Does that word make you feel uncomfortable? As if homemaking was a thing hundreds of years ago (or back in the 1950s) but we have evolved beyond it now?
The crazy this is that we still live in homes… and we still need to care for them. However, we are busy people and we can spend a lot of our time outside of the house and when we are home, we are distracted.
The stress and chaos within our homes is palpable the second we step in the door but it is difficult to know how to deal with it.
The homemaking stereotype
In the past, when I considered the ideal homemaker, I imagined what may come to mind for many of us – the June Cleavers of the world vacuuming while wearing pearls as the smell of chocolate chip cookies wafts through the house.
That experience of homemaking did not resonate with me so I resorted to a housekeeping mentality which involved avoiding all tasks around the house until I couldn’t avoid them any longer – any recovering procrastinators out there!?
I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise that this was a stressful and frazzling way to go about keeping a home.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon a book called Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson. Rather than explaining how to complete certain tasks around the house, she encourages readers to consider the philosophy behind homemaking.
While she acknowledges that there are many ways to get the work done, I was struck by how she defines housework in general. She explains that "housework is all about bringing order out of chaos" (Peterson, 38).
Order out of chaos. I can get behind that (especially because I came across this book at a particular time when everything felt chaotic).
How does this actually play out? Peterson goes on to describe,
We find that anyone can be a homemaker whether home full-time, working full-time or a single guy, living in his first apartment. This is literally about bringing all of that stress and chaos to order within your home.
Margaret Kim Peterson encourages readers to “take himself or herself seriously… [because] you may live alone, but you need routines of tidiness and mealtimes just as much as people who live with others do, both for your own sake and for the sake of any guest who may cross your threshold" (Peterson, 31).
I had to ask myself, do I take myself, my family and my home seriously enough to establish routines and order? Can I find delight in bringing order from chaos every day?
I wanted to answer "yes" to those questions but honestly, it took time. I had to begin by taking small steps to establish order in our home.
I focused on a couple areas that were the most chaotic (laundry and meal planning - click the links to read about what I found to be helpful) because I resented the chaos in those areas the most. After months of trial and error, I found that resentment was replaced with a sense of accomplishment and more order and peace in my daily life.
I can now answer yes to the questions listed above. However, there is still plenty of chaos in my life (for example, my bathroom is currently in a state of chaos and needs a deep clean). We are all about progress over perfection around here.
A case for homemaking
Homemaking is going to look different for everyone. Maybe you and your husband divide and conquer the work, maybe you outsource some of it, maybe your kids are involved or maybe you feel so in over your head that you don’t know where to begin.
Homemaking isn’t about taking care of your home the same way as your mom or your best friend or your best friend’s mom. It’s about using trial and error and creativity to bring order to the chaos in your home.
If you’re not sure where to begin, identify the biggest source of chaos in your home (maybe the laundry is making you totally nuts or you need to re-vamp your toy organization). Then, get creative as you determine what you need to do to bring order to it.
Be patient with yourself. Identify one small step you can take today. Brace yourself for a real sense of accomplishment as you conquer the chaos in your home and replace it with order and peace.
If THIS is homemaking, count me in.
I hope you are encouraged to look at homemaking in a new light today. As for me, I am off to tackle the chaos that is our master bathroom.
Thanks for reading. I am so glad you are here!