Homemaking 101: What is homemaking and why does it matter?
What does the word “homemaking” mean to you?
What does “homemaking” mean to you? Does it conjure up an old and outdated outlook? Does it bring to mind the idea of a woman stuck cleaning all day? Does it sound possibly offensive because of our booming culture of feminine independence?
I’ve thought about the acts of homemaking a lot during different seasons of my life.
As a little girl, I would spend countless hours playing house in a little building we had in our backyard. At the time, I didn’t really put a term or phrase to my games. I just knew I had an inward desire to draw pictures to hang on the walls, to make mud pies out of old aluminum pie tins, to keep cobwebs at bay and floors swept, and to invite my dog over to enjoy it all with me.
Later on, when I first got married, I felt overwhelmed by my new job as a wife. Homemaking wasn’t really how I would have described what I was trying to accomplish. After all, I wasn’t a stay-at-home wife or mom and we certainly weren’t eating baked from scratch treats every day.
But whether or not I described my responsibilities as homemaking, I found myself totally overwhelmed at my lack of ability to suddenly be a hybrid of Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, and the Proverbs 31 woman. My dinners weren’t always homemade, I didn’t sew my own curtains (or even have any hung for that matter!), and I definitely wasn’t weaving scarlet linens by candlelight.
I was just trying to stay afloat within a new season through trying to figure out how to live life as one with my new husband, keep up with my full-time job, and figure out how to balance both of us being in college full-time also. I felt less than, behind, and unsure of how I was going to ever catch up to the role model wives and homemakers that set the pace before me.
But what is homemaking – really? Is it really just a bunch of cleaning? Is it baking cakes from scratch? Is it only for those few who can afford to be stay-at-home moms/wives/whoever?
I’m so thankful that I can confidently say – it’s none of those things! They can be part of it, maybe, but those certainly aren’t the qualifications.
Do nothing without the Heart to Serve
In October, I set out a goal to do nothing for my husband without the heart to serve. This meant that in every interaction with (or for) him, I wanted to make a point to stop and think about my motives behind it. If I was making dinner, did I think, “if I cook then maybe he will clean up.” or, if I put the laundry in the dryer, did I think, “maybe he will realize it is dry and hang up the clothes.”?
Did I have ulterior motives in my interactions with him, inside and outside of our home, to get something in return?
I don’t really think it is terribly wicked to hope for some help with tasks sometimes. And honestly, I’m blessed with a very kind, thoughtful and servant-hearted man who jumps in and helps anyway! But I do think that it is extremely important that we stop and consider where our heart is at in all things, and the Bible encourages it (Phil. 4:8)! I didn’t want to have my mind fixed in a place of manipulating help instead of doing things out of love to serve my sweet husband.
So! I set out to do just that. How rewarding it was! I’m not perfect, and of course, I honestly would sometimes just forget. But when I made dinner with a heart to serve and nourish him, or folded clothes as I thought about how thankful I was that he works so hard wearing them, or left a note to say “good morning!” when I had to go to work early just so that he knew I was thinking about him – it brought such a joy for me in our relationship because I felt that each of these tasks was another seed I was sowing in our relationship.
That brought on the heart behind wanting to focus on the art of homemaking. Sweet sisters, homemaking is not just cleaning. It is not about being Betty Crocker. It is not about striving to have a spotless, perfect, Pinterest-worthy home.
Homemaking is about making a home and that is a beautiful calling and pursuit. It is not just for mothers, it is not just for wives. It is not just for women who stay at home or only work part time. It may not be the heart or focus of every woman, either. Some couples balance responsibilities differently. And that is okay, there are so many other incredible things to do and anything that God has set your heart to is valuable.
But if homemaking is part of your life – know that it is beautiful. Noteworthy. Praiseworthy. It is so priceless and so fruitful. Making a home is a God-given desire to create a loving and welcoming atmosphere and to nurture relationships. It is the collective art of SO many things! And the more intentional we can be in the act of making our home, the more that we can sow into something so eternal and push beyond just going through the motions.
- Making the heart of your home centered on Christ. I fully believe that my biggest responsibility and ministry, once I got married, was my marriage. And, as an extension of that, my home and our future family. It is my primary goal and purpose as a homemaker to make sure our home is centered on the heart of God and His Word. My purpose is to make sure our home is a place that we (and anyone that comes into our home) can learn more about God, be transparent and sincere in their pursuit of Him, experience compassion and love, have space and freedom to grow, and worship freely.
- Guiding the atmosphere of your home towards a peaceful, joyful and loving environment. As women, we have such a unique gift of bringing energy to a situation. If we are frustrated, sad, anxious, joyful or peaceful – we will bring those emotions and tones to our homes. Choosing to be deliberate in our attitudes and perspectives helps to bring a positive and optimistic disposition to our family.
- Providing nourishment for your family through meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Food that is good (and good for) your family doesn’t always have to be from scratch! But a little bit of intentionality goes a long way in showing your family that you care and in making sure that their bodies are getting what they need. Breaking bread together is such a sacred and important part of building relationships, community, and trust.
- Maintaining an inviting and organized home. Not every home has to be spotless – or any of them, for that matter! Each of us has a different style, preference, and method to keeping our homes clean. Though this isn’t the entirety of what homemaking is, it is a part of it.
- Practicing hospitality. This is one of my favorite parts of making our home! I genuinely believe that it is so important as followers of Christ to live with open hands, open arms, and an open door. It honestly does not matter how clean your house is, how beautiful your table is, or how perfect the menu is. Hospitality is the act of inviting others into your space to make them feel welcomed, encouraged and part of a community. It is the art of making our family, friends, and anyone that comes to your door feel invited to be a part of your life.
- Being financially proactive. Homemaking is the balance of being resourceful and making something beautiful out of what you have been given. Being financially responsible in the ways of budgeting, looking for opportunities to save money, building savings, and giving generously are all avenues to being a good steward of what is available.
This is just a snapshot of what making a home looks like, but I hope that this helps you to see that it is so much more than lines in the carpet or passing a white glove test.
It is setting a welcoming tone, providing a refuge for your family, nourishing them, and just finding creative ways to love and serve them wholeheartedly. It is breaking the cycle of mundane routines and pushing into a mentality that is intentional.
It is being the hands and feet for those nearest and dearest to us – andI love it. And I hope you do too! I can’t wait to talk more about this and learn more about making our houses into homes together!
What is your favorite part of making your home? What is the most important part of it for you? Leave a comment below!