September 01, 2015

Homemaking is the Way

Homemaking is inevitable, foundational, simple, and eternal.  Homemaking is the way we mother, the way we serve others, and the way we become all that we were created to  become.

Homemaking is inevitable.
You can learn to be a skilled homemaker, or you can place homemaking low on your list of priorities, but you cannot escape the fact that we all make our home.  We make our home and then our home makes us.

Our homes are a symbol of our minds.  Don't you love the uniqueness of every home you visit?

I teach my children early that their bed, and eventually their room, is their "home".  It is a reflection of them.  If they choose to keep their bed made and tidy, they will get a better night sleep.  They will want to be in their room if they create a space that soothes their soul.  

My goal as a homemaker is to create a sacred space.  Our homes have a spirit that people can feel.  

I realized that "home" was something you  can create anywhere, as I spent months in the hospital on bed rest, pregnant with my eighth child.  

My hospital room became my home.  

It was more than the fact that I decorated my hospital room with potted plants, family pictures, scented spray, and homemade quilts, although those things helped.  

It actually became funny how often people would stop and almost gasp as they walked in.  They would look around and say how "homey" or "healing" my room felt.  They often commented on the special "aura" they felt.  Many would linger and tell me stories of their families.  I know they felt at home. 

I hope people always feel at home with me.  There is a quote hanging in our home, I gave it framed to my husband on our wedding day.  It says, "A true Mormon home is one in which, if Christ would chance to enter, he would be inclined to linger and to rest.  David O. McKay"

My sister once visited our tiny home where we lived with seven children while my husband got his PhD.  Her compliment has stayed with me, she said "I feel more myself at your house than I have ever felt."  Isn't that beautiful?

I am proud to be a Homemaker, and I know you can create a home wherever you are.

Homemaking is foundational.
Haven't you read so many articles like a recently published article in Deseret News entitled. "I'm a Stay at Home Mother, Not a Housewife" where mothers tout things like "I did not give up a successful career and an identity to be a housewife. I am not a maid. I am not a chef. I am not a laundress. I am a mother."

As we read these witty columns, we smile at their intent.  Yes, we all understand that mothering takes priority over homemaking.  But, I'm not sure everyone understands that being a successful homemaker is THE WAY to become a successful mother.

Successful mothering requires repetitive tasks like cleaning, cooking and laundering.  It is in the act of repeatedly teaching our children the art of order that we teach them to be functional, responsible adults.  Becoming a good steward of our homes is an essential, foundational skill.

As we teach them to brush their teeth, make their bed, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, clear their plate, and pick-up their toys, we are teaching them how to live well.  

If you teach your children to happily help with the dishes, you will have children who will also happily do their homework. 

As you teach your children to make their beds, you are teaching them to obey their mother.  

Teach a child to clean a messy playroom and you have taught a child problem solving, endurance, and self discipline.

We live in a society of sassy, messy kids. There is a correlation.  

Sometimes I smile at the extreme measures parents will take as they worry about their children.  We will ask Oprah and Dr Phil, read every book, send them to expensive preschools, talk to doctors, and spend money on things that I'm not sure money can buy.  When often, the answers are found at home.  

Occupational therapists, special ed teachers, even college professors will tell you that the essential, foundational skills of society are taught in the home.  

Learn to be a skilled homemaker.  Teach your children to care for your home, for their room, and their bodies, and you will have done well.

All you ever really need to know, you can learn from Homemaking.

I could write for days about how the physical environment of our home influences the mental health of our family.  Order and cleanliness begets peace and rest.

Homemaking is the way to mother.  Homemaking is a tool for mothering, perhaps the best tool we have.

Homemaking is simple.
So why is it that we feel a pull?  Why do we sometimes feel that we need to choose to be a good mother OR have an emmaculate home?  Why is it that we sometimes hate pictures of perfect Pottery Barn homes and feel that we are never, ever going to be a successful homemaker? 

I'm not sure.  But, here's my guess.  

Sometimes, in our quest for Homemaking, we forget we are making a home, and we begin Graven-Image Making.  When our home becomes a symbol of our pride, we have gone too far.  When we are more concerned with how our home looks than how our home feels, we are off-track.  The process is often more important than the end result.

I sometimes laugh at the ever so gentle way Jesus Christ addressed Graven-Image makers... 

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 23)

Yes, the inside is just as important as the outside.

Let us be clean, both in word and in deed.  Home is a place AND a feeling.

Wise homemakers have learned that wealth does not make a home.  We can feel "Home Sweet Home" in a well-cared for apartment, an inspiring classroom, an inviting mansion, and even a hospital room.  

I was once talking to my Mexican-American Sister in Law about some slums we drove past in Detroit.  I commented about the awful poverty we had witnessed.  Her response has stayed with me.  She said, "That is not poverty, that is degradation.  I have seen extreme poverty in Mexico and even with dirt floors, their children looked cared for and their houses were clean."

You do not need wealth to be a skilled Homemaker.

I believe we often feel a gentle, spiritual whisper to put our homes in order, to clean and tidy up.  After that whisper, the barrage of the world rushes in.  The spirit of contention and mammon will shout in our ears that we cannot possibly create a house of order because we don't have enough time, money, or training.  Don't listen to that voice.

I once watched a masterful carpet cleaner transform a carpet I was about to tear up and replace into a rug that looked like new.  His trick was that he used very little soap, and boiling hot water.  Boiling water!  Just yesterday, my 16 year old son recreated this miracle with a carpet cleaning machine we rented from Dollar General and boiling hot water.  Simple.

Honestly, I feel that it is our wealth that makes Homemaking difficult in 2015.  We have too much stuff.

I love that homemaking is simple.  

Homemaking is eternal.
I love that Homemaking is an action verb.  It connotes the idea that making a home is not an event, but an ongoing effort.  Homemaking requires eternal "making".  You can have one loaf of homemade bread.  But, we rarely ever feel that our home is made.  

Homemaking is a process that is eternal and divine.  Just take a drive and look around.  We come from a God that is the ultimate Homemaker.  

In conclusion I want to share with you my two favorite homemaking scriptures.

The first is Psalms 113:9.

9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord. (Old Testament, Psalms, Psalm 113)

I know that God is not only the ultimate Homemaker.  He is also the ultimate maker of Homemakers.  He created us once, and He is making us still.  

Yes!  As we learn to make our homes, we absolutely transform from barren women to joyful mothers of children.  I love that imagery.  I love that expansion, from barren to a joyful mother of children.  (You do not need a functional uterus to experience this expansion.)

Look at all sin in the world, you will find that sin tends to decrease us from joyful expansion to barren selfishness.  

I am so grateful He is making me as I keep house.
Praise ye the Lord!

My second favorite Homemaking scripture is a story from 2 Kings 5.  

Naaman was a rich king with leprosy. But, I like to imagine him as a well-educated wealthy woman with the normal sin and leprosy of the natural man.

The King (or Queen in my story) goes to the prophet Elisha asking him for a life changing miracle.  Naaman was not offered recognition or a quick-fix.  He was told to wash in a very unpopular river instead.

10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 
11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 
13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. (Old Testament, 2 Kings, 2 Kings 5)

Don't you feel that?  Don't you feel that as we serve we are becoming pure?  Don't you love the imagery of a King (or Queen) dying with the skin of a Leper who washes in a river that feels so beneath him and as he washes his life is spared.  He becomes as a little child.  From leper to pure as we wash.  It's beautiful.

Oh friends, homemaking is an eternal endeavor.  Our daily choices make our home.

The act of homemaking is inevitable, foundational, simple, and eternal.  I hope we never, ever stop making our homes!

Let us wash, and wash, and wash, and wash, and wash, and wash, and wash, that our flesh may become again like that of a little child and that we may be clean.

Homemaking is godly.

Let us all keep house and expand from barren women to joyful mothers of children!

Homemaking is the way.
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