Many years ago when my husband, young daughter, and I moved to a new community, we went to dinner with church members who had a seven-year-old daughter. While we were visiting, the child looked at me and asked, “So, when are you going to start working for a living?” I was taken off guard, and as I tried to think of how to answer such a question, her grandmother quickly answered saying that I could “go to work any time because I used to be a teacher.” All these years later, I have never forgotten that awkward moment where my choice to be a homemaker was questioned and devalued.
So why am I a homemaker? Is it because I have no other career choices? No. Is it because cleaning toilets and running errands fulfill me? No. Is it the salary, benefits, and paid vacation? No! I do take care of errands, cleaning, meals, laundry, shopping, and a host of other jobs that keep the home running smoothly. But I could be working full time and paying other people to help me with those things. So why do I choose a job with no pay, no time off, and that is held in contempt by our society?
I have worked outside the home fulltime, part-time, and have been home full time. But regardless of whether I have an outside job or not, what I love to do most is homemaking! I even love the word homemaker. It has a connotation that far exceeds a cook and housekeeper. It is up to me to make our house into a home. I love creating a beautiful and comfortable space for my family to live in. I love for my family to walk in the door to find a good dinner cooking or to smell something delicious baking in the oven. I get to spend quality and quantity time with the people I love the most. I have opportunities to use my talents to bless, encourage, and teach others.
Making our house into a home is how I show love and care for my family. Being a homemaker, I provide a place of security and peace where there are kind words and a listening ear. I have opportunities to really know each family member, which allows me to build up and encourage them.
I love that as a homemaker, I am a memory maker. Life goes by much too quickly. How will children remember growing up in our homes? I want my family to remember the fun times of laughter and silliness. I want them to remember the holidays when I went all out to decorate the house and make their favorite foods. I want them to remember the Friday nights made into a party with homemade pizza and a movie. Most of all, I want them to remember that our commitment to God was first and foremost interwoven into every day, every decision, and every action.
It isn’t easy to be a homemaker. There will be days when we don’t feel that our efforts are appreciated by our families, much less those who do not understand our choices. I used to joke that someday I would write a book entitled, “When Will They Call Me Blessed?” based on the Proverbs 31 woman. While I haven’t written that book, I got what I wanted.
Here is an excerpt from a treasured email written to me by my husband several years ago:
“I know the kids and I don’t tell you enough how much we rely on you and love you, but we do. I couldn’t have found a better woman to marry, to help me and our children along this journey. The work you do, is the kind of work that will impact lives long after you are gone.
We may make you feel like you’re invisible from time to time, and as far as people who don’t know us well, you may be. But I know, and God knows all the work you do. I know better than anyone else in the world how you have made me a better person. I couldn’t be who I am without your help.
You’re an “architect” and you’re building something beautiful with our family that will outlast both of us. When you’re having “one of those days,” just remember Hebrews 6:10.”
I can’t imagine an occupation that could possibly be more valuable or worthwhile than being the architect of your own home (Proverbs 14:1)!