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!