There are three people in my life who encourage my homemaking endeavors – mainly because it outright benefits them, I’m guessing. The guy I fell madly in love with when I was 17 – the “Urban Cowboy” – is now my husband, our breadwinner, family gardener, and the fantastic father of my two kids. The kids include 4-year-old “Firstborn” (she’s very competitive) and 2-year-old “Woodchuck” (she’s very toothy).
I grew up in a small town outside of Washington, DC, and for the past decade I’ve bounced around from Spain to Reno, Idaho to France, and now I’m living in South Carolina. Somehow I’ve managed to feel quite at home in the Deep South despite not being republican, Christian, or a fan of football. That’s right – I am equally disinterested in both Clemson and the other guys. Sorry.
Since my Firstborn was born four winters ago, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom navigating the ups and downs of motherhood and the ins and out of homemaking. Shortly after becoming a mom of two, I began feeling more and more overwhelmed with the day-to-day management of my home and kids. (They’re not kidding when they say two kids is twice the work of one. Am I right?) Keeping my children alive, healthy, nurtured and stimulated was time-consuming enough without mixing into the equation cooking, cleaning, and budgeting – none of which I seemed to do well anyway. And infusing it all with mindfulness? Patience? Cheer? Uh, no.
In his recent book, The Secrets of Happy Families, author Bruce Feiler speaks with Idaho mother of three, Eleanor Starr, who says: “In the media, families just are. But that’s misleading. You have your job; you work on that. You have your garden, your hobbies, you work on those. Your family requires just as much work, if not more.”
This struck a chord of resonance with me.
How could I expect stay-at-home-mothering and homemaking to simply fall into its own organic rhythm, without any structure, planning, learning, or attempt at improvement?
As humbling as it was to admit to myself I was struggling, the realization quickly motivated me to develop my homemaking prowess. I started reading everything I could get my hands on about homemaking, and I’ve been playing with practical ideas (such as one-day laundry, two-week menu planning, and yearly cleaning schedules) as well as more personal topics (like family mission statements, eco-consciousness, and minimalism).
Admittedly, since I’m a bit of an idealist, I’ve been more or less hoping that discovering homemaking would ignite my domestic life with the intense flame of consciousness, bliss, and inspiration. Who would’ve guessed there’d be light shining through the (formerly dusty) cracks only six months in?
So here I am starting this blog to document my discovery of homemaking. I am certain that crafting a happy home can profoundly impact one’s well-being and that of one’s family, which can then help generate widening circles of consciousness, affecting countless people. T.S. Eliot captured the simplicity and profundity of this notion best when he wrote, “home is where one starts from.”
And while I approach homemaking from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, anyone with a home and a drive toward self-discovery can benefit from delving more deeply into the art of homemaking.
I hope you’ll join me.
Start Here: How to Enjoy Homemaking: Get Better at it