There’s a storm on Saturn that has been raging since 2004.
That’s four years before my kids started their cyclone of chaos, but sometimes it seems like they could give the Dragon Storm a run for its money.
I keep waiting to see the meteorologist switch to a radar over my house
ME: Stays up until midnight loading the dishwasher.
Kids: Open the dishwasher and accidentally spill milk soaked Cheerios over the clean dishes.
Me: Steam mops the whole house.
Kids: Feed the dog cheese.
Me: Fold three loads of laundry on the couch.
Kids: Flip the laundry and cushions onto the floor looking for change inside the couch.
Me. Put away all of the groceries except…
Kids: Hold an easter egg hunt with two dozen fresh eggs.
This has been the churning loop of my life for the past 10 years: wipe the counters, wipe the table, wipe bottoms, sweep the floor, wash it, dry it, put it away, and repeat.
This constant swirling has filled my mind with doubts, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and meaninglessness that has threatened to tear me apart.
But it doesn’t anymore.
If you feel caught in the same cycle, keep reading friend.
When God revealed Himself to Moses he called Himself, I Am. The implication being that he is, was, and will be the only self sufficient being upon whom all other parts of creation depend.
He is I Am.
I am… something else.
We started homeschooling this year. (BTW- homeschooling isn’t what solved my issues.) I taught in public schools for several years, so I was ready for the rigor of the work, the assessments, the varied learning styles, and the lesson planning.
But homeschooling has also given me a fantastic opportunity to work on my children’s hearts. This year I’ve been able to help them express their love for Jesus and learn to love others.
We’ve memorized more scripture this year than I’ve learned in my entire life.
But the real breakthrough was when someone called me a “homeschooling mom.”
Wait. ME?!?! No.
We’re just doing this for a year. Don’t paint me with that brush.
This wasn’t the first time I’d balked at a label.
When I was called a stay-at-home mom. I balked.
I always thought of stay at home moms as the sort of kept women who volunteer at the museum and belong to the Junior League. That’s not me. I am not one of those women.
When I was called a preacher’s wife. I balked.
Yes, my husband is a pastor, but why am I labeled a preacher’s wife? Why don’t you call him a blogger’s husband? Hmm?
The worst was when I was called a homemaker.
I’m not a homemaker.
According to Dictionary.com a home-maker is “a person who manages the household of his or her own family, especially as a principal occupation.”
I have hung sheetrock, refinished hardwood floors, and painted more walls than a season of fixer upper.
I could be called a home builder, but not a homemaker.
It’s that last line of the definition that excludes me.
My principal occupation is not managing my household.
My principal occupations are Christian, wife, and mother.
You might also like Why I Quit Trying to be a Minimalist or The Life Changing Magic of Giving Up.
I am a Christian. I am a wife. I am a mother. And I refuse to evaluate myself apart from those jobs.
I can love my husband very well in a messy house with dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor.
I can love my children very well with dirty laundry abounding and sales papers turned impromptu craft projects littering the living room.
See, no one has ever stopped me in the store to tell me to scrub my floors more often or get the laundry folded more quickly.
But I have had many, many women tell me that they wish they’d played more and cleaned less.
They say, “enjoy your kids,” and even though I wish people would stop telling me to enjoy my kids, I do want to be the sort of mom who actually enjoys being around their kids.
During these conversations, I’m reminded of the poem by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton, Babies Don’t Keep.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
That’s just the last stanza. You can read the full poem at Scrapbook.com.
You see, my family’s hearts are my priority.
There’s always going to be a mess somewhere in my house, and if I spend my days battling dirt, I’m not pouring into the four little people God gave me to raise.
If I dedicate my life to keeping a house clean, then I will feel like a failure until my kids are grown and then, I will feel like a failure because I missed the chance to be a mom because I was too busy being a maid.
I’ve felt a distinct calling on my life to love my husband well and raise my kids to love Jesus and serve others.
I’ve never felt a calling on my life to make sure that the sheets are ironed before they go on the bed or to clean out from behind the refrigerator every Saturday (both are things I know real life people do).
Now, please don’t think we live in a dirty home.
We clean our house daily.
The kids do chores and clean up after meals.
I sweep at least three times a day and usually more.
We do at least one load of laundry all the way from dirty in the hamper to clean in the baskets on their shelf (we sold all of our dressers).
I usually load and start the dishwasher every night before bed because I like to wake up to a clean kitchen. (I start it again in the morning in the event of a Cheerio’s mishap.)
But some nights I don’t.
Some nights, I go to the kitchen to clean it and my husband wants to spend time with me, so I leave the dirty dishes in the sink.
And then I wake up in the morning and do them over the course of breakfast and morning school work with the kids. And although it makes for a more stressful morning, it also makes my marriage stronger. Because in this season of life, we have to do our best to not just find joy, but to create it. And sometimes eating popcorn and watching tv together in bed creates way more joy than waking up to a clean kitchen. My husband knows that I like waking up to a clean kitchen, but he also knows that I love spending time with him way more than I love an empty sink.
And that’s the thing about being committed to home making.
It’s very title shows that making a home is your priority.
I’d rather be known as a disciple maker or a homeschooler, a pastor’s wife, or even just a stay at home mom.
Because at least then, people would hear that my priority is on my role as a parent, not my occupation with my house.
If your title is home maker, then it’s a slippery slope to letting appearance of the home come before the shaping of your kid’s heart.
Here’s what I mean – when I decide that we have to get the kitchen totally cleaned because we’re having guests over or whatever, I get focused on completing that task.
Then, I get frustrated by my kids acting like kids.
Then, I often end up speaking in a harsh tone or yelling.
And if the priority is to clean the house, then that behavior becomes justifiable.
I had to yell to get his attention over the vacuum.
I used that tone because she wouldn’t obey and take out the trash.
If I view myself as a homemaker, then when people come into my home, they are judging my ability to do my primary occupation based on the cleanliness of my home.
So if I can just keep everything clean, then I’ve succeeded.
Never mind that that’s an impossible task with four kids at home.
But if I could somehow teach them to clean better or make fewer messes or whatever then I will have successfully raised the next generation of janitors.
Every mother’s dream, right?
So, for now, my kids and I will be working on school work, memorizing scriptures, serving others, or making craft projects out of paint color samples and pipe cleaners because my kids love craft projects.
And I love the idea of them looking back on their childhood and remembering how they were free to create and make messes rather than remembering me hovering with a broom waiting to sweep up all the paper scraps lest our house look less than perfect.
I’m not a homemaker, so please don’t call me that.
I’m too busy being a disciple maker to be overly concerned about the state of my home.
We’d love to hear your opinion! Do you mind being called a homemaker? Tell us why in the comments!