The Art of un-Homemaking
Homemaker. Stay-at-home mom. Mompreneur. Housewife. Domestic Goddess. Home Engineer. Household CEO. Whatever you want to call it, the task is this: to make a house a home. To make home a comfortable, well-ordered, welcoming place for family and guests.
I am a homemaker. Regardless of my college degree, my previous occupation, my status as a homeschool mom, blogger, or anything else I do, my first responsibility has been to create a happy home, a peaceful environment, to care for the children and ensure our house stays in good order. I will not pretend to have any of that mastered.
Homemaking has been called an art and a science, and certainly there’s a bit of both, as well as math, reading, engineering, health, business, and oh so many other things too. We moms have a million jobs, and we often are stretched rather thin. Even my husband sees how I struggle over the tedium of so many mundane details that seem essential to the proper function of a home.
I really struggle as a homemaker and I envy those of you who don’t. I’m in a constant battle against my own ambitions, desires for adult conversation, exhaustion, and even a lack of creativity. I struggle for all the usual reasons, but I also struggle because while I am given this role according to Titus 2, I am also given a contradictory instruction — that this world is not my home.
While I see so many things that need to be done – oh the never-ending laundry, the complications of dietary issues at mealtimes, the sweeping and mopping and window-washing… the Lord says there is something better that calls my attention. The Lord says this is not your home; and if this isn’t our home, why do I get so in a tizzy home-making? It is no wonder we can never do enough, never be enough!
We made homemaking a high art! God did not. We not only desire to feed our family something edible, but we are constantly reinventing the wheel, searching for new recipes, new sneaky chef add-ins, new creative ways to dress up the food. We no longer have beds, pillows and blankets. Now, we interior design each child’s bedroom complete with art, accessories, nicknacks, beautiful books, and yes, decorative toys. We have taken homemaking and given it a highly esteemed place in our hearts. In other words, it has become an idol.
Yet, God says this is not our home, and perhaps a little mess or discomfort is necessary to remind us of that. While we are certainly called to be good stewards of our house, yard, and family, we have taken it to the point of distraction – yes distraction away from the Lord. We are told to store up our treasures in heaven, but we think nothing of the countless treasures we spend our days storing up here, and are then obligated to care for, clean, decorate, maintain, and add to.
When my husband and I moved into our home four years ago, we often coyly reminded each other that this is not our home. We aimed to remember our heavenly home, and to treat this earthly one as though it belongs to God, because it does. It ALL does!
We were being silly while attempting to focus our attention on that home in heaven, but somewhere between the silly and the stewardship, I got lost. I found myself striving to improve at the art of homemaking, rather than the art of un-homemaking. I would get angry when the boys drew on the walls, I would despair over the endless dirt being tracked in, and I became downright anxious when appliances failed and needed repairs or replacement. None of it should have bothered me when I recall that here on earth moth and rust destroy.
Now, four years later, I enjoy our home in the right ways, but it didn’t satisfy me in any way at all. I see the daily dirt, the scratches in the floor and the sharpie on the walls, and I still find myself struggling with my attitude about those things. I see the ways this home has sheltered us, the way God has provided for us in it, but I must also be sure to remember that it is God who provides for us, it is God who shelters us. House or no house, I have a sure home with my Father, and my identity isn’t wrapped up in my ability to make an attractively accessorized abode.
Now, my true job is as an un-homemaker; it is to be a good steward of what God has given us, to not hold any of it too tightly, and to prepare all of us for our arrival at our eventual, but ever more real home in heaven.
Do you struggle as a home-maker? Have you found a balance between remembering this world is not our home, and making a nice comfortable home for your family?