I remember when I was younger the last job on planet earth I wanted was to be a “homemaker.” It seemed like such a trite, ridiculous word and something I never, ever wanted to do. For 5th grade career day I dressed up as a business woman with an old leather briefcase and told everyone I was going to own a company and be rich. I struggled in college with my career choice over and over. I wanted to be a teacher, I loved working with children; but I also worried from early on that it would also just throw me into the “stay-at-home mom” career and I absolutely did not want that.
Fast forward a few years after I was married. I loved my teaching job but I also knew deep down that I wanted to have a family and be really present in their lives too. So, once again I did some soul searching and decided when my second child was born to stay home for a season.
Looking back on that decision, I had no idea where it would take me. But it felt right for that moment. And it led to another career where I have enjoyed the ride. Well, I won’t say I have enjoyed every moment of motherhood and homemaking….but it did bring me joy.
And now looking at the generations that are coming after mine, I am kind of thrilled that many women (and men!) are choosing to look at the word “homemaker” so differently than I did from a young age. I LOVE that homemaking is making a big resurgence and that so many are embracing it whole-heartedly. Homemaking is important, it’s not necessarily about being a mother too. It’s about the art of keeping a home where you and your loved ones feel secure and safe and is such a sacred experience in my book.
YAY for being a homemaker! And as I have been a homemaker for the last two decades I’d love to share a few things I have learned along the way.
Make YOUR home.
I think the first piece of advice I can give is to make your home, YOUR home. Remember this isn’t someone’s home. It’s yours. Decide what is important to you. Is it the house being picked up everyday? The laundry? The way it feels inside? Think about the top 3 (or 5) things that you would like to prioritize in your home and set yourself up to do those things. One of mine is having the kitchen cleaned up before I go to bed. I love wake up feeling like I am not behind the next morning. It’s something we do as a family right after dinner and I start the dishwasher right before I go to bed. But I absolutely know that a clean kitchen is not a priority for everyone. And sometimes dishes can wait 😉
Set a routine.
Routines were something I struggled with as a young mom and it took me several years to find something that worked, but I do know that they helped give me structure and calmness through my homemaker career. And although they have adjusted and shifted over the years, I still find a sense of peace in following a daily routine. I used to have our routine posted for myself and my kids to help remind myself of its importance (I needed it just as much as the kids!) but I know it did help ease a lot of anxiety for me.
Create connection times.
Being a home maker is also be a maker of connections. Learn to schedule in connection times with those you love. They are the ones you are doing all of this for, so plan and create times to connect with yourself, a partner, the kids and those outside your home. It doesn’t have to be grand and will look differently in many homes but thinking about routine tasks as chances for connection have really helped me throughout the years. Reading a book before naptime wasn’t just another “to do” list item–it was creating a connection. And even now doing the dishes with a teen is a chance to talk about their day and their struggles. Or driving all over town 5 days a week to lessons and such is just one more chance at connections.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I know we have all heard it time and time again–but it is so true. Homemaking to you is going to look completely different than it will to your best friend. Feel free to share ideas and then treat them like a candy store. Take what is delicious to you and leave the rest behind.
Having grown up in the 80’s (I know—I am old) I look back thinking I did grow up in an era of excess. We had excess toys, clothes, tv and so much more. I had to learn to think differently as a homemaker because at first I wanted my children to have all that and more! But after a few years I realized that more….was just more. And the more I accumulated–the more work it brought to my life! More clothes meant more laundry, more toys meant more messes and more dishes just meant more to wash.
So, I started simplifying. It was a process that took quite a few years, but I decided that anything I no longer needed would be moved on to a new life and I would have a place for everything I still loved. I am definitely not perfect at this. I still try my best to only bring things into my home that are useful and that I love (no matter how on sale it was!).
I have written several posts on this before (here and here ) but being a maker of yourself is just as important. Developing a hobby, reading a book or taking a nap are being a good steward to yourself. You are making you as well as making your home…always remember that!
Over the years we have done some weekly and monthly Art of Homemaking posts. You can find the archives HERE if you’d like to read more about our journeys on this path.