I have always found it remarkable that sometimes people think that being a homemaker is a somehow limiting occupation. Like there isn’t enough to do. Before I go on to some specific ideas, I’d like to just say a little something about this. I am fairly certain that if you gave yourself five minutes, some scratch paper and a pencil, you could come up with a list of at least thirty widely respected careers that could fall under the heading of homemaking. What I mean is that if you are a homemaker, it isn’t like there isn’t any scope. A homemaker needs to be a great many things on a shallow level, but if she wants to get deep in some area or another, that simply adds richness to the home. It adds life. It adds love. Think of a few ideas here with me. Interior design, Cooking, Baking , Pastry Chef, Landscape Architecture, Musician, Artist, Event Coordinating, Educator, Accountant, Tailor, Farmer. A woman at home can dabble in almost anything – not wasting her time, but learning her craft.
But if you are all on board with the thought of loving your calling at home, but simply having trouble with the tangible ideas, here are a few:
1) Love the unlovely. Do something nice for the place you don’t like. This is one of the reasons that I knit dishcloths and buy nice soap for the kitchen sink. Not because I was so overwhelmed with love for the sink, but because a nice cheery dishcloth, cute tea towels, and yummy soap work together to make the kitchen sink a place that I have put some love, not just a bunch of stuck-on oatmeal. I always love the final step of rinsing out the cloth and hanging it to dry, making the sink look all cheery again.
2) Buy a book, and read it. Spend some time trying to absorb more information about what you do. Read a cookbook. Love of things can be contagious. Find a person who is so full of love for that thing, and listen to them talk about it. Find a passionate cook, and read what they have to say about it. I have read books on baking bread, books on laundering methods, books on interior design, and books on decorating cupcakes with strange combinations of candy products. Does this obligate me to a life of baking our bread, precision laundering, and perfect decor? Of course not. But it gives me more respect, more understanding, and more excitement about what I have to do.
3) Get some goals and work on them. I once made bagels every day for a week until I got them right. It was the same recipe, and it took me that long to master it. Did the same thing in our early marriage with baguettes. Turns out that things don’t always work the first time, but if you actually want to be able to do it, keep trying. Figure it out. I bet your husband won’t mind if you decide to master roast beef, or homemade pasta, or the perfect cookie. There is a lot of joy and satisfaction in achieving goals, as well as lots of opportunities to give up. Don’t.
4) Get your head in your home. If your head is always some place else, it is no wonder that your affections are also. A good way to refocus is to spend a couple days without any online activity. Give yourself a few minutes in the evening to check your e-mail and such, but otherwise spend your day mentally at home. Just give it a whirl. Although I think there are a great many fine things about social networking and iPhones, and all manner of technological advances, sometimes it just bogs you down. If you were really trying to get something done, would you invite thirty people over to run around the house with you showing you their family vacation photos, favorite songs, games they are playing, things they found shopping, or jokes they heard? Can you imagine the horror? But we do this all the time, and then wonder why we are feeling mentally fuzzy and zonked. Your mind is a busy thing, use it to help you with your own work, not the petty business of others.