Homemaking: Finding Joy in Housework
If you had told me when I was 15-years-old that I would be a homemaker, I probably would have growled at you and told you that was not happening. Oh, how I laugh at my teenage self. As a teen, I thought a homemaker was a maid that didn’t get paid. I’m sure that’s what my children think once in a while too. Hence my favorite saying, “I’m your mom not your maid.” My children hear it often.
Nevertheless, I wanted to have a family one day, but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to be happy taking care of them all the time. My mom was never one to complain about work of any kind. Yet, when I tried to do what she did, I couldn’t stop complaining.
Being the typical teenager that I was, I did not enjoy housework. I still don’t enjoy housework but I have a different perspective now. It can be hard to motivate yourself to do the laundry again, dishes again, clean the toilets again. Again. Again. Again.
Housework is about getting back to zero.
It is maintenance work. You aren’t progressing or moving forward. You are starting over in the same place you did the week, day, or hour before.
I began to feel the futility of housework when my oldest became mobile and began making huge messes. I found myself following her around picking up toys, socks, bowls, and books. Our home looked like a garage sale all the time.
It was maddening.
Finally, I’d had enough. I decided I would pick up before she napped and before bed time. That was it. But I still felt frustrated because it got messy almost as soon as I’d picked up. Then, I gave up. I decided that we would pick up right before bed. That’s what we still do to this day giving me ten beautiful hours when the house is clean…ish. We’re asleep for most of it, but I figure that’s better than no clean house at all.
I think back to my teenage years when I knew there was no way I was going to clean up after a bunch of kids or do their laundry or scrub their sink. If didn’t matter to them, then it wasn’t going to matter to me.
Oh, how my perspective has changed.
To See Beyond the Housework
What I didn’t understand as a teen, and what I have to occasionally remind myself as a wife and mother, is that homemaking isn’t an unpaid maid service. Homemaking is different. It is more than wiping the table and mopping the floor. It is more than folding the laundry and dusting the piano. It is more than driving kids to volleyball practice and doctor appointments.
Homemaking is more.
A home is a safe place, a refuge, a welcoming space, a place to be your best, a place to be your worst, and a place to be loved when you are at your best and your worst. Home is a place of learning, teaching, and growing. Home is a place of joy, of grieving, of giving, of receiving.
Homemakers set the stage. They create the canvas for the daily family portrait.
The work that I despised as a teenager has new meaning now. It’s still mundane and menial sometimes, but there is joy in creating a welcoming home for my family. Many times it is a place of teaching children how to work, to be responsible, and to do a job right. Other times it is a place to teach parents to be patient while children learn.
All the cleaning isn’t fun. It is boring but in order for a home to be pleasant it has to have a semblance of order. My home is never spotless but my husband and I work to make it a place where six people live, play, and work together.