There are so many important and noble careers to be had. Both men and women can be doctors, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, political leaders, and the list goes on. To aspire to excellence in a career is a worthy cause.
But what do I find the most inspiring?
What I find truly inspiring are qualities that take great humility and service. This is why I find homemaking to be so hardcore. When you are in the role of homemaker, you don’t get paid. It is mostly a thankless job. Yes, cooking and cleaning are essential for survival – but it can be so much more.
Prioritize Home Life
We have to prioritize home life. We are all so busy saying “yes” to so many things, working overtime, too many kids activities, too much binge-watching, an overflowing social calendar. All of these things are good in and of themselves but they can get out of hand. If our life is getting to chaotic at home, i.e., no food in the cupboards, no time as a family at the dinner table, clutter is out of control, clothes are everywhere, it’ probably time to cut back. I don’t know who originally made this phrase, but we wouldn’t go on an airplane if we didn’t know the destination. So why do we live life this way? Like a ping pong ball bouncing from one thing to the other. We have to be intentional and know where we want to go and make a plan. There are certain habits that must be in place to have a good home life. It’s hard work but if I can do it so can you. These habits take discipline and discipline is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it will get.
As a side note, some of us may be in a season of life where there truly is scarcely time for homemaking. There is nothing to feel guilty about. I will say, however, that it is important to take stock from time to time to check if that is still the case. If you can do anything to make home life more of a priority, it will be well worth your time and effort.
Homemaking as an Art Form
To paraphrase Kendra Tierney from Catholic All Year, for many people, homemaking is a means as not to die, but for some, it’s an art form. Homemaking is really hard work and much of it is super mundane – but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it! Embrace your creativity. You may just find you enjoy baking, gardening, or decorating, or entertaining. You might not be good at all of these things but chances are one of them will strike a chord. And the more you do it, the better you will get.
Combat Self-centeredness , Put on an Apron
Homemaking affords us so many opportunities to grow in virtue, but we have to remember also the great power of influence that is to be found as a homemaker. As Maggieothevalley says, if you want to change the world, put on an apron. It’s the ultimate antidote to self-centeredness. An apron is our greatest weapon to change the world.
Homemakers have power to set the tone. They have power to change hearts. They can inspire through their example. Whether or not a person is self-obsessed will determine the direction their family goes. Is this a cross to bear? Yes. It sounds unfair. Why can’t everything be done equally? It’s the way God made love. Love is giving till it hurts. Love is sacrifice. Love is not 50/50. It’s giving 100 % of what you can all the time.
It takes courage to do the things that make a home. Our society places value only on our capacity to make money. Now tell me, does that sound like a loving way to view human beings? When you are in the role of homemaker (it matters not whether you work outside the home), you are choosing to put yourself in the place of a servant. You choose to be of service to your family and loved ones.
Doing dishes, cleaning toilets, and similar drudgery take great humility. These things likely will not be rewarded with praise, or money, or other recognition. And you have to do them over and over again. As Mother Teresa said, “the hard work you do today may be forgotten, do it anyway.”
Love and Tenderness
We need someone to cultivate home life to bring love and tenderness to our existence. Where else will you find it in the outside world? A home cooked meal made with love can do wonders for the soul. Tidy surroundings can benefit mental health. A beautifully decorated home will provide an inspirational refuge.
We can become sanctified by offering all of our work as a prayer. I think our Lord especially loves the work we do that goes unseen, however. So much of homemaking is an unseen affair. The fact that homemaking takes such sacrifice and humility is the exact reason why I think it’s so powerful. It is a great pathway to become more like our Lord. As C.S. Lewis said,
“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
A Special Note to Women
I think some of us women have become afraid of homemaking. We might think it is beneath us. But I think that we have to view it as a means to become more Christ-like, and an opportunity to practice Saint Therese’s “little way” of holiness. I think other women were never raised knowing these skills and are just intimidated. I have felt both of these things. I remember telling my mom that I wasn’t domestic, and I remember also being a newlywed and having the desire to make a home but feeling unsure of how to go about it. But, the good news is, you can learn! I am always learning more about homemaking. Check out Kendra Tierney’s thoughts on this:
Also, homemaking is not sexist. You may be a man who participates in this endeavor, cool. You may have a husband who does most of this, that’s great. You may be in a season where your spouse is taking over more of these duties. There’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe you desire to do more homemaking, but your work life is too consuming right now. That’s okay. I am speaking to women who do have time but have hangups that they can get past, if they make a mental shift. If you live in a home where you are the one who cares the most about these things, forget about things being fair. Pray for your family but remember, it’s a matter of self-control not other-control. You can’t change people. You can ask for help. You can praise them when they do help. But look at is something you are doing to be loving and useful for your family and you can be proud of that. That is Christian freedom: seeking to please the Lord and do our part and let God help others on their part. We don’t have to worry about what they are doing, we only have to worry about what we are doing. I find this so freeing.
Here are some aprons from my etsy shop!