our home look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens, or managed to have all home matters perfectly orchestrated, or gotten the children perfectly groomed and dressed, or put a five star meal on the table. What I was able to see was that despite the stresses and pressures of the world our family is able to find rest and comfort in our home and that there are things that I am intentionally doing that have created a home we crave and desire to be in. Our home has become a place of refuge, to recharge, so we can go out and carry on in the business of the world. I’ve worked on making our home low on stimulation and high on curiosity, low on perfection and high on creativity, low on indulgence and high on purpose-full work, and low on judgement and high on encouragement.
I rarely have all the laundry done, or go to bed with dishes done, or keep a very good calendar, or serve new and exciting recipes so by many of definitions of a homemaker being a wife who manages the household by cooking, cleaning, etc. I miss the mark. I do however make all efforts to have our family eat a home cooked meal every night. I do guard our calendar to balance home and out-of-home activities. I do regularly simplify and organize our house to make it pleasing to be in. I do use my creativity to make the environment pleasing to the eye. I do pursue my passions to model character and work ethic for the children. I do allow the children to be creative and develop their passions and skills. The definition that most closely fits comes from the Urban Dictionary and says, “She realizes the value of her unpaid job as a homemaker because it brings stability and less stress for all.” And yet that definition falls short too.
I have come to realize that my gifts are not wasted in the home. So much of my upbringing, education, and training I tap into day for the betterment of those I love. I get to wear so many hats and use different parts of my brain and heart. I am creator, artist, caregiver, counselor, organizer,friend, wife, mother…indeed, all fears that being a homemaker would be boring have ceased.
There are so many aspects of being a homemaker that are not glamorous, that are mundane, that are crazy making and yet I’ve grown in my ability to balance these parts of my role with the parts that are life giving to me and my family. I have learned to find joy in this season of my life by not undervaluing my role, by not comparing myself and by challenging myself to daily growth. A friend shared a quote by Fredrick Buechner that says,”The place God calls you to is the place your deep gladness meets the world’s great need.” This is the place God has called me to for this season of my life and I can boldly call myself a homemaker. I delight in creating a sanctuary where my kids, my husband, myself and hopefully our guests can dwell and leave feeling energized, encouraged, loved, and rested.