Home-Making

As I am preparing to become a mother, I’ve been giving a great deal more thought to what it means to be a “home-maker”. I know, I know, these sorts of thoughts probably should have come nearly 4 years ago, when Jesse and I got married, but we have always been in transition or insanely busy since then. Our first year, I was finishing my Senior year at Biola. The first semester, however, immediately after our wedding, I was only taking 1 class and was able to practice a bit of “home-making”. I cooked dinner every night, paid the bills, did the grocery shopping and the household chores. It was kind of fun, but I was also going a bit crazy. For those of you that were friends of close proximity at that time in my life, I went through a bit (or a lot, depending on your viewpoint) of depression, which is often brought about when I undergo a major life change. Not sure why it happened to the extent that it did, but I was very depressed, and didn’t leave the house or move from the couch for days/weeks on end. Ask Courtney. We used to play a game called, “Knock and see if I can get Kelly to answer the door this time.”

Perhaps I’ve always associated “home-making” with that time in my life. Getting out of the house for class or work forces me to be outside of myself, thinking of others and staying pro-active, which is helpful when warding off depression. I am very awful at managing my time when I don’t have these forces structuring my life. Regardless, ever since that first year I’ve never again had the choice to stay home and focus solely on home-making. Our 2nd and 3rd year of marriage were comprised of me working 50+hours a week AND taking night classes at UD AND singing in the choir at church. Home-making? Haha! You mean, “MAKE it HOME in time for sleep!”. During these 2 years, Jesse and I had to adapt to our un-orthodox roles of husband and wife. Jesse cooked and did the shopping and cleaned the house, simply because these things were easier to fit in around studying and classes. Imagine if I’d tried to do the shopping and cooking, after working a 13 hour day! Microwave dinners, anyone?

Year 4 of our marriage, which has nearly concluded, has been a strange mix of all the others. I decided to stop trying to work a full-time AND part-time job (which included around 600 mi. of driving every week!), and settled in to the part-time one. I also took on more classes at UD. So you could say, I was still the busy one, and shouldn’t have had to do the larger allotment of the household duties. Jesse, however, got a full-time job at Nordstroms. So…we “hodge-podged” it. Jesse made dinner on most nights, seeing as I worked until 8 and he was too hungry by then, but I did a lot of housecleaning and misc. chores. Pretty organic for the most part, which I’m sad to say, probably meant that Jesse carried the larger load. Because, let’s face it, organic often means, “whatever comes naturally”. And Jesse is, by nature, giving. And I am not.

Given my lack of experience and success at remaining sane while “home-making”, you can imagine my trepidation as I prepare to take Oct.-Dec. off of work. It looks like I will still be taking 2 classes at UD, both to finish my MA and keep my AWESOME insurance,  but I will not have my 33 piano students to keep me company, week after week.

And there’s what happens after December, when I begin work again, along with completing my thesis. Will I be able to juggle everything? I’ve already begun forming a plan that includes fewer evenings of working. Plus, I have a few online job opportunities that may or may not pan out…stay tuned…

But what if home-making isn’t about a location, but about a mindset? About a spiritual environment that one doesn’t need the whole day to accomplish? What if I become less of a “home-maker”, less of a support to Jesse, by staying home all day? One example of this would be if I didn’t work, or if I worked a lot less. It would take us at least 6 years to pay off all of our student loans, which would delay our family’s future and peace of mind considerably. And what if, no matter how hard I try, I don’t find dishes and diapers fulfilling? Will I become the same basket-case I was those first few months?

These are all questions I have been and will be pondering these next few months. I stumbled across an interesting article on a blog, which discusses one biblical viewpoint of “home-making”. Let me know what you think– any advice, articles, book titles, and I will be most happy and grateful to take a look!

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4 thoughts on “Home-Making

  1. i think it’s safe to say that i never find dishes and diapers fulfilling. that’s not why i choose to stay home with topher. i find/found it helpful to think through what my reasonings were for being a stay-at-home-mom. those will get you through the days when you feel like you’re going crazy or you’re ultra depressed…both of which will come even if you have good reasons for staying home. but at least having some anchor points to tie you to reality should help keep you relatively sane until the emotion passes.

  2. I really enjoyed that article. Of course will be never be the perfect keepers of our homes but like all things in life we are dependent on our Lord’s help. It is much easier when we understand his purpose for us in different areas of our lives, such as homemaking. I have found that I have changed over the years from being unmotivated when I am at home to being very motivated. It’s just an encouragement to say that God does change us… I doubt it will be like it was those first months of marriage.

  3. I love your blog posts, Kelly. This one in particular struck a chord with me because Nathan and I have unconventional schedules too, which I’m becoming increasingly convinced can’t help but lead to unconventional roles when it comes to housework. Actually, Nathan has no cooking skills whatsoever, so for us that just means that when I’m working till 10:30 at night, he has a frozen pizza. Sigh. But even though I wish I had more time to prepare him healthy meals, I’m really happy doing what I’m doing. Some of my craziest weeks, where I look back at my calendar and realize I worked 50+ hours and was hardly ever home, are also some of my most rewarding ones.

    I definitely wonder how my life will change when we have kids, and how much of what I’m doing now I’ll be able to continue doing. And whether I’ll even want to! I’m probably starting a Master’s this fall and the prospect of doing that has raised a lot of these questions for me – what will I be doing in the future, and how does the fact that I’m a woman and therefore will hopefully be a mom someday influence my decisions now?

    I think it’s wise of you to be thinking ahead, remembering those early months of marriage (I went through depression early in my marriage, too. Big changes can do that, I guess), and wondering if you could have a similar recurrence in your postpartum life. Just pray about it and be prepared, but don’t worry too much… you’re going to be a great mom! You may find diapers surprisingly fulfilling, because that is one role that no one but you can do – being your kid’s mom.

    I particularly liked what you said about homemaking not about a location so much as a mind-set. The question shouldn’t be how many hours you spend in your home, but what the resulting environment is – emotionally and spiritually more than physically, if you ask me, although having a nice tidy environment is no doubt nice. (Your home always looks amazing in photos!) You’re right to consider the financial results of staying at home, and whether that would in fact lead to a less peaceful and more stressful life. But also consider your emotional well-being! If you are depressed, for example, then maybe your circumstances aren’t helping you create the best home environment for you. Whatever happens, I know you and Jesse will find the schedule that’s right for you guys.

    My sister gave me a book entitled “Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life.” I actually haven’t finished it even though she gave it to me a year or so ago, because I’m always so busy, but the part I’ve read so far seems really interesting.

    Sorry to leave such a long and rambly comment. 🙂

  4. Sarah,

    I don’t think your comment was long and rambling at all. I am glad that you have wondered these things as well– makes me feel like less of a worrier. It’s also tough for another reason– I have to keep my career going, because this is not our final destination. Jesse wants to go to seminary in a few years, and I’m going to be the one working at that time. I already was the “bread winner” for 2 years, and it was not fun, so I’m not looking forward to it again. But it’s a sacrifice we’re going to have to make, because I don’t think we can, in good conscience, live off of loans for 3 years. Nor can we save enough money to support us fully for 3 years. If I don’t work now, NONE of our future will come to pass (unless God hands us a winning lottery ticket). Probably a bad, fatalistic way of looking at it, but I just don’t see an alternative. As much as I’d like to “kick back”, I can’t. People think I’m really crazy busy all the time just because I’m wired that way, but they don’t know what it’s like to live in transition, knowing that the real test and hard time is yet to come!

    Why are you getting your MA? Career move? Or for personal edification?

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