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homemaking housekeeping stay at home mom chores

Is there anything more subtle than the art of homemaking? When you think about it, women that stay home with their children (or stay home without having any) are kind of like the unsung heroes of humanity. I don’t know about you, but my 5month old, 4 year old, 7 year old, and 8 year old don’t sing me psalms of praise when I cook three hot meals a day, keep the house tidy, and wash, iron, and hang all of their clothes. Instead it’s become an expectation and a standard that often goes unnoticed until it’s gone. And I’m okay with that.

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{TRIGGER WARNING: I’m expressing my opinion and view on homemaking and women being out of the workforce (by choice) and staying home to care for a family. If you are offended by that opinion, I recommend you read no further. Your kindly worded comments are always welcome, and will be published even if we hold conflicting views.}

You see, I think the art of ironing, and other savvy skills, are being lost to a world of careers, out-sourcing, and a plain lack of know-how. Many of us don’t/can’t cook, can’t do a proper load of laundry (I JUST LEARNED!!) or iron. I’m being honest when I say that I didn’t know how to do any of these things until my husband graduated from grad school and I stayed home with my then three kids. I was so lost! I was unorganized, spent too much money, was frazzled, and unprepared. If there wasn’t Pinterest I don’t think I would have learned anything, gotten frustrated, and thrown in the towel. Pinterest saved my life, ya’ll.

But let’s talk about why. Why are these skills being antiquated? Is it so wrong to teach our daughters it’s okay to want to stay home and raise a family? We’re constantly being told to expose and encourage our daughters to go into STEM fields, but why are’t we encouraging them to care for their husbands and children? In a world where two jobs, two cars, and an inflated mortgage are the standard why aren’t we pushing against this norm and teaching our children simpler things?

This is an opinion piece, and I don’t expect every person who reads this to agree with me, but to at least consider it. Homemaking is important. My husband works as an investigator for Child Protective Services and when he enters a home to speak with a family he always asks them about their faith. If they profess Christ he asks them if their home is their garden. Is your home your garden? Is it your Eden? Is it a place where the enemy can’t get through and where you are walking with G-d? Is your home a place where your family can find shelter from the world and is it a place where faith is cultivated and hearts are being ministered to? I believe homemaking helps tend the garden.

My children feel safe, loved, and secure in their home. It means something to my husband that I work hard to make sure our home is clean and his shirts are ironed. Of course he could do these things himself, but it’s an act of love and self-sacrifice that strengthens our marriage. Our home is a place my family loves to be because we’ve created a culture of wanting to be home. So many families have the normalcy of constantly going and constantly being away from their homes, but I believe it’s something that can be dangerous and harmful. My home is where we learn, laugh, share meals, play, and have heartfelt discussions. It’s where we thrive. Homemaking is an extension of the ministry of motherhood. Your church has air condition, doesn’t it? Your church doesn’t have to offer that, but it’s a lot more comfortable to sit in a building where the air is cool than to sit somewhere sweltering. You pay attention better, feel welcomed, and it’s just plain nice. You could get by sitting in an unairconditioned building, but how much nicer is it in a cool place? It’s an extension of your church’s ministry. The same goes for homemaking. Homemaking is an extension of motherhood. It’s an added bonus that makes my husband and our children feel home and at ease. I don’t have to cook, clean, iron, do laundry, or homeschool my children. I don’t have to take an interest in their lives. All I really need to do is feed them, shelter them, and clothe their little bodies. That’s it. My parenting obligations end with those three things. But how much more richly can I cultivate their faith, invest in their lives, or be there for them with the short amount of time I have with them if I’m at home with them?

It’s a hard career choice. You aren’t really paid in any common currency (I can’t pay my bills in butterfly kisses). It can be “thankless”. And you work around the clock without many vacations or even breaks. Plus, you’re on-call 24/7. But it’s one of those things that has a supernatural explanation that can’t really be expressed except to another that’s walked that path and taken that journey. I often think of Yael in the book of Judges. Deborah was a woman with a large “ministry”. She was important and many needed her. Sometimes when I’m discouraged because I’m a mom that stays home and I start to feel as if what I do isn’t significant and I miss having an important career, I think about the woman Yael. She defeated an entire army! And she was pretty “insignificant”. It reminds me that what I’m doing now might not be very glamorous and I might get very little (if any) accolades or recognition, but I am doing a very important job. I’m sure Yael thought her life was pretty mundane, too, until Sisera approached her tent. That story always lifts my spirits and reminds me I am being used by G-d. Even if I can’t see it.

So, keep ironing those shirts, wiping little behinds and noses. Continue kissing boo-boos and scrubbing floors while folding laundry and nursing a baby (yes, all of those things at once!). What you and I do is significant. What we do is a fading art that ought to be shared with our daughters and our sons. What we do builds up an already fragile thing: family.  

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