Homemaking facilitates the messy art of life.
Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
If you live in a home, you are a homemaker.
Maybe the very word homemaking makes you sigh and reminds you that you need to scrub the shower and dust the living room.
Maybe you assume you are not very good at homemaking because your closets are unorganized and we won’t even talk about the current state of the kid’s toy room.
Is homemaking synonymous with a sparkling clean home with Pinterest worthy decor?
Not if you have people living in it.
The Oxford dictionary defines homemaking this way: the creation and management of a home, especially as a pleasant place in which to live.
When the pandemic hit last year and we were quarantined to our homes for months on end, I wondered if homemaking would experience any type of revival. After all, we all want to be comfortable and cozy in our homes, right? Turns out, people are kinda down on the actual care and keeping of their homes, and cleaning fairies are not actually a thing.
In our culture, too often homemaking is seen as something to be avoided. Anything but staying home! Keeping house is looked on as a second-class, sub-par existence.
Just last month on the Today Show, a wife and mother from Australia was laughed to scorn for the crime of good housekeeping. She posted in a family group on Facebook that before she goes to bed each evening she starts a load of laundry, makes her kids’ lunches and gets up early to make her husband’s breakfast and coffee. The Today show posted her picture and words, snickered and laughed and made mean comments about her husband because they simply could not fathom a mutually serving relationship where each works for the other. You can see the
mean-girl Today segment here. (I enjoyed this response to their mockery. Worth a ten minute listen.)
Believe it or not, homemaking is not part of the curse.
Homemaking is a blessing which means you have a place to go home to.
Homemaking is about the conservation and stewardship of our material resources, the physical care of our loved ones (and ourselves!) and the spiritual flourishing of everyone in the home.
So whose idea is homemaking anyway?
Turns out, it’s God’s idea.
In the beginning, God made a garden home for the first man and first woman. He placed them there to live, work, worship, eat, bear children, enjoy fellowship, and rest. His plan was for the first home to be permanent, monogamous, pleasant, and centered on Him. Of course, we all know that sin entered the first home and the bliss was shattered. We feel the effect of it every day. Still, with Christ as our Redeemer, we can strive to create a refuge for a our loved ones and a place of refreshment for anyone who enters our home.
A home well kept has a certain environment that transcends the dishes in the sink or the pile of shoes by the door. The atmosphere is a safe places for our kids to be nurtured, loved, taught, protected, given the gift of creative time, and the freedom to grow and mature into the people they were created to be.
Homemaking facilitates the messy art of living.
Your homemaking will look different than mine because it will meet your own family’s personal needs. Homemaking is about people after all, and as life changes you will have to adapt to the demands and variations of your changing family needs.
Currently, our home houses four people with a fifth who comes home during summers and college breaks. We homeschool two children under this roof. We have grandchildren in and out, and use our home for hospitality and ministry purposes. This means that my kitchen table is used daily for home education. We also prepare and eat three meals a day nearly every day of the week and often have visitors over for lunch or tea. My living room is now Grandma-fied and is toy central again. My home is arranged differently than it was when I had five young children in the home and I have the luxury of working more thoughtfully and slowly than I could in the overwhelming younger years of many young children all at once.
Maybe your home has a newborn who needs constant care and your “homemaking” consists of having added a bassinet, baby swing, comfortable chairs (with burp pads and wet wipes within arms length reach!) and a pack-and-play to your living room. Maybe you are “making” nutritious meals by carefully reading nutrition labels or ordering out rather than cooking from scratch to conserve your energy to meet the needs of your newborn and still have energy to think and laugh and befriend your husband. You are homemaking.
As I type this, my bed, though made, is covered in books and 3″X5″ note cards that I’ve used to prepare for this study. I’m sitting at my writing desk which has watercolor brushes and paints at the ready for a commissioned piece I’m designing. I’m looking out the window at Peter who is cutting and paining pickets for our soon-to- be- built white picket fence. Our youngest has Sculpey creations all over the kitchen table. The piano is covered with Hope’s sheet music, and her first handwritten attempt to teach our youngest the notes on the piano. Nobody would snap a picture of this house in this moment and post it to Pinterest under the hashtag #cleanhouse or #homemaking.
But the house is indeed managed, despite the messy living being done all around us right now. We will all pick up our messes, yes, but don’t think that homemaking is the eradication of mess. It’s the process that allows us to work and live in a healthy, inspiring environment.
So as we begin, remember that homemaking is about people. Homemaking serves the people. Homemaking can never become the end goal or the pharisaical tyrant that makes people want to flee the home.
Home: “This is where I put my feet up and thank God.”Ellis Peters
With the foundation of God’s Word as our guide (and boundary), we are then free to manage our own homes in as many varied ways as you can imagine. This includes establishing our own rhythms and routines, arranging our space to best reflect and serve the needs of the people living under our roof, and allowing time and freedom for learning and flourishing.
So let’s dig in, shall we, because we are the homemakers.